Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DHS Seeks Volunteer Guard for Border Drug War

According to an AP article on Newsmax, the Department of Homeland Security is developing plans to deploy up to 1,500 National Guard volunteers on the Southwest border as part of counterdrug efforts. There have been calls for the National Guard to be deployed to border before. The National Guard in Title 32 status is able to execute law enforcement support for counterdrug operations. The problem is arming the troops and under what circumstances those troops would be allowed to use deadly force. In the early days of the war on drugs, active duty personnel where deployed on the border for the same reason. Everything looked good until a Marine encountered what he thought was a drug dealer getting ready to fire. The Marine engaged the threat with deadly force and killed the suspect. Turns out the suspected drug dealer was actually a young boy tending to his animals. Initial reports wanted to blame the marine but what few wanted to talk about was the rules of engagement given to the Marine. The military at the time were given only M-16s and unclear rules of engagement, while unfortunate the Marine reacted in the only way he could given the circumstances.

Fifteen years later, I wonder what the rules of engagement will be for the National Guard troops? The National Guard has been heavily mobilized since 9/11 with non end in sight. Rates of substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide are increasing. The impact of adding yet another deployment to the National Guard needs to be carefully weighed against other operational commitments.

No comments: