As Noah Shactman at the Danger Room notes, the U.S. government has been trying (with marginal success) to implement "high-tech" surveillance systems along our southern border. Current plans call for a series of "sensor towers," which will monitor the border and feed data to monitoring stations.
However, the so-called "virtual fence" has been affected by technical problems and staggering costs. Last May, Boeing announced plans to revamp the prototype, and it's still unclear how much we'll pay for the system. By one (inflated) estimate, the fence will cost between $300 million and $1.7 billion per mile; but even at a lower price, there are legitimate questions about how much security it will provide, and the long-term expenditures required to keep the sensors --and the technicians who monitor them--on the job.
Meanwhile, the Israelis have taken the concept of high-tech border security to another level. Aviation Week's Ares defense blog reports that the IDF is now operating remote-controlled weapons stations along the "hot" border with Gaza.
Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the network consists of weapons towers, mounting a remotely-controlled 7.62 mm or 50-caliber weapon, linked to an observation station. The observation post, manned mostly by female soldiers, monitors border activity around the clock. When an attempted border penetration (or other suspicious activity) is detected, operators can direct one or more towers to engage the targets. In addition to the tower-mounted guns, observers can also employ precision-guided missiles.
Obviously, we'll never have anything like the Israeli system in our country--that is, until terrorists detonate a nuke in an American city, and the plot is traced through our porous borders. There's nothing like mass casualties and a verified threat to change your way of thinking.
N/T: The Danger Room.