Press Release


Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee to Examine Use of National Guard to Secure the Border — TOMORROW

Media Contact: (202) 226-8417

Washington, D.C. – The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, chaired by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), will hold a hearing entitled “Boots on the Ground or Eyes in the Sky: How Best to Utilize the National Guard to Achieve Operational Control” tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Room 311 Cannon House Office Building.

Since 1989, National Guard troops have been intermittently used to assist in securing the border.  Most recently, the Obama Administration deployed 1,200 National Guard personnel to the Southwest border in 2010.  In 2011, the Administration extended the deployment, but shifted from 1,200 boots on the ground to less than 300 Guard Members providing aviation support. 

Tomorrow’s hearing will assess the National Guard’s role and effectiveness in securing the Southwest border.  Members will also have the opportunity to examine how Customs and Border Protection (CBP), under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), plans to fill the void once the National Guard departs in December 2012.

Miller said: “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.”

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

When:                 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where:                311 Cannon House Office Building

                           **Live video feed will be available HERE

Opening statements, witness testimony, and the live video feed will be available online HERE

Witness List:

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

Mr. Ronald D. Vitiello
Deputy Chief
U.S. Border Patrol
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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

Major General John Nichols
Adjutant General
Texas National Guard

Brian J. Lepore
Defense Capabilities and Management
U.S. Government Accountability Office