The U.S. Departments of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security (DHS) have announced they will begin withdrawing National Guard troops from the Southwest border, while stepping up its airborne surveillance efforts and moving in more U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Since July 2010, the 1,200 National Guard troops ordered to the Southwest border by President Obama have been assisting civilian law enforcement personnel with surveillance and investigation, as allowed by the Posse Comitatus Act.
The DOD plans for only 300 National Guard troops to remain stationed along the border by the end of January 2012.
Last week, Congress decided U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could spend $11.7 billion during Fiscal Year 2012, an increase of $362 million over 2011. While $60 million of CBP's FY 2012 budget will be spent on increased aerial security, much more will go to stationing an all-time record 21,400 Border Patrol agents along the border.
Added to the rapidly growing Customs and Border Protection "air force," will be more fixed-wing and rotary (helicopters) aircraft bristling with day-and-night surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. Also added will be more unmanned Predator drones, like those that have been remotely patrolling the border since September 2010.
"The deployment of these new DOD technical assets, along with the additional DHS personnel on the ground, will enable DOD to reduce the number of National Guard troops at the Southwest border while enhancing border security," stated the Department of Homeland Security in a press release.