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How the National Guard's Border Mission Fell Apart

December 11, 2021 (1 min read)

Davis Winkie, Army Times, Dec. 8, 2021

"“We could be saving billions of dollars if we actually funded [Customs and Border Protection] instead of using the Guard as a Band-Aid,” said an officer who served at the border last year. “We’re useless and CBP treats us like we’re useless. We cost the taxpayer millions of dollars in pay, benefits, per diem, hotels, [and] vehicle rentals.” Gallego, a former Marine and a member of the House Armed Service Committee, agreed. He also highlighted the long-term costs of using Guard troops there, such as paying out increased G.I. Bill and Veterans Affairs disability benefits to those injured on the mission. “If we want to secure the border, 100 customs officers is better than 100 National Guardsmen,” said Gallego, who also opposed a Guard border deployment during the Obama administration. “It feels warm and fuzzy to say that we have guys with camouflage down on the border, but it’s just politicians playing with people’s emotions. [The troops] don’t actually end up being effective, and you’re eroding our military capability for real threats. “All you’re doing is, basically, taking [Guardsmen] away from their families [and] taking people from actual training,” Gallego added. “You’re screwing with readiness. You’re screwing with morale.”"