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US-Mexico 'virtual' border fence again delayed

[JURIST] A 28-mile "virtual fence" [JURIST report] along the US-Mexico border [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], known as Project 28, has been placed on hold due to technical issues, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said during a joint hearing [materials] Wednesday before two subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security [official website]. Richard Stana of the GAO testified [PDF text] that Border Patrol officials have said that Project 28 "is not an optimal system," saying that:

Border Patrol agents from the Tucson sector provided examples of Project 28 capabilities that do not adequately support Border Patrol operations because of their design. As noted earlier in this statement, Border Patrol agents have had difficulties using the laptops mounted into agent vehicles to provide them with COP information... Project 28, an early technology project, resulted in a product that did not fully meet user needs and the project's design will not be used as the basis for future SBInet development.
The first phase of the project is expected to now be completed in 2011, three years later than originally anticipated.

The US government gave final approval for the "virtual fence" in February as part of the Secured Border Initiative [DHS fact sheet]. Computer software glitches had delayed the testing and use of the fence [AP report] until Boeing, the technology's creator, reportedly fixed the problems [DHS press release] in early December 2007. The Washington Post has more.

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