USA — Guard Official Describes Southwest Border Mission Buildup

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. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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