The Long Haul: National Guard Presence on the Southwest Border

  • Lieutenant Colonel Christopher S. Baril

In the wake of 9/11, strategic partnerships were further developed between interagency law enforcement authorities and the National Guard, particularly along the Southwest border. These partnerships enabled the National Guard to become a key contributor and supporter of federal law enforcement agencies who were charged with protecting the borders of the homeland. Operational requirements on the Southwest border have changed the size and scope of the National Guard presence, but not its effectiveness. Political leaders from the local to national level have voiced their continued support in recent years for the National Guard to continue its mission as a key enabler to interagency law enforcement in protecting the nation’s borders. Only time will tell if the current configuration of support will remain in place in an increasingly fiscally austere environment. The United States government must review and emplace long-term funding apparatuses to ensure enduring partnerships in an effort to protect the Southwest border, U.S. persons, and the United States.