Subcommittee Hearing: Boots on the Ground or Eyes in the Sky: How Best to Utilize the National Guard to Achieve Operational Control

April 17, 2012 2:00 PM | 311 Cannon House Office Building

Chairman Miller on the hearing:

“Earlier this year the Administration transitioned the role and scope of the National Guard troops from serving on the ground and assisting the Border Patrol by serving as additional eyes and ears on the border – to an aviation-centered approach that provides aerial surveillance to the Border Patrol Sector Chiefs on the ground.  Previous deployments of the Guard were used to provide time for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire new agents, grow, and enhance their own organic capabilities – thus begging the question: When the current Guard deployment ends later this year, will CBP’s aviation components be able to sustain the missions previously performed by the National Guard?  My hearing will provide the opportunity to question witnesses from the National Guard, Department of Defense, and CBP on the effectiveness of the current deployment strategy and how that will support the goal of achieving operational control of the border.  I believe that we need to have a long-term vision and whole-of-government approach to securing the Southwest Border that will replace the ad hoc application of resources that has, to date, epitomized our approach to border security.”

Opening Statements

Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), Chairman


Live Stream


**Due to technical difficulties, no recording for this hearing is available.


The Honorable Paul N. Stockton
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense
and Americas’ Security Affairs
Office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
U.S. Department of Defense
[full text of testimony]

Mr. Ronald D. Vitiello
Deputy Chief
U.S. Border Patrol
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
[full text of testimony]

Mr. Martin Vaughan
Executive Director, Southwest Region
Office of Air and Marine
U.S. Customs & Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
[full text of testimony]

Major General John Nichols
Adjutant General
Texas National Guard
[full text of testimony]

Brian J. Lepore
Defense Capabilities and Management
U.S. Government Accountability Office
[full text of testimony]