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The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a contract that could change the face of border security to defense contractor Boeing, which plans to build surveillance towers along 6,000 miles of the United States’ borders with Canada and Mexico, according to The Washington Post.

Boeing’s proposal relied heavily on a network of 1,800 towers, most of which would need to be erected along the borders with Mexico and Canada. Each tower would be equipped with a variety of sensors, including cameras and heat and motion detectors.

Boeing outbid other contractors who had suggested using unmanned aerial drones, blimps and remote surveillance to monitor the borders.

The company’s efforts would be the basis of the government’s latest attempt to control U.S. borders after a series of failures. The contract, part of the Secure Border Initiative and known as SBInet, will again test the ability of technology to solve a problem that lawmakers have called a critical national security concern. This time, the private sector is being given an unusually large say in how to do it.

The first of the towers will be installed near Tucson with others erected along the borders with Mexico and Canada in the next three years.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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