January 30, 2017 – The Soter Group, LLC released a report that analyzes existing fencing and tactical infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border. “Given the discussion about a proposed border wall during the recent presidential election and now, in the initial weeks of the Trump administration, we wanted to present an in-depth, fact-based analysis of the existing border fence budget and private sector addressable market opportunity associated with it,” Soter Group President and CEO, Justin Taft explained. “Due diligence is key to understanding any business or market opportunity. This report discusses the U.S. Federal government’s Southwest border policies, strategies, resources, and competitive contracts used to build, maintain, and operate the current border fence and tactical infrastructure. There may be a new multi-billion dollar private sector market opportunity coming, and everyone should be knowledgeable of the history and current status of the Southwest border security market.”
The report makes the following major observations:
- From fiscal year 2006 to 2016, over $6.5 billion was budgeted to support Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology – This funding supported Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) efforts to deploy tactical infrastructure (e.g., fencing, gates, roads, bridges, drainage systems, lighting systems) and technologies (e.g., surveillance systems, sensors) to secure the nation’s borders. A large portion of this spending is allocated to the Southwest border, given the relative amount of illicit activity.
- $2.3 billion of this was directed towards private sector contracts for the deployment and operation and maintenance of tactical infrastructure – Hundreds of contracts were issued to support the tactical infrastructure program from 2006 to 2016. However, the bulk of the work was concentrated in a select number of contracts. Six contractors received over 75% of this work in dollar value: (1) Boeing; (2) Granite Construction Company; (3) Kiewit; (4) Sundt Construction; (5) Weston Solutions; and (6) ECC.
- The deployment of tactical infrastructure was accompanied by a marked increase in U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) staffing – The investment in tactical infrastructure from 2006 to 2016 resulted in over 500 additional miles of primary fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. In parallel, the number of USBP agent manning the Southwest border increased from under 10,000 at the beginning of 2006 to over 17,000 at the end of 2016. While USBP metrics suggest that these measures were successful in deterring unauthorized migrants, there is still inconclusive data about relative efficacy of various border security measures (e.g., personnel versus tactical infrastructure versus technology).
“It appears that the Trump administration is committed to investing more resources to deploy additional infrastructure along the Southwest border, whether it is contiguous or in targeted, high-risk areas,” Soter Group Director of Market Research, Peter Wong, added. “It will likely be many of the same contractors competing for the construction work. That said, there are still roles for non-construction companies and given the potential size of the market opportunity, there may be some non-traditional contractors who choose to compete as well.”
With 59-pages, 17 tables, and 7 figures, this report goes into depth on the history of the Southwest border, including policy, organizations, budget, contracts, and results. The report also delineates a variety of considerations (e.g., cost, operational requirements) that may come into play as Congress and the Trump administration continue to develop their plans for a border wall.
The Business of America’s Wall: A Market Assessment of the U.S.-Mexico Border