Durbin Statement On New Air Force Report That National Guard Border Deployment Hurts Readiness, Costs Military Families

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), vice chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement on a new report by the U.S. Air Force entitled, “National Guard Role in Enhanced Border Security,” which examined prior deployments of the National Guard to the southern border:

“With this report, the Secretary of the Air Force says clearly that playing border politics with the lives of the women and men serving in our National Guard is costly and threatens our readiness to respond to real threats to our national security. My thanks to Secretary Wilson for her candor and commitment to our service members.”

The Air Force report is attached, and concludes that,

"[W]ith the exception of states along the U.S. Southwest Border, if National Guard units are tasked to perform training or operations along the borders it comes at a cost to the individual soldier and airman, his/her family and her/his employers, as well as overall unit readiness.  Such tasking could also potentially impact support to validated Global Force Management Allocation Plan requirements."

Last year, the Senate Armed Services Committee directed the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force to prepare the study, in consultation with the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.