National Guard mission at US-Mexico border has ‘no military training value,’ chief warns

The outgoing chief of the National Guard warned that deploying troops to the southern border has “no military training value” and could possibly hurt military readiness.

Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, testified before a Senate Appropriations budget defense subcommittee hearing Tuesday. He said there are about 2,500 National Guardsmen at the southern border serving under the U.S. Northern Command as he criticized stationing the troops there.

“As I’ve expressed within the building as well, there is no military training value for what we do. This is a law enforcement mission under the Department of Homeland Security,” he said.

Both the Biden and Trump administrations had authorized National Guard troops to assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in securing the border. Hokanson’s testimony comes as President Biden has taken action in recent weeks to curtail the number of migrants entering the U.S.

Biden has also taken heat on both sides of the aisle for his executive action on the border. Committee Chair Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who pressed Hokanson about the current deployment of National Guard troops to the southern border, said “things have gotten worse over the administration’s failed border policies.”

Hokanson said the National Guard troops at the border are not participating in training directly applicable to their skills.

“I know that we’re providing additional support along there. But for our guardsmen there, they might as well be deployed to Kuwait or somewhere overseas, because they’re away from their families,” Hokanson said.

“They’re there doing mission sets that are not directly applicable to their military skill set. And so, it increases their personal operational tempo. And that time I think would be better utilized building readiness to deter our adversaries,” he added.

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