Hugh Pickens writes "Work resumed this week on the five-year project to link a chain of tower-mounted sensors and other surveillance equipment over most of the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. The network of cameras, radar, and communications gear is intended to speed deployment of US Border Patrol officers to intercept illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and other violators, yielding greater 'operational control' over the vast and rugged area. A $20M pilot project for the Secure Border Initiative, or 'SBInet,' carried out in the Bush administration, was generally considered a colossal IT failure. Since that time the DHS has given the prime contractor, Boeing, another $600M. The government says it has learned many lessons and made many changes in the program since the previous pilot rushed off-the-shelf equipment into operation without testing. The Obama administration has lowered the cost estimate for the 5-year project by $1.1B, to $6.7B, mainly by deferring work on the most difficult 200 miles of the border, in southwest Texas."