Archive for September 9, 2010

HOMELAND SECURITY: Beefing Up at the Border

National Guard on Border from California to Texas

There’s a couple of things the U.S. National Guard wants to make absolutely sure you know concerning its mission on the Southwest border.

– National Guardsmen are not going to flying helicopters or driving tanks or manning pillboxes along the U.S. Border with Mexico.

– No specific National Guard units are being sent to the border as part of President Barack Obama’s initiative to deploy 1,200 troops to the troubled border area. In fact, no out-of-state Guardsman will be on duty in California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas. Instead, the thousand or so National Guardsmen and Air Guardsmen now at the border are all individual volunteers and not part of a larger unit.

And finally, the Guard volunteers are going to be assisting Homeland Security Department officers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But they will not be conducting law enforcement operations on their own, says Jack Harrison, the communications director for the National Guard Bureau.

Harrison took pains to make those points during a Defense Blogger’s Roundtable late last week.

Border Patrol agents observe an Arizona National Guardsman training in the desert. (U.S. Army photo by

Border Patrol agents observe an Arizona National Guardsman training in the desert. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill)

The Guardsmen will not be engaging in direct law enforcement activity. Instead they will assist CBP, ICE and Border Patrol agents as part of entry-identification teams and serving as criminal analysts. “They will be armed, but that will be more for self- protection than anything else,” Harrison says.

The National Guardsmen have been training for up to three weeks in CBP techniques and procedures as well with any CBP-unique equipment they may have to use. ending July 1, 2011. The price tag is a maximum $135 million. While Uncle Sam is funding the program, the individual governors in the four states and their adjutants general will be in charge of their own Guardsmen

Harrison notes that this isn’t the first time the Guard has been called out along the Southwest border. An additional 350 National Guardsmen have been doing counter narcotics missions in that same area for the last two decades. And in 2008, the Guard ended a two-year mission, called Operation Jump Start, to assist the Department of Homeland Security along the border.

September 9, 2010 at 6:04 pm Leave a comment


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