Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Border Security Should No Longer Be A Law Enforcement Issue

We are at war. It's time to quit denying that. We not only need to acknowledge that we're at war, we need to start acting like it.

We're at war with a shadow enemy that accepts no national boundaries, refuses to even consider other nation's laws, and who recognize no restrictions on their behavior. They come from more than 40 countries, they include many who are wealthy, and they accept the challenge of even dying for their cause.

Keeping them out of the United States is not a law enforcement problem, but a military responsibility. It's time the military took over guarding our borders - all of them.

That would require an increase in the size of the Army of about 15 brigades of 5000 men each. There's lots of good news. Such an increase would provide greater relief for those going to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. It would provide a chance for soldiers to recover from wounds, both mental and physical, in a less stressful environment. It would stop 90% of the illegal aliens, and a significant portion of the drug trafficing. The bad news is that it will cost, and cost plenty! The other piece of bad news is that it will require a LOT of new laws, all of which will be fiercely opposed by the left.

The US southern border is the hot-spot at the moment. The border extends approximately 2200 miles from Brownsville, Texas, to south of San Diego, California. Much of it is desolate, empty terrain. Some of it could hide an army in a square mile of territory. It's not going to be easy - or cheap - to close. In some areas, a border observation point every half-mile would be sufficient. In other areas, observation points may have to be as close as 100 yards from one another in order to support one another and close the territory between them.

Even with one border post every half-mile, we'd need 4401 such posts. We'd need approximately 10 men per post, plus a reserve force of about 25% to service, support, and augment a group of from three to seven posts. A cadre to man 4,401 posts with ten men each would require 44,010 men. A 25% reserve would require an additional 11,000 or so troops. Add another 15,000 troops to provide transportation, maintenance, personnel, finance, administration, and overall command and control. That means it will take 70,000 troops to fully close our southern border.

That would require almost every single one of our 15 new brigades (5000x15=75,000). It costs the government about $45,000 a year per soldier, including pay and allowances, quarters and rations, training, medical and dental, and miscellaneous overhead (this is an average for all ranks, not just for the lower ranks, or just enlisted, etc.). The troop cost alone to close the southern border would be $3,150,000,000 - over $3BILLION dollars. Each of those 4400 border stations would cost around $350,000 to build, and an additional $15,000 a year to maintain. Construction costs come to $1.5 billion, and maintenance costs come to $66 million a year.

There are a few ways to cut corners and reduce both the initial cost and the maintenance costs, but it's still going to be expensive. Once we close the southern border, too, our enemy will simply move to the north, using a compliant Canadian government as a transit stop, and enter the United States from the north, where the border is significantly longer, and in some instances, more difficult to patrol (consider the Great Lakes, the Canadian/US Rocky Mountains, and the extensive border in underinhabited Maine and the adjacent Canadian territories).

The United States has two choices: it can get serious about protecting the borders of the United States, or it can leave itself open to chemical, biological, unconventional, and possibly nuclear attack. How much did 9/11 cost? I'm sure the estimates I heard - over $11 Billion - were not correct. Yet a "dirty" bomb in the Chicago Loop, a threat to the Los Angeles water supply, or a chemical or biological weapon in one of our other major cities, could cost us plenty. Right now we're gambling, hoping that we catch those that would try to do that kind of damage to this nation. I think it's time to seriously lower the odds against us, and militarize our borders.


Blogger Unknown said...

Great information regarding border security.

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8:10 PM  

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