The Will Hurd 'virtual border wall'
A coalition of border state lawmakers and moderates are looking to take charge of the wall debate -- offering their own plan to build a "smart" wall that draws from the insight of Silicon Valley and virtual reality entrepreneur Palmer Luckey.I like Will Hurd, but I think his estimate on the cost of his plan seems a little low. I am open to other ideas for a border barrier as long as it is effective. If it can be as effective as the Israeli model I would be for it. He will probably need to come up with a demonstration project in order to build support.
The move seeks to balance between President Donald Trump's aggressive push for border security and reticence by moderates in Washington to commit to an expensive show of force that experts at the border question will actually be productive.
The "Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology Act," or SMART Act, will be introduced Thursday morning by Republican Rep. Will Hurd, whose Texas district has more than 800 miles of the Southern border, one-third of the total border with Mexico and more than any other single lawmaker.
To back up the bill, Hurd has been using the estimates and insights of Anduril Industries, a Silicon Valley-based defense technology company founded by Luckey, who also founded Oculus VR. His proposal estimates on the high side a solution of $500,000 per mile -- far below the $24.5 million per mile price tag of the government's fiscal year 2018 wall money request.
"People that are dealing with this issue know that a third century solution to a 21st century problem is not going to fix this long term," Hurd told CNN. "We haven't looked at all 2,000 miles of our Southern border at the same time, and for the last eight years we've tried to have a one-size fits all solution to the border, and that doesn't work."
Hurd calculates that would cost $24.5 million per mile, and up to $33 billion in total across the border, whereas based on conversations he's had with Anduril, he believes sensor technology, computer imaging and virtual reality headsets could offer a solution for half a million or less.
Hurd's bill would require DHS to figure out a technological solution first and come up with a complete strategy before moving forward.