Sunday, October 28, 2012



Note: marijuana growing ops not just in CA.

California National Guard Explores New Ways To Combat Drug Cartels
By: Mickey McCarter
10/25/2012 ( 8:00am)

Drug cartels targeting California have begun taking new approaches to
circumventing law enforcement and military forces.

No longer do they merely try to move drugs across the border with
Mexico, they also attempt to sail them along the coast and they
operate marijuana farms in the heavily forested areas of northern

Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, the adjutant general of the California
National Guard, has found that his state must adopt new procedures to
battle transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that have changed
their plans in reaction to law enforcement and military efforts.

The threat posed by the drug cartels is often greater in northern
California than it is in southern California, Baldwin said Wednesday,
speaking on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of the
United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, DC.

"When we deploy soldiers and airmen down on the border, we generally
arm them with sidearms. When we send them up into the forests in
northern California, they take long rifles and carbines because the
threat is that great," Baldwin stated.

Smugglers also have shifted to transporting drugs by sea, moving them
via boats. The National Guard reacted by watching the coasts with
observation posts. But as the National Guard ramped up observation in
the southern part of the state in areas like San Diego County and Los
Angeles County, the TCOs reacted by sailing further out to sea and
coming ashore further in the north to evade detection.

The California Army Guard and Air Guard plan to use more aerial
surveillance to track those shipments, Baldwin said. They would like
to bring unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the mix as well, but they
have been waiting for procedures and approvals to fly them from the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"If we can break the code with the FAA, we can begin flying those
systems and keep in effect an unblinking eye over the coast to start
picking up these boats and picking up these threats," Baldwin remarked.

Baldwin has been encouraged by the progress to clearing UASes for
flight so far as the National Guard continues to work through the
issues alongside US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

When assisting CBP, the National Guard has surge capability to
respond to national priorities. At one point during Operation
Phalanx, 1,200 guardsmen were stationed along California's border
alone to provide support to CBP's border security efforts. Now about
1,200 total guardsmen serve across the entire southwest border to
assist Border Patrol

The versatility in Army Guard and Air Guard forces also enables
Baldwin to deploy units who go for training into actual operations.

"We are able to call up discrete units to support discrete mission
sets in named operations whether in the northern forests or along the
border where we bring in tactical units during their two-week
training period," Baldwin commented.

The National Guard plans to expand its support to border security
missions, particularly with geospatial information systems (GIS). The
Border Patrol sector chief in the Big Ben Sector of Texas has been
operating a GIS pilot to track smuggling trends thereby seeing where
Border Patrol gets the most hits and where it allocates its
resources. Using that information, Border Patrol can engage in
predictive analysis to stay ahead of the bad guys, Baldwin described.

The National Guard has a lot of GIS expertise and plans to support
Border Patrol in spreading that pilot to other sectors, he added.

The National Guard also is participating in a project with Naval
Special Operations Command to build a Global Information Network
Architecture (GINA), which would map out the communications of TCOs.
GINA would depict network diagrams of communications as 3-D pictures
detailing time and space. Again, agents can then engage in predictive
analysis to project where and when TCOs will communicate and use that
information to break them up, Baldwin said.

In addition, the National Guard has been using its Sentinel radar
systems to assist Border Patrol along US borders. The systems have
been particularly good at picking up ultralight aircraft, which TCOs
have been using to fly low and light, moving drugs into the United
States without alerting traditional air defenses.

Baldwin also emphasized the effectiveness of addressing drug demand
through National Guard drug demand reduction teams. California has
about 250 guardsmen dedicated to the mission, where they go into
their communities and teach kids to stay away from drugs to reduce

The Defense Department proposed cutting funding for California's drug
demand reduction teams by 50 percent in the future, but Baldwin
expressed confidence that Congress actually would increase funding
for the teams.

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