Border Wall Prototypes Damaged with Tools

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2019


A recently revealed report indicates that all eight border wall prototypes, inspected by President Donald J. Trump in March 2018, are susceptible to breaching. Trump has chosen a steel bollard fence design for additions to the border wall.

According to NBC News, testing conducted by the Department of Homeland Security showed that all prototypes, including the steel slat design, were vulnerable to damage from easily accessible tools. For example, the steel slat prototype could be cut through with a saw.

Border Wall Saga Recap

In September 2017, the first border wall prototype contracts were awarded to four different companies to develop prototypes that would work in conjunction with the border in the San Diego area. Contracts originally went to: Caddell Construction Co. (DE) LLC, Montgomery, Alabama; Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, Arizona; Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, Texas; and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi. Contracts for wall protypes to be made with alternative materials went to: Caddell Construction Co. (DE) LLC; W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company; KWR Construction Inc., of Sierra Vista, Arizona; and ELTA North America Inc., of Annapolis Junction, Maryland.

In January 2018, U.S. special forces spent weeks attempting to breach the eight prototype models. Since then, the government has worked to speed up the project, including in October, when Homeland Security announced that any environmental regulations regarding the construction or repair of a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall for certain areas in Texas would be waived, drawing ire from environmentalists and private property owners alike. The announcement, made Oct. 10 on the Federal Register, detailed exemptions in Cameron County; another announcement made the following day detailed similar measures for Hidalgo County.

In March, Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that the Department of Homeland Security was not overstepping its bounds by expediting border wall construction and waiving environmental rules in the process. The suit had threatened to stall work in Calexico, where a stretch of fence is being replaced, and to delay the larger border-wall project. Otherwise, several hundred million in border wall contracts have been awarded to date.

In late November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the beginning of construction of a series of border wall gates in the Rio Grande Valley sector. A judge also ruled that  Trump’s administration was clear to move forward with construction of replacement fence and several border-wall prototypes.

Report Revealed

Photos of the damage were not included in the redacted version of the February 2018 CBP report. DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman noted that the steel bollard design was based on “the operational requirements of the United States Border Patrol,” adding that the design had been refined over a decade of use. Though the steel bollard fence currently under construction was guided by what was learned from the prototypes, it does not replicate the other designs.

"The steel bollard design is internally reinforced with materials that require time and multiple industrial tools to breach, thereby providing U.S. Border Patrol agents additional response time to affect a successful law enforcement resolution. In the event that one of the steel bollards becomes damaged, it is quick and cost-effective to repair,” Waldman said.

   

Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; President Trump; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Testing + Evaluation

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