Reuters reports today on comments by Donald Rumsfeld regarding the possibility of deploying U.S. troops in support of the border security mission on the U.S.-Mexico border:
The Pentagon has begun exploring options for the potential use of troops and equipment to help secure the U.S. border with Mexico, where hundreds of thousands of migrants enter the country illegally each year, a defense official said on Friday.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld discussed border issues at the Pentagon with his Mexican counterpart, Defense Minister Gen. Gerardo Clemente Ricardo Vega. Mexico and the United States share a 2,000-mile border….
A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the Defense Department is exploring options for possible use of troops or military assets to help with border security.
I’m skeptical of this idea at first impression, primarily because I think it would be expensive and have a low return-on-investment compared with other funding options for border security. What we don’t need is more people “stuffing the line” – the incremental value of more manpower, all by itself, is a linear function, and is likely to only make a modest dent in the flow. Instead, what we need for border security are force multipliers, in the form of technology investments and/or a border fence (depending on geography, terrain, and migration patterns).