Home / National News / National Guard Troops begin deploying to border security mission


(WASHINGTON) — The first National Guardsmen will arrive on the border with Mexico this weekend to support the new new border security mission announced by President Donald Trump earlier this week. Texas will send 150 National Guardsmen this weekend and Arizona plans to send 150 of its Guardsmen to the border beginning next week.

“Tonight there are National Guard troops moving in support of the border security mission,” said Dana White, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, in a statement Friday night.

“The Texas National Guard is preparing to immediately deploy with supporting aircraft,vehicles and equipment to the Texas-Mexico border,” said Brigadier General Tracy Norris, Assistant Deputy Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department.

She said 150 Texas Guardsmen will join 100 Guardsmen who had been supporting previous border security operations along the border with Mexico.

“This initial phase of deployment will include command and control, coordination cells and operational planning support of the federal entities already on the border,” said Norris. “Follow-on forces will move to the border once mission requirements and locations are finalized.”

Norris said that the Guardsmen would be armed for self-defense purposes only, but added that a lot would depend on an individual Guardsman’s mission.

The Arizona National Guard also announced on Friday that it had activated a team of planners who would coordinate the deployment of 150 Guardsmen to the border next week.

“These service members will provide mission-enhancing capabilities that allow Customs and Border Protection personnel to provide more law enforcement officers to the field,” said an Arizona National Guard statement.

“The Guard will provide air support, reconnaissance support, operational support, construction of border infrastructure, and logistical support. This will allow CBP to increase operational control of the region.”

The governors of California and New Mexico have not announced whether they will participate in the support mission unveiled by the Trump administration earlier this week.

Under what is known as Title 32 authority, state governors will call up Guardsmen for the mission, but their operations will be paid for by the federal government. A senior defense official said that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was planning to sign an order on Friday authorizing federal government payments for the border support mission.

It remains unclear how many additional Guardsmen could be deployed by the four southwestern border states.

On Thursday, Trump estimated he would like to see between 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops deployed to the border.

It remains unclear how long the deployments could last; Trump has said wants National Guardsmen to guard the U.S. border with Mexico until a border wall is built.

The initial deployments of Texas and Arizona National Guardsmen are in line with what the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson had outlined at a Thursday press conference.

“The National Guard’s efforts will include aviation, engineering, surveillance, communications, vehicle maintenance and logistical support,” said Dana White.

In 2006 the Bush administration deployed 6,000 Guardsmen as part of the border support mission known as Operation Jump Start.

President Obama deployed 1,200 Guardsmen in 2010 as part of a similar mission called Operation Phalanx.

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