Army National Guard Operation Phalanx

Friday May 20, 2011

What is it?

The Army National Guard (ARNG) established Operation Phalanx in July 2010, based on an Executive Order from President Obama authorizing up to 1,200 Soldiers and Airmen along the 1,933-mile southwest border in support of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. Operation Phalanx is the successor operation to Operation Jump Start, which was declared by former President Bush authorizing up to 6,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 2006 through 2008. Operation Phalanx, scheduled to end in June 2011, provides support primarily from the Southwest Border States of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

What has the National Guard done?

The National Guard Soldiers and Airmen assigned to Operation Phalanx have been serving as a force multiplier for the U.S. Border Patrol by spotting border intrusions and providing technical support. The National Guard has performed tasks such as ground surveillance, criminal investigative analysis, command and control, mobile communications, transportation, logistics, and training support.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicates that since Operation Phalanx began last July, the National Guard has helped with the seizure of more than 14,000 pounds of drugs, the apprehension of more than 7,000 illegal immigrants, and the confiscation of millions of dollars in illicit currency.

Since the outset of Operation Phalanx, the National Guard has been providing time for the department to hire, train, and equip additional Border Patrol agents, funded by an emergency border security supplemental law (Public Law 111-230) enacted by President Obama in August 2010.

What continued program efforts are planned for the future?

According to Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, the end-date and parameters for the operation are being reviewed. Under the current pattern of the operation, the Southwest border states provide troops from their local National Guard organizations. In contrast, for Operation Jump Start, the National Guard mobilized personnel from across the entire United States. Many units, for example, traveled to one of the Border Patrol sites such as Yuma or Tucson, and performed two or more weeks of annual training. In addition to Operations Phalanx and Jump Start, the National Guard has ongoing counterdrug operations as authorized by the National Interdiction Command and Control Plan of 1994.

Why is this important to the National Guard?

The National Guard performs a unique role in the struggle against illegal immigration and other border problems as they are not restricted by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which does not apply for National Guard personnel on Title 32 orders. In response to domestic missions, Soldiers and Airmen provide expertise while gaining unique military experience thus improving overall readiness, while greatly assisting the efforts and duties of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.


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