California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent Sec. Chertoff a letter today on the issue of deploying National Guard troops at the southern border. The full letter is available here, and the AP reports on it here. From the letter:
However, I have serious concerns about the proposal to use National Guard troops to provide support for Federal Border Patrol operations. Securing our borders is a law enforcement function and what we need are more Border Patrol agents, not National Guard troops who are neither trained nor suited for this purpose. I am concerned about the disruptive effect this mission will have on required training for Guard members and therefore force readiness in the event they are again called up for active duty….
As I understand the President’s proposal, National Guard troops will have no role in apprehending or detaining those trying to cross the border illegally, and will deploy for two or three week rotations during regularly scheduled training periods. Mobilizing thousands of National Guard troops from around the country for two week rotations on the border, to build fences and deploy surveillance equipment, presents a logistical nightmare and would be a poor use of forces trained for combat. The logistical support needed to maintain a constant redeployment of National Guard troops every two weeks will be staggering. From housing, food, storage, sewage, training, transportation needs, this constant state of deployment will require hundreds of additional troops just to support troop movement.
These are smart and sensible comments, especially in light of the apparent confusion that DHS still has about the deployment plan.