People on BOLO lists have entered the hotels of soldiers and stolen receipts and notebooks in an attempt to gain intel, most likely for cartels. Additionally, sicarios — cartel mercenaries — actively operate in many southern counties in Texas and troop security is not being effectively provided. These actions by cartel agents have resulted in no action by those high up in the chain of command.
The JTF has called down thousands of soldiers yet has only provided limited to zero personal protective equipment depending on the location at the border. The task force has pushed their responsibility to provide equipment down the chain to company levels, knowing companies don’t have the capability to support extra operatives with essential gear. It is making equipping our troops a logistical nightmare. Many soldiers are missing helmets, rifles, pistols, body armor, and rain gear. Additionally, troops have to share and exchange ammo based on patrols. Ammo requests are being stalled at high levels, and soldiers cannot even purchase ammo in the open market because it is illegal to shoot non-government-purchased ammo out of government-purchased rifles. Our soldiers cannot even pay out of pocket to supply for their own safety.
Hotels and AirBnB locations are overbooked, and two border patrol stations are being used to house soldiers, which limits the ability of those locations to operate effectively. No forethought was given on where to garrison these soldiers, and because of this the mission’s effectiveness is suffering.
Instead of assigning each company an Area of Responsibility (AOR), it lumped companies into the same AORs with no coordination or guidance. Instead of allowing gradual builds into specific areas, it has amassed every company element to the border. This has caused confusion and major logistical issues. No assessments or recommendations were made prior to the rollout, which dramatically hurt effectiveness. Additionally, the DPS are the current gatekeepers of the operation and many lack the understanding of how to utilize army assets, and there is little commonality in operation capacities.
Col. West stated:
“As a combat veteran and commander, I find it unconscionable that we are inadequately placing our Texas Army National Guard troops in harm’s way. These Texans need a Commander-in-Chief that understands mission-oriented operations, not political optics, along with approving effective rules of engagement. Leadership is not about riding in boats and helicopters in the middle of the day. It means being on the ground, in the middle of the night on patrol with your troops. I did that before. I will do it again. Leaders should lead from the front.”
Leadership is needed on the border to dramatically overhaul the current situation our troops find themselves in and to effectively put a halt to this invasion. Col. West has the experience to thread the needle on this logistical chaos and the commitment to end this crisis. As Governor, West would make the border secure again and bring stability not just to our border counties but all of Texas.