A British engineering company that provides X-ray and surveillance technologies to US immigration authorities to monitor borders.
Smiths Group PLC is a multinational engineering firm, headquartered in London. Its subsidiary Smiths Detection specializes in X-ray and other scanning technologies that are used to screen people and cargo. It has operations in over 50 countries and employs 23,100 people. The company's 2020 revenue totaled £2.5 billion ($3.5 billion), 41% of which was generated in the U.S.
From 2003 to August 2021, the U.S. federal government awarded Smiths Detection contracts worth a total of $3.5 billion, and signed additional 143 purchase orders valued at a potential $12 billion. The company primarily works for the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Homeland Security (DHS) to provide detection equipment for airport screening, military operations, and "non-intrusive inspections" at U.S. ports of entry. From 2004 to 2021, DHS agencies Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) awarded Smiths with contracts worth $196 million.
In 2021, CBP awarded Smiths, alongside Rapiscan and Leidos, a contract to provide "Multi-Energy Portal" (MEP) X-ray systems to inspect vehicles at the U.S.-Mexico border. The contract also includes equipment maintenance for 10 years and is worth a potential $480 million. CBP planned to purchase 17 MEPs between 2016 and 2020 as part of the agency's "Large Scale Non-Intrusive Inspection" program.
Also in 2021, CBP awarded Smiths an indefinite contract, which may include additional awards with a combined value of $480 million over five years, to provide X-ray equipment to screen vehicles crossing the Laredo, Texas checkpoint. The equipment is capable of detecting "objects hidden or concealed behind dense or heavy materials" and inspecting 100 vehicles per hour. The company has stated that, with this technology, CBP "will have the capabilities to efficiently identify and intercept threats and contraband without inhibiting the flow of goods."
In 2018, CBP awarded Smiths a $65 million contract to provide maintenance to the agency's existing scanning and detection equipment. At the time, CBP had thousands of systems made by Smiths, OSI Systems, and Varex Imaging, and installed at more than 350 sites.
Although headquartered in the U.K., Smiths Group has a political action committee (PAC) in the U.S., though which it spent $724,445 in campaign contributions from 2007 to 2021. The company has donated to both the Democratic and Republican parties through direct contributions and other PACs.
From 1999 to August 2021, Smiths Group spent an additional $46 million in lobbying expenses in relation to issues such as the 2020 Defense Appropriations Act, DoD's chemical and biological defense programs, and airport security funding.