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HOMELAND SECURITY

17 Oct 06. A government watchdog agency said Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security used “incomplete and unreliable data” to justify nearly $1.2bn in contracts for radioactive and nuclear material testing monitors at the nation’s borders. The finding by the Government Accountability Office could mean a delay in full-scale production funding for contractors Thermo Electron Corp., Raytheon Co.’s Integrated Defense Systems unit and Canberra Industries Inc. The companies received the contracts in July to develop and test radiation screening equipment for trucks and cargo containers. The report concluded that DHS “relied on potential future performance to justify the purchase” of the machines. Congressional budget staffers said Tuesday that because they were given a “heads-up” on the GAO findings, a provision was added to the $35 billion
Homeland Security spending bill President Bush signed into law this month that prohibits full-scale production until DHS certifies “a significant increase in operational effectiveness.” A cost-benefit analysis had called for the monitors to identify hidden highly enriched and depleted uranium 95 percent of the time. But DHS test results showed the ID rates were never higher than 53 percent and were as low as 17 percent. The cost-benefit analysis also underestimated by about $181m the life-cycle costs of the monitors, according to the GAO. In an Oct. 11 letter to the GAO, Vayl S. Oxford, director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, defended the initial detection rates, saying they “were not intended to determine the absolute capabilities of deployed systems,” but instead were used to support initial contract awards. He added that the monitors will undergo additional testing before full-scale production “including the requirement for 95 percent probability of detection.” The GAO also faulted Oxford’s office for failing to consider the machines’ ability to detect nuclear and radioactive materials other than highly enriched uranium. Oxford’s letter said because the uranium “poses the greatest challenge from a detection standpoint,” it served as a “reasonable threat baseline.”

17 Oct 06. BAE Systems has been awarded a technical and professional support services contract by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to continue providing communications-electronics life cycle support to the Navy and other government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. The value of the one-year contract is $20.6m. The total value of the contract could reach approximately $109m over five years if all options are exercised.

13 Oct 06. Perseus launches its unique Intelligent Risk Analysis Management System (PIRAMS). To counter threats and protect the critical national infrastructure against a range of security threats, Perseus, the Guildford based security consultancy, has developed a comprehensive risk analysis system, PIRAMS (Perseus Intelligent Risk Analysis Management System). This unique methodology conducts an assessment of the threats facing a vulnerable site and then develops solutions to mitigate the risk. Using a 360 degree four point assessment method supported by software analysis techniques, Perseus can provide robust and rigorous understanding of the inherent risks confronting a location, site or a facility. The system has been designed to be holistic and to work in an inter–agency and multi–functional environment. It is particularly suited to complex facilities such as transport hubs where the effect of system performance, terrain and vulnerability have to be comprehensively assessed in order to produce an integrated, effective solution against terrorist and criminal threats.

Oct 06. BAE Systems received its third contract from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems to build a 57mm Mk 110 Mod 0 Naval Gun system to go aboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter. The third gun is scheduled for delivery in July 2007. BAE Systems delivered its first Mk 110 for the Coas

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