Southern Arizona in the Crosshairs: The annual Border Security Expo shows off billions of dollars of technology coming soon to a desert near you

Razor wire was coiled around a rudimentary wooden shelter. Under it, a hunched man concentrated, looking into his laptop. Cameras and radar were set up on a retractable mast behind him and could detect any activity at long range, day and night. Desert camouflage covered this large mobile surveillance machine, which was surrounded by sandbags and desert shrubs.

Dressed sharply in a suit and tie, the man was not in a militarized border zone. The DRS Technologies salesman was in the Phoenix Convention Center, trying, as the midsize military and electronics company’s motto asserts, to draw “clarity from the clutter.”

This “bring the battlefield to the border” scenario (as another sales representative put it), was in play throughout the spacious exhibition hall at the seventh annual Border Security Expo on March 12 and 13. Almost 200 companies big (Raytheon) and small (Tucson-based StrongWatch), were competing for the multibillion-dollar border policing pie.

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