Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twelve Hundred National Guardsmen to the Border

The president announced that he would commit 1200 National Guard troops to assist in border enforcement. This promise came with a commitment of $500,000,000 to fund the effort. Although a step in the right direction, a few minutes with the trusty calculator did little to see it as a solution to the problem.

First off, the situation is that the length of the border is intimidating—1,969 miles. To assist the existing ICE personnel, if each individual were to be assigned a portion for patrol and interdiction on a twenty four hour basis we must understand how shift workers are enumerated. A single shift requires three men on an eight hour stint with one man in reserve for a total of four. Suddenly the 1200 is reduced to 300 effective troops for the entire length of the border. 1,200 divided by 4 results in 300 men available for increased surveillance. The border length of 1,969 miles divided by 300 then results in one man for each 6.56 miles additional coverage.

While the extra manpower is a positive addition to the defense of the border it leaves several glaring gaps. Not every individual in these guard units will be on active patrol. We have administrative personnel, cooks, mechanics, medics, armorers, communication specialists, and others who will need to be on shifts as well. It is safe to assume that the best that can be hoped is to supply one enforcement guardsman for every 13 miles.

In typical government fashion, the financial arrangement for their support is $416,666.66 for each man assigned. Even considering the costs of pay, benefits, transportation, armaments, and support equipment it appears to be more than adequate to support an operation “in continent.” In fact, there should be enough left over to send each and every one of them to Harvard.

The number, 1200 guardsmen, suggests two full strength battalions. Obviously, the affect on our border security will hardly be noticeable but the possibility of their efforts enhancing the existing security might possibly open the door to a more substantial force. That would be a benefit so obvious that even the president could understand it.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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