Guard Official Describes Southwest Border Mission Buildup
By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 9, 2010 The National Guard has a long history of supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection efforts along the Southwest border, and it looks forward to the current support mission, the National Guard Bureau’s director of communications told participants in a “DoD Live” bloggers roundtable Aug. 6.
Defense and Homeland Security officials announced last month that up to 1,200 Guardsmen would augment U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. In the bloggers roundtable, Jack Harrison said he wanted to discuss the sometimes-inaccurate reporting about the incremental deployment of those Guard members.
Harrison emphasized that the deployment plan is "incremental," with each state providing its own soldiers and airmen. The states also will retain the command and control of the Guardsmen under the governor and adjutant general, he added.
"During the next 60 to 90 days, we anticipate that those states will get [Guard members] on the mission, and they will be doing the support that [the Homeland Security Department] has requested of them," he said.
Training and vetting times always are built into the incremental deployment process, Harrison said, to conform with Customs and Border Protection requirements. The Guard is following the plan as it was agreed to by Defense and Homeland Security officials, he said, and is not missing any deadlines.
"We are uniquely suited to do this mission,” he said. “We are implementing the plan agreed to, … and everything is moving according to that plan, … allowing our soldiers and airmen to be properly trained and vetted and brought on to the mission."
After cycling through the requisite training, up to 1,200 soldiers and airmen will work primarily in one of two specialties: entry identification or criminal investigative analysis, Harrison said.