Operation Jump Start
Operation Jump Start was a military operation to aid U.S. Customs and Border Protection, announced by President George W. Bush in May 2006. The mission entailed the deployment of United States National Guard troops along the Mexico–United States border for purposes of enforcement of border security and construction of a border fence. The rules of deployment were defined in a memorandum of agreement between officials in the Department of Defense and the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas as well as Mexico.
|Location||United States-Mexico Border|
|Participants||United States National Guard|
|Outcome||Successful operation (See below)|
National Guard members involved in the operation were not involved in law enforcement activities due to the political and moral aspect of using troops on the U.S./Mexico border. They were supporting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Border Patrol agencies with administrative, observational and intelligence gathering capacities, and civil engineering projects. By temporarily taking over these functions from the USC&BP, they freed up sworn agents to field units.
Military operations with Operation Jump Start were primarily to observe and report. The rules of engagement for the operation was very restrictive and only allowed escalation to lethality when met with an equal amount of force from another. The National Guard set up entry identification team sites to spot undocumented aliens. Many of the areas of operation were in desolate locations; some locations were so remote that troops were sometimes flown in by UH-60 helicopter.
This section possibly contains original research. (November 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The National Guard was armed with the M-16/A2 or M-4 lightweight, air-cooled, gas powered, assault rifle and an option to carry an M-9 pistol. Some locations were equipped with forward looking infrared systems or the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System. The other main purpose of the National Guard presence was the creation of the border fence.
Communications for Operation Jump Start was by VHF repeated radio similar to that of law enforcement agencies. Due to the lack of repeater towers and secure lines of communication the VHF radios were supplemented by long haul satellite radio. The radio equipment (mobile, land mobile radio, and Quantar repeaters were switched to an all digital with over the air rekeying and encryption) was updated from 2007–2008 for extended reach-back capability.[original research?] The repeater tower team (part of Task-Force Diamondback) was a specialized group of National Guard members who had to undergo training and certifications in tower climbing, combat life saving, and welding. Some of the towers were remote enough that the crew and equipment had to be flown in UH-60 helicopters.[original research?]
On 15 July 2008, Operation Jump Start came to an end. At its peak there were as many as 6,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen on the mission with more than 29,000 from every state and territory. During the operation:
- more than 176,000 illegal aliens were apprehended
- more than 1,100 vehicles seized
- more than 321,000 pounds (146,000 kg) of marijuana and cocaine were seized
- more than 28,000 hours of flight time were logged by National Guard pilots
- more than 19 miles (31 km) of road, 38 miles (61 km) of fencing and 96 miles (154 km) of vehicle barriers were built
- close to 720 miles (1,160 km) of road repaired.
The total cost was close to 1.2 billion dollars.
In 2008, the Armed Forces Service Medal was authorized for National Guard forces deployed to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to assist the Department of Homeland Security with securing the southwest U.S. border.
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