Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Military contractor nabs Fatherland Security funds via NYMTA

Expand Messages
  • 8/23 New York Times
    Published Tuesday, August 23, 2005, in the New York Times Lockheed Martin Is Hired to Bolster Transit Security in N.Y. By Sewell Chan and Shadi Rahimi A new
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 23, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Published Tuesday, August 23, 2005, in the New York Times

      Lockheed Martin Is Hired to Bolster Transit Security in N.Y.

      By Sewell Chan and Shadi Rahimi

      A new world of transit security in New York City began to take form
      this morning, as officials disclosed plans to saturate the transit
      system with 1,000 video cameras, 3,000 motion detectors and a wide
      array of sophisticated gadgets, all intended to buffer the city's
      subways, bridges and tunnels from a terror attack.

      The Lockheed Martin Corporation, a company best known for military
      hardware like warplanes, missiles and antitank systems, was formally
      awarded a three-year, $212 million contract today by the Metropolitan
      Transportation Authority to create a surveillance and security system
      for its sprawling subway and bus system, along with its two commuter
      railroads and nine bridges and tunnels.

      Under contract extensions, Lockheed Martin, which prevailed over two
      other consortiums of military contractors to win the work, could
      continue to maintain the system through September 2013. The total
      program could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

      The authority also announced that on Monday, it would request
      proposals from telecommunications concerns to build a wireless network
      in underground subway stations that would allow cellphones to be used.
      The proposals are due on Oct. 12.

      Previously, the authority had suggested that building such a network
      would be too costly and risky. But officials said that they had
      decided that the ability to use cellphones would ultimately improve
      safety by allowing passengers and workers to call 911 operators, not
      to mention family and friends, in emergencies.

      The authority's decision to hire military firms to create a security
      system is a fateful step in its counterterrorism efforts, which have
      proceeded haltingly since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

      For the past 18 months, the authority has meticulously surveyed its
      universe of existing security devices, which include thousands of
      closed-circuit television cameras, many of them antiquated or even
      obsolete. It produced reams of specifications and ultimately narrowed
      down the bidders to three teams, which submitted final proposals on
      July 22.

      The authority's executive director, Katherine N. Lapp, cautioned that
      there was no fail-safe way to prevent a terrorist attack, but she and
      her security director, William A. Morange, hailed Lockheed Martin's
      approach of relying on extensive electronic surveillance, backed by a
      dense computer network.

      Mr. Morange, a longtime city police commander before he joined the
      authority, said Lockheed Martin had experience "in complex and
      fast-moving environments" and expertise in "command, communications
      and control infrastructure."

      "We understand the need for immediate action that will protect the
      M.T.A. operations yet expedite the movement of people and goods
      throughout metropolitan New York," said Judy F. Marks, executive vice
      president of Lockheed Martin's Transportation and Security Solutions
      unit, based in Rockville, Md.

      Lockheed Martin will oversee the work of a half-dozen partners,
      including SYSTRA Engineering, a transportation engineering company in
      Bloomfield, N.J.; the Intergraph Corporation, a software and data
      management firm in Madison, Ala., and the Cubic Corporation of San
      Diego, a transportation and military business that helped establish
      the MetroCard system in the subways in the 1990's.

      Other companies on the team will include Lenel Systems International,
      a security technology company based in Rochester; Arinc, a
      transportation communications firm in Annapolis, Md.; and Slattery
      Skanska, a unit of the big Swedish construction firm Skanska.

      While the computer systems are being set up, Lockheed Martin will have
      already begun installing 1,000 cameras focused on particularly
      sensitive or critical sites in subway stations and elsewhere. The
      cameras, which can zoom and pivot, will be centrally controlled and
      cost about $1,200 each.

      The authority and Lockheed Martin showed off a bank of video screens
      that will be part of a new computer-aided dispatch system. They
      demonstrated how officials could respond to two scenarios.

      In one, a person tries to enter a secure facility using an expired
      electronic access card; the computer detects the attempt to enter and
      directs officials to send a security officer to check out the
      situation.

      In the second scenario, a briefcase is left behind on a busy Midtown
      subway platform. As the camera beams live images of passengers moving
      about, software can differentiate the moving people from the
      motionless package, sending off an alert that a suspicious object has
      been left unattended.

      The system has its limits though. The cameras cannot determine
      whether a suspicious object has been left behind in a garbage can, for
      example. The authority has begun to reduce the number of trash cans
      in subway stations, but has decided not to eliminate them altogether,
      as has occurred in London and Washington, because of the need to keep
      stations, trains and tracks clean.

      The deal is by far the biggest spending commitment so far in the
      authority's counterterrorism program, which has been hobbled by delays
      but was given new urgency after the London transit bombings last
      month. The authority's board approved a $591 million security plan in
      2002, but as of last month, it had spent only a fraction of that sum.
      Now, officials say, most of the money will be committed or spent by
      the end of this year.

      From 2001 to 2003, under the authority's former security director,
      Louis R. Anemone, officials conducted extensive reviews of potential
      threats, developed a list of especially vulnerable targets and began
      talks with a specialized Army unit.

      After Mr. Anemone was fired in May 2003, in a dispute not directly
      related to security, the talks with the Army fell apart because, the
      authority said, the Army demanded too much control. For much of the
      last year, the entire security effort seemed to lose steam. But the
      authority's desire for military expertise has apparently endured.
      Lockheed Martin, which has 135,000 employees, works mostly with the
      Defense Department and does not have extensive experience in transit
      security. Its Transportation and Security Solutions business unit,
      which will lead the work in New York City, was created in June 2003.

      [BATN: "Target of Opportunity"!]

      "What Lockheed Martin does as a systems integrator is identify the
      best expertise and technology for the task at hand, and we bring that
      to the customer," a company spokeswoman, Anna DiPaola, said.

      Several officials at Lockheed Martin -- including Don Antonucci, the
      president of Transportation and Security Solutions, and Mark
      D. Bonatucci, a program director there -- took part in the talks
      between the Army and the authority. They will now participate in
      overseeing the contract.

      The unit, which has 2,200 employees, has focused on aviation, maritime
      and border issues. It has worked extensively for the Federal Aviation
      Administration, the National Archives and Records Administration, the
      Census Bureau and other federal agencies.

      The deal, unlike most of the authority's contracts, has not been
      extensively discussed in public. The authority requested proposals
      from contractors on May 6, and bids were due on July 22. Three bids
      were submitted, according to the authority's spokesman, Tom Kelly.

      The only official to discuss the request for proposals so far is Ashok
      Patel, program manager for security at M.T.A. Capital Construction,
      which handles big building projects, who was made available to
      reporters on July 11, four days after 56 people died in bombings in
      London.

      At the time, Mr. Patel said this would be the first of two such
      contracts to be awarded. The second phase will involve measures to
      "harden" security throughout the transit system, he said, declining to
      specify a timeline.

      The Lockheed Martin unit has been hired by the governments of Albania,
      New Zealand and Uzbekistan to work on air-traffic management or
      air-defense systems, according to its news releases. It has also
      worked on projects to visualize the location of aircraft at Spokane
      International Airport, in Washington, and to protect the facilities of
      the National Security Agency, the cryptologic and counterintelligence
      organization.

      "All these defense firms have already, since the cold war, been
      diversifying," said Bruce Hoffman of the RAND Corporation, a research
      organization. "The public expectations for security are so high now
      that even avenues that may not have been pursued before have to be
      investigated."

      Dr. Hoffman, an expert in counterterrorism, cautioned that neither
      cameras nor sensors would necessarily stop a determined attacker.

      "One has to guard against over-optimism that there's one technological
      solution that will render us safe from terrorism, but we'd be foolish
      not to harness proven military technologies in a civilian
      environment."
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.