Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ROE (Rules of Engagement) for National Guard Units on the Border

What should the ROE be for National Guard units assigned to the border. Please formulate a response without referencing the Posse Comitatus act of 1878. To the extent that they be allowed to function is the basis for this discussion. I'm curious to receive your imput as to what you think about 1) what the operational or tactical role should be for the Guard along the border, 2) what perceived strategic aim this initiative is nested, and 3) do you think it can achieve this aim? One point of interest is that the newly recognized National Guard's first federal call-up (mobilization) came in 1916 and it was for the Mexican Border conflict in which GEN John Pershing was leading a punitive expedition into Mexico to catch Francisco "Pancho" Villa. The National Guardsmen were not allowed across the border, were retained in camps for drill and ceremony, and eventually were called back home. Pershing's attempt to capture or kill Pancho Villa failed. But the National Guardsmen were now ready to head to Europe in support of the Great War. One might speculate that the mobilization was a rehearsal and training opportunity in preparation for the inevitable WWI mission. But that is a different discussion on a different day.


  1. One should view the protection of the border of one's state not as an issue of federal enforcement but one of State's rights. Creating a non-permissive environment to deter or prevent cross border travel is a perogative of the state. Currently Guardsmen along the border are on Title 32 orders, C2ed by the Governor of the state to protect the state from intrusion. Four States current participate in Opn Jump Start (OJS). Funding does not correlate to Federalization. OJS is not a cohesive Federal operation but merely a funding mechanism to assist states in protection of their borders. Participation is voluntary. States vary in level of participation which is a relection of the priorities of the State Government. Economic impacts being one of those decision making parameters especially when an agri-based industry is one of the State's mainstays. So the strategic aim is not one of a federal perspective but one of the State. State agencies to include the National Guard, under Title 32, and State Highway patrol work and coordinate with Federal agencies i.e. Border Patrol.

  2. I don't agree with your first sentence. I think this is absolutely a federal responsibility. Now, the state should both take initiative and have the right to integrate their state resources as they see fit to protect their international borders. If that is your assertion than we have consensus. This should even apply in the event there is Federal movement, but it is inadequate to meet the state's vision of their strategic end state. The function of Federal responsibility ensures that both the National Guard and the Regular Components are capable of performing duty on the borders.
    National Guard performing duty on the border should not be embroiled in political agendas. They should function in the capacity that provides them the greatest flexibility to accomplish their tactical objectives, the regional operational end state, and the National Strategic Aim.
    All the discussion regarding roles as law enforcement is simply a non-starter to me. Functioning along an international border, in order to prevent the entry of any personnel and contraband, other than through legal checkpoints, is not in any way a conflict with law enforcement. If the National Guard, or T10 Active Duty components for that matter, perform their missions conducting continuous observation on areas identified via thorough analysis, it can be an autonomous military action that is synchronized with law enforcement. They (NG) won't be moving through neighborhoods conducting house to house searches for illegal aliens; they are providing protection via interdiction oriented to what is coming across the borders.
    They must carry firearms, that have ammunition, in loaded magazines. Rounds in the chamber is debatable. The military will not be legitimate entity to enforce protective measures without firearms. But additionally, they should receive about 1 week training in escalation of force with the use of alternative measues. Force should begin with verbal commands, restraint with physical arrest, pepper spray, ASP, threat of deadly force, then deadly force. The National Guard is no stranger to the concept of escalation of force. They just need to bring the proficiency training back into the mobilization process when deploying for the border. Recommend administered by the CBP (Custom's Border Patrol) to reduce friction between interagency operations.