– There are 6,600 troops on the border. Not the 10,000 troops the Governor keeps referring to. 6,600 troops is basically a ground maneuver Brigade Task Force. A competent Colonel should be able to handle this level of deployment. The assessment is that they have mobilized 10k troops on and off of orders. Does the Governor even know how many troops are on the border?
– There are over 160 separate units have been pilfered to create this Task Force. That is a complete violating of the principles of unity of command, which leads to a breakdown in command and control.
– Due to COVID and border duty, a large portion of the Texas Military Department (TMD) has not been to the field in 3 years. Readiness of the TMD has completely collapsed. Additionally, the Adjutant General (TAG) conducted a one-year mandatory stand down of every vehicle in the TMD due to a traffic fatality of a Soldier. A tragedy, but this demonstrates the TAGs misunderstanding of accepting risk, and the means to mitigate it, and maintaining readiness.
– Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) have been constructed and are in use.
– The intent of the current Governor is to extend deployments for an additional FY, one should never reinforce failure.
“Culture, Compensation and Operations” as a solution. Some key considerations to frame a campaign strategy are:
– Compensation: Total compensation for Soldiers. This is a state mission. Therefore, the state can determine the compensation package for service on the border such as in-state educational benefits, pay incentives, retirement, tax breaks (suspend property tax assessments), and newly created state level border awards (medals). None of this is being done at a creative level. There are many legal options other than paying a Soldier a reduced salary with no retirement (State Active Duty does not contribute to a Soldiers T10 retirement) which is what is occurring now. For instance, I believe every Soldier on the border should be incurring Texas County & District Retirement System (TCDRS) points since they are working in Texas Counties. The US military incentivizes deploying to combat with special pay. Why aren’t we doing this on the border? This would increase morale immensely.
– Culture: Fix the Texas Military Department. The elephant in the room in much of this has been the TMDs atrophy of good leaders over the past 10 years. Not since LTG James III (who recently passed away) has there been a real visionary in the TMD. The TMD has traditionally been a hands-off type of Department by past Governors and that is unfortunate. There needs to be a restored dedication to and of competency in the TMD with General Officers who have mastered their branch. Currently, what exists is an NGB group of senior officers that “pass through” the states for rank. The current TAG, MG Tracy Norris, is a product of NGB assignments and as a result have little valuable command experience. The current Deputy TAG, BG Ulis does possess ground maneuver unit command experience. How to fix this requires distributing the solution across multiple entities such as:
a. Appoinment of a new TAG who should immediately open an IG investigation through NGB against the TMDs personnel office, EO office, and other offices for “culture and accountability” issues in order to demonstrate to the Soldiers and Airmen, and Texas citizens that poor leadership and nepotism will no longer be tolerated. The new TAG should “investigate himself” for complete transparency. This would be a huge step for real transparent governance. National Guard scandals include sexual misconduct, coverups, reprisals (usatoday.com)
b. Solicit an independent state level congressional committee (potentially ordered by the LT. Gov) to investigate the TMD’s border mismanagement.
c. Create a Strategic Initiatives Group consisting of officers and enlisted.
– Operations: Define our federal relationships within the Joint Task Force (JTF). Do we continue to participate with US Border Patrol ( USBP) as a surrogate by apprehending illegal aliens (IAs) and handing them over for distribution into the US? There needs to be distinct departure from business-as-usual with USBP. No JTF is worth deploying if we are just going to escort IAs and terrorist to the USBP. An apprehension, holding, and repatriation strategy is going to have to be addressed and developed. The TMD has an Air Wing of C-17s. Why aren’t we using those to repatriate IAs? Texas then demonstrates to all Federal agencies we are pursuing states’ rights and, as a sovereign State, force the federal government to adapt to our tactics, not us adapting to theirs, which are unconstitutional.
– Operations that include tactical patrols and interdictions is not hard. The tactics in all this is the easiest part. We can use organic units to complete the tactical screens. The part that needs to change is apprehension of IAs and stop helping process them into the US.
– Operations transcend tactics and logistical support. There should be an operational reset to Operation Lone Star and conduct a phased redeployment of Soldiers home. We should then properly execute the deployment process by alerting, training, and deploying logistical units to the border, followed by tactical units. This would alleviate the issue we are facing with massive logistical shortfalls. Every deployment I participated in began with an advanced party (ADVON), normally this consisted of deploying supply and logistics personnel to the border first with a small reaction force. Once a logistics footprint is established, you deploy large groups of Soldiers and received all equipment, therefore negating logistical failures.
These are common sense recommendations. If Governor Abbott cared, he would implement them immediately. The above is a true testimony as to why in this current border crisis, a warrior leader is necessary…not a lawyer litigator.
Our campaign will be posting testimonials we have received from members of the Texas National Guard on our website over the next few days. A link will be provided on social media. We will be making them anonymous to protect our Troops from punitive measures from the TMD and the Governor’s office.
If anyone else has information to share about the continued crisis at our border, please email [email protected].