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Ah, technology ...
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 03, 2008

We can do this:


But we can't build a virtual fence on the border.

Go figure.

(HT: HotAir)
 
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Well, once we take out LockMart’s self-stroking, we really can’t do that. That video is a plea for money to make it happen, regardless of performance or cost. What’s that you say? Variable geometry kills performance while adding cost? Oh, yes. Note the B1, which was changed to a low-altitude penetrator because it cannot reach its nominal service altitude (combat loaded, it has to fly between the mountains, because it often cannot fly over them), the F14 (underpowered in the extreme, and less maneuverable than Top Gun would have you believe), or the F111 (a complete turkey, except as a long-range medium bomber, and unable to outmaneuver Soviet aircraft at any altitude or airspeed). The thing is, the fence has to be done with off the shelf technology, while this thing only has to look good as a graphic for the moment.

By all means, clobber the guys doing the fence for the incompetents they apparently are, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is anything more than a sexy marketing pitch aimed at the Pentagon’s buyers.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
"We can do this:"

You can do almost anything with the help of computer graphics. The virtual fence also works quite well in advertising video presentations.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
There’s a difference between "can" and "can, at a reasonable budget, with the current political will".

Jeff: My impression of the B-1 was that SAC had given up on high-altitude penetration back in the days of the XB-71 - when Powers’ U2 was shot down - long before the B-1 was designed, since Soviet missiles were fast and high-ranged enough to shoot down anything not in orbit, if they could get a radar lock on it.

The B-1 was always spec’d, from the start, for low-altitude penetration, since the first prototypes as an experimental platform are from 1961, a year after the Powers incident.
 
Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://
By all means, clobber the guys doing the fence for the incompetents they apparently are, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is anything more than a sexy marketing pitch aimed at the Pentagon’s buyers.
Uh, Jeff, as it turns out the vid was nothing more than a prop for slamming the builders of the "virtual fence".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Nevermind the fence, we still can’t fill in a hole in the ground in NYC properly either....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
But we can’t build a virtual fence on the border.
Just change the ’can’t’ to a ’won’t’ and you’d have it about right.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Just change the ’can’t’ to a ’won’t’ and you’d have it about right.
Can I get a couple of hallelujah’s and an Amen cause this is where it’s at.
It’s not the capacity and capability we lack, it’s the will.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It’s is the capacity as well. There is a 28 mile stretch which was built by Boeing as a demonstration project that is a dismal failure and now has pushed the project back to 2011. Of course that goes to the 2nd part - will. Not much of that demonstrated either.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Like I said, I’m all for slamming the builders of the virtual fence; the amount of crap that the large government contractors are shoveling out, and the incredible prices they charge for it, is unconscionable. This is not just a problem with Boeing: if LockMart had the fence contract, they would have messed it up just as big. This is, in other words, just a symptom, and it affects us across far more domains than immigration and border control.

In fact, the main reason I find the video so annoying is that you’ve really hit two of the three points of the government procurement triad of incompetence, which goes something like this:
  1. Contractor makes slick presentation talking about how their product will do everything possible and several things that violate the laws of physics and/or common sense, all for the cost of a cheese sandwich.
  2. Government shoves money at the contractor based on the oversold features and the frontloaded (ie, vastly underestimated) price.
  3. Once the contract is in hand and some money has been spent, the government seems unable or unwilling to back out of a contract. Therefore, the contractor bungles it horribly and expensively, requiring multi-megabucks just to keep going. The government shovels in the extra cash needed.

In other words, the main problem with your using the presentation is not that it’s a prop used to slam the builders of the fence, but that the builders of the fence doubtless have just such a presentation somewhere, and it’s exactly the comparison of the unbounded possibility of imagination vs. the rock hard reality that comes later that gets us into this mess over and over and over. You are, in short, perpetuating the very system that caused the fence to be a failure, by pimping the exact same kind of behavior by a different contractor.

I’m not annoyed at you, by the way, if you pick up on the tone here. I’m annoyed at the government and contractors conspiring to bilk the public out of quite literally billions of dollars per program.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Other successful mega projects that didn’t involve military contractors? Two words - Big Dig.

I disagree on the capacity issue, we do have the capacity.
We don’t have the will to plug the border, we don’t have the will to spend the money to build the fence, and we don’t have the will to spend the time/manpower/money to man the fence.

The idea that we "can’t" effectively close the border is just hogwash sold by people who don’t want it closed in the first place.

We could do it, and do it without resorting to murdering the Mexicans trying to come across to make our point.
The British criss-crossed South Africa with barbwire walls and towers during the Boar war as a method of preventing the Boar commandos from owning the country side( course they also established the first concentration camps).
Another example - Hadrian/Romans/Picts. And since we’re not dealing with organized armies let’s not pretend that Hadrians wall wouldn’t have stopped a simple, essentially peaceful, migration of workers.

If we wanted to we could string wire from the Gulf to the Pacific, and brute force man it with towers in LOS to stop crossers until they finally understood we were serious.

As for billions of dollars, yeah I like the high tech idea of spending billions and getting high tech boat anchors, don’t you? How much barb wire, tower material and employee pay does 5 billion dollars buy these days?

We don’t have the will.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Other successful mega projects that didn’t involve military contractors? Two words - Big Dig.

I disagree on the capacity issue, we do have the capacity.
We don’t have the will to plug the border, we don’t have the will to spend the money to build the fence, and we don’t have the will to spend the time/manpower/money to man the fence.

The idea that we "can’t" effectively close the border is just hogwash sold by people who don’t want it closed in the first place.

We could do it, and do it without resorting to murdering the Mexicans trying to come across to make our point.
The British criss-crossed South Africa with barbwire walls and towers during the Boar war as a method of preventing the Boar commandos from owning the country side( course they also established the first concentration camps).
Another example - Hadrian/Romans/Picts. And since we’re not dealing with organized armies let’s not pretend that Hadrian’s wall wouldn’t have stopped a simple, essentially peaceful, migration of workers.

If we wanted to we could string wire from the Gulf to the Pacific, and brute force man it with towers in LOS to stop crossers until they finally understood we were serious.

As for billions of dollars, yeah I like the high tech idea of spending billions and getting high tech boat anchors, don’t you? How much barb wire, tower material and employee pay does 5 billion dollars buy these days?

We don’t have the will.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think the virtual fence is appropriate. It matches our virtual enforcement of immigration law.

One other thing. A virtual fence, like any other obstacle, has to be guarded by actual people, otherwise it is just a speedbump.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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