"We are committed to supporting DHS and CBP in securing our border..."

—Gen. Glen D. VanHerck





DoD Support to U.S. Border Security

U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is supporting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its operational component, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), by providing mission-enhancing capabilities to secure the border and stop the flow of human trafficking, illegal drugs, contraband, criminals, and illegal immigrants into the country. USNORTHCOM’s mission-enhancing support enables CBP to conduct their law enforcement mission more efficiently and to support DHS efforts to manage border security and immigration processes.



Securing Borders

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a long history of supporting efforts to secure U.S. borders. Since the early 1990s, DoD has supported civilian law enforcement agencies’ border security activities including counterdrug, counter transnational organized crime, and other transnational threats. The scope and magnitude of the support provided today is similar to the support provided during the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations.

Military personnel do not directly participate in civilian law enforcement activities. The duties performed by military personnel include detection and monitoring, logistics, and transportation support that enhances CBP’s ability to impede or deny illegal crossings, maintain situational awareness, and apply the appropriate law enforcement response in support of its overall border security mission.

Up to 4,000 service members, primarily sourced from the National Guard, are authorized to support the CBP’s border security mission along the southwest border, including personnel supporting in place from their home stations. The number of forces fluctuates as units rotate in and out of the operation.

Border Operations

Operational Support

Service members providing motor transport operations support increase vehicle readiness rates. Military personnel dispatch vehicles, track preventative maintenance checks and services, and conduct light maintenance such as oil changes, tire changes, and battery replacements on CBP vehicles. DoD personnel may also operate heavy equipment such as forklifts, bulldozers, graders and front-end loaders to support sector/station loading and unloading of palletized shipments and infrastructure duties.

Detection and Monitoring Support

Service members supporting the CBP’s detection and monitoring mission man and operate mobile surveillance camera (MSC) vehicles at strategically placed sites to observe and report suspicious activity to CBP. MSC operators are working in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas along known corridors used by individuals illegally entering the United States. Military members are only utilized to detect and monitor movement of individuals suspected of preparing to enter the United States, or those who have already entered the United States without proper authority.

Crisis Response Force (CRF) Support

Service members supporting the CRF are capable of providing force protection, medical, aviation and engineering support anywhere along the border on short notice. The CRF is made up of an aviation unit, a military police unit, engineer unit, inherent medical capabilities, and associated support personnel for these units. The CRF is activated upon CBP request.

Air Support

DoD aviation support missions include tracking foot traffic signs, pickup/drop off of CBP agents in remote areas, monitoring for illicit activity, casualty evacuation, sling load capability, and transport of equipment as needed.

USNORTHCOM works closely with DHS and CBP to constantly assess support to CBP to ensure DoD has the right force, at the right time, in the right location to support CBP’s operational needs.

Border Security News

June 25, 2019

Soldiers rescue two migrants from waters on U.S. border

Two U.S. Army Soldiers rescued two migrants from canal waters on the U.S. border in El Paso, TX, June 20. The two Soldiers were part of a Mobile Surveillance Team assisting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest border, saw a migrant family enter the canal.

Nov. 1, 2018

DoD units supporting DHS along Southwest Border

The Department of Homeland Security has requested the Department of Defense to provide a range of assistance, including planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Aug. 26, 2016

Southwest Border Region Visit

Gen. Lori Robinson, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander, was briefed on and toured the Southwest Border Region during a visit to San Diego, Calif., Aug. 24, 2016.

Border Security Photos

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Border Security Video

Video by Spc. Christina Westover
CPB and DoD Active Duty Forces Media Day
DoD Support to CBP Along the SWB
June 6, 2019 | 7:43
Brig. Gen. Walter Duzzny, the Deputy Commanding General of United States Army North, speaks about the troops stationed along the southern border during a press conference in Sunland Park, New Mexico on June 6, 2019. The Department of Defense has deployed units across the Southwest Border at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is providing surveillance and detection, logistical, engineering, and force protection functions.

Video By:
Spc. William Dickinson
24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element
Fort Bliss, TX 79918