Thursday, January 17, 2013



Note: Have to question idea that it is not a military role to
protect a nation's borders. If not the military, who? Law
enforcement not really suited for the job. Especially when an actual
war on the other side. Throughout history it would appear protecting
a nation is the primary role of a military.

Potential Confirmation Clash In Hagel's Split Over Use Of National
Guard In Border Security
By: Mickey McCarter
01/08/2013 ( 8:00am)

President Barack Obama Monday nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-
Neb.) as the next secretary of defense, prompting a tough Senate
confirmation hearing where many Republicans are likely to disagree
with Hagel on a number of issues, including border security.

"Chuck Hagel's leadership of our military would be historic. He'd be
the first person of enlisted rank to serve as secretary of defense,
one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the
first Vietnam veteran to lead the department," Obama said in remarks
introducing his nomination of Hagel Monday. "As I saw during our
visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops
see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength. They see
one of their own."

Obama later added, "Chuck represents the bipartisan tradition that we
need more of in Washington. For his independence and commitment to
consensus, he's earned the respect of national security and military
leaders, Republicans and Democrats -- including me. In the Senate, I
came to admire his courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak
his mind -- even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied the
conventional wisdom."

"And that's exactly the spirit I want on my national security team --
a recognition that when it comes to the defense of our country, we
are not Democrats or Republicans; we are Americans," Obama said.
"Each of us has a responsibility, Chuck has said, to be guided not by
the interest of our party or our president even, but by 'the
interests of our country."

Reaction to Hagel's nomination was mixed in the Senate Armed Services
Committee, where Democrats generally supported him and Republicans
generally questioned his nomination. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.),
committee chairman, signaled his support in a statement Monday.

"Senator Hagel is well qualified to serve as secretary of defense
with his broad experience in national security affairs. He was a
decorated soldier and an effective member of the Senate, and he is a
strong advocate for the men and women of our military. The Armed
Services Committee will give prompt and careful consideration to
Senator Hagel's nomination for this critical position," Levin said.

But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member of the committee,
diplomatically suggested differences of opinion with Hagel could make
his confirmation tough.

"Chuck Hagel served our nation with honor in Vietnam and I
congratulate him on this nomination. I have serious concerns about
positions Senator Hagel has taken on a range of critical national
security issues in recent years, which we will fully consider in the
course of his confirmation process before the Senate Armed Services
Committee," McCain said Monday.

One area where the two definitely disagree is on the use of National
Guard troops to support the US Border Patrol in bolstering border
security. Guardsmen currently augment Border Patrol agents under
Operation Nimbus, currently extended through Dec. 31. Under Nimbus,
the National Guard provides air surveillance and communications
support to Border Patrol, reporting any illegal activity it may spot.

When President George W. Bush first proposed sending the National
Guard to the Southwest border under Operation Jump Start in 2006,
Hagel, then in the Senate, initially opposed the plan.

"That's not the role of our military. That's not the role of our
National Guard," Hagel said on ABC's This Week on May 14, 2006.
"Let's approach this in a long-term way where we fix the problem.
That's a short-term fix and I'm not sure it's a very wise fix."

Hagel endorsed Bush's plan at the time to add 6,000 more Border
Patrol agents to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but he did
not like the idea of sending 6,000 troops to the border while
National Guard members and equipment were deployed in Iraq.

"We have stretched our military as thin as we have ever seen it in
modern times. What in the world are we talking about here, sending a
National Guard that we may not have any capacity to send down to
protect our borders. That's not their role. I'll listen to the
president but I have a lot of questions about this. I'm skeptical,"
Hagel said.

By contrast, McCain, along with many other members of the Senate,
have supported a limited role for National Guard troops at the
Southwest border in support of civil authorities. He has called for
larger deployments of troops along the international borders of
Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas but he has expressed
satisfaction with the smaller numbers authorized in the Obama

It's sure to be a sore spot as McCain continues to sound the alarm
about the harm drug smuggling and human trafficking have done to his
state, as the area around Tucson remains a flashpoint for illegal
border activity.

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