Soldiers conduct training and provide border surveillance support

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | March 11, 2005

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, recently concluded a joint training mission in southern New Mexico that allowed them to train in rugged desert terrain and provide surveillance support for agents of Customs and Border Protection.
Photo by Armando Carrasco

Southern New Mexico ---Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, are concluding a 60-day joint training mission in southern New Mexico that allowed them to train in rugged desert terrain and provide surveillance support for agents of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The 60-day training mission was conducted in the “boot heel” area of southern Luna and Hidalgo Counties of New Mexico. The joint effort with the military was part of an ongoing request by the CBP/Department Homeland Security, to provide surveillance support in a designated geographic area. The soldiers have provided surveillance and other support for law enforcement entities since the late 1980’s.

This latest support mission for the El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol was coordinated by Joint Task Force North (JTF North), based at Biggs Army Air Field, Fort Bliss, Texas. JTF North, an element of U.S. Northern Command, coordinates and manages military homeland security support provided to the nation’s federal law enforcement agencies for the interdiction of suspected transnational threats within and along the approaches to the Continental United States. U.S. Northern Command is the combatant command established in 2002 to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support to civil authorities.

Transnational threats are those activities conducted by individuals or groups that involve international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, weapons of mass destruction, and the delivery systems for such weapons that threatens the national security of the United States. Since its inception in 1989, JTF North, formerly known as Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6), has executed over 5,800 missions in direct support of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

“The soldiers performing this mission are part of the U.S. Army’s recently established ‘Stryker’ brigade combat teams. They employ their state of the art surveillance equipment in an effort to assist the U.S Border Patrol in their mission to secure our borders,” said Brig. Gen Jose D. Riojas, JTF North commanding general.

The military units and personnel that volunteer to execute these vital homeland security missions gain tremendous training opportunities that are directly related to their wartime duties.

The unit conducts concurrent military training at Fort Bliss throughout their deployment. Elements of the units conduct movement between the Fort Bliss training areas and the surrounding border area where they will perform their surveillance support operations.

The military personnel who perform Homeland Security support missions within the Continental United States operate strictly in a support role to the Primary Federal Agency. Federal law prohibits the use of active duty and reserve military personnel in a direct law enforcement capacity.

The support mission that was executed in support of the El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol is only one example of the many types of homeland security operations that JTF North conducts throughout the nation. Other forms of support include: Aviation Support Operations, Air Surveillance Radar, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Ground Sensor Operations, Air and Ground Transportation, Road Construction, Perimeter Lighting, Fence Construction, Vehicle Barrier Construction, Training, and Intelligence Support.

JTF North routinely provides support to the El Paso Sector and the other U.S. Border Patrol sectors along both the southern and northern borders of the United States.

For additional information on JTF North, contact the JTF North Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Armando Carrasco, at (915) 568-8789 or visit the JTF North website at: www.jtfn.northcom.mil.

For additional information on the U.S. Border Patrol, El Paso Sector, contact the sector Public Information Officer, Mr. Doug Mosier, at (915) 834-8311.