News | May 14, 2019

Enhancing Unit Readiness on the Southwest Border

By Cindie Blair, Juliana T. Bruns, and Scott D. Leuthner Joint Force Quarterly 93

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Lieutenant Colonel Cindie Blair, USMC, is the Staff Judge Advocate for Joint Task Force North. Major Juliana T. Bruns, USAF, is a Tactical Data Link Program Manager at the Defense Information Systems Agency. Major Scott D. Leuthner, USA, is a Special Forces Officer at Special Operations Command–Pacific.

Marines assigned to Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, use excavator to reserve road being constructed near U.S./Mexico border, March 18, 2013 (U.S. Marine Corps/Manuel Estrada)
Marines assigned to Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, use excavator to reserve road being constructed near U.S./Mexico border, March 18, 2013 (U.S. Marine Corps/Manuel Estrada)
Marines assigned to Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, use excavator to reserve road being constructed near U.S./Mexico border, March 18, 2013 (U.S. Marine Corps/Manuel Estrada)
Marines assigned to Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, use excavator to reserve road being constructed near U.S./Mexico border, March 18, 2013 (U.S. Marine Corps/Manuel Estrada)
Marines assigned to Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 272, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, use excavator to reserve road being constructed near U.S./Mexico border, March 18, 2013 (U.S. Marine Corps/Manuel Estrada)
Photo By: Cpl. Manuel Estrada
VIRIN: 190514-D-BD104-021

Good, realistic training can often be illusive. External factors such as urban growth, pollution, competition for frequencies and airspace, and protected habitats continually challenge the Department of Defense (DOD) in carrying out realistic training at installations.1 However, a small Southwestern task force has a unique solution to keep units training like they fight. When planning training for operational units that provide engineering or intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, commanders from all Services should consider supporting counterdrug (CD) missions on the Southwest border through Joint Task Force North (JTF-N) as a readiness enhancer. Supporting JTF-N-funded CD missions with Federal law enforcement agencies (LEAs) enables units to meet many of their wartime mission essential tasks (MET), operate against a thinking and adaptive adversary, and improve interoperability with the joint force and interagency community. Such training also contributes to protecting the homeland by supporting CD/counter–transnational organized crime (CD/CTOC) activities. In many instances, examples of this training opportunity are currently being demonstrated.

Criminal activity along the Southwest border poses a significant national security threat for the United States.2 JTF-N missions combine realistic unit training with the goal of protecting the homeland that benefits units, LEAs, and the Nation. Unit commanders are often unaware that JTF-N pays for their support, or they may underestimate just how much these CD missions enhance deployment readiness by providing training in a real environment similar to overseas contingency operations (OCO) locations.

Mission, Processes, and Authorities

Located at Fort Bliss, Texas, JTF-N is a U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) element that is under the operational control of U.S. Army North3 and has an annual counternarcotics budget of about $8 million.4 As a task force without allocated or apportioned forces and only about 160 assigned personnel, JTF-N relies solely on volunteer units from all Services to complete its missions.5 Each of these missions lasts 60–179 days, but the majority generally span 2 to 4 months.6 Supporting LEAs since 1989, JTF-N’s area of responsibility includes the entire continental United States including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; however, most missions occur along the four Southwest border states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, covering more than 660,000 square miles.7 Its mission is to support LEAs and facilitate DOD training through conducting CD/CTOC operations in order to protect the homeland and increase DOD unit readiness.8

Policy permits JTF-N to support Federal LEAs from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.9 Once an appropriate LEA official requests CD support, JTF-N provides military operational units and a comprehensive intelligence threat assessment for the requested mission.10

JTF-N’s sourcing cell then finds supporting DOD units by attending resource, training, and planning conferences, and reaching out to units deliberately identified as having the organic resources to successfully provide Southwest border support.11 Units with ISR capabilities contribute the primary support for Southwest border missions, which include ground and aerial radar systems, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), foreign intelligence, ground reconnaissance, and other support providing detection and monitoring (D&M).12 Additionally, JTF-N facilitates engineer missions to construct roads, fences, or lighting.13

Once a unit agrees to provide support, JTF-N facilitates funding, transportation, mission planning, and execution between the unit and the supported agency.14 JTF-N also coordinates with the applicable state National Guard CD program coordinator to synchronize all military LEA support across the border.15 While the sourcing cell tries to identify all target units, JTF-N always encourages commanders to contact the cell directly for more information or to volunteer for missions on the Southwest border. Statutory authorities permit DOD units to lawfully support LEA by conducting CD/CTOC missions, and the JTF-N staff obtains all proper approvals.16

Federal statutes and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) policy provide DOD authority and guidance to coordinate DOD support to LEA on the Southwest border.17 JTF-N relies on 10 U.S. Code § 284 and its subsections for most missions, which permit, but are not limited to:

  • transportation support
  • CD-related LEA training
  • detection and monitoring of air, sea, and surface traffic
  • engineering support for building roads, fences, and lighting
  • aerial and ground reconnaissance (including ground sensor platoons [GSP] and tunnel detection)
  • linguist or intelligence analyst support
  • communications and network support.18

All JTF-N missions comply with the Posse Comitatus Act and intelligence oversight rules.19 Not only do these missions provide DOD units with invaluable training opportunities that improve interagency interoperability, but they also assist LEAs in protecting U.S. borders from drug traffickers and transnational organized crime threats.

Training Benefits

Units conducting counterdrug missions derive many benefits from providing CD/CTOC support to LEA. First, in recognition of the U.S. military’s emphasis on realistic training, supporting units conduct missions on the Southwest border in a diverse environment with terrain and climate similar to that in current OCO locations.20 Comparable to the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) theater of operations and parts of Northern Africa, the Southwest border between the United States and Mexico (US/MX) covers almost 2,000 miles with limited visibility, tough mountainous terrain, some major population centers, and large swaths of uninhabited desert, providing a robust training environment for all units.21 The Southwest border’s climate also provides a year-around training opportunity for those hindered by inclement weather at their home station, especially UAS units from the cold and windy U.S. northern states such as Alaska, Washington, and New York.22

Second, units operate against a thinking and adaptive adversary when targeting drug traffickers on the Southwest border. Criminal organizations use the varied terrain and vast desert along the US/MX border to traffic drugs, humans, and weapons; launder money; and conduct other associated illegal activities.23 The Southwest border is the main entry point for all major illicit drugs into the United States.24 Such training provides units conducting D&M and reconnaissance missions the opportunity to use, test, and adjust sensors, optimize tactics, techniques, and procedures, and employ lessons learned in a real-world environment with immediate feedback.25 These lessons provide valuable input for future missions or contingency operations.

When conducting D&M missions, aircrews and operators may monitor, continuously track, and report to LEAs certain targets within 25 miles of the U.S. border.26 These missions rely on trained operators who use sophisticated aircraft sensors in a real-world environment to locate vehicles, ultralight or unmanned aircraft, backpackers, all-terrain vehicles, boats, horses, and any other method traffickers use to transport illegal drugs across the border.27 Some units also use sensors combined with intelligence training to provide LEAs with a pattern analysis through processing, exploitation, and dissemination, identifying named areas of interest where traffickers may create new techniques or routes to move their drugs. In essence, training mirrors, with great accuracy, how these units operate during contingency or stability operations.

For units conducting mounted and dismounted reconnaissance, the challenge of facing a thinking, adaptive adversary is often difficult to replicate outside of OCO areas, yet it is commonplace along the Southwest border.28 One Marine Corps reconnaissance company commander highlighted his appreciation for the JTF-N-funded training, emphasizing the relevance of the terrain and adaptive adversary in his final report.29

In another recent example, an adversary spotter compromised a U.S. Marine Corps GSP while the latter emplaced radio repeaters. When conducting sensor maintenance and repositioning 5 days later, the platoon realized that someone tampered with the wiring to one of the repeaters. Ten days after the compromise, the same platoon noticed a sensor pulled from the ground with a severed wire.30 This real-life adversarial reaction to detection operations affected the mission and evoked a problem-solving response that was better experienced in the JTF-N permissive environment than in a combat situation.

Third, JTF-N missions train units to complete essential wartime tasks. Mission essential tasks are collective tasks evaluated and assessed by commanders at all echelons through bottom-up feedback obtained primarily with training and evaluation outlines.31 From October 2014 to August 2018, 12 air assets supported LEAs through JTF-N by flying 6,944 CD missions.32 During this period, pilots and operators flew 30,000 flying or training hours, enabling units to meet various MET objectives and for aircrews to accumulate crew mission ready hours and conduct formal training instruction.33

Engineer missions provide units with technical construction operations and management training in a complex and challenging environment.34 Engineer support is inclusive from survey and design through final construction and enables units to exercise all operational planning process steps including mobilization, deployment, employment, sustainment, and redeployment.35 Participating units report successfully training on 90 percent or more of their individual and collective MET objectives per mission, averaging a total of 12 units and 429 Servicemembers trained per year.36

Ground tactical units also proficiently train MET objectives tied to functions in the find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, and disseminate (F3EAD) model. Volunteer tactical units, including Marine Corps GSPs and reconnaissance forces and Army scouts, regularly conduct find and fix operations using reconnaissance expertise to locate drug traffickers and transnational organized criminals and provide LEA with geolocation and target description for interdiction purposes.37

Similar to planned combat missions, units submit a thorough concept plan followed by a detailed mission confirmation brief to JTF-N.38 In addition to normal operational planning, the volunteer forces may include other training opportunities directly before or after a CD/CTOC mission, such as a live-fire range that also contributes to MET training.39 The unit’s plan must include details for a medical evacuation, communications, logistical support, contingency battle drills, risk mitigation, and rules for the use of force, among others.40 This detailed planning alone provides training for key related collective tasks prior to deployment. Throughout one ground reconnaissance mission, Marines conducted 21 days of persistent reconnaissance from multiple observation points, enabling them to certify of 3 out of 7 mission essential tasks and 12 out of 37 key collective tasks.41

Besides enabling units to complete wartime essential tasks, JTF-N missions also expand training opportunities. Due to high costs, environmental hurdles, and space limitations on military bases, DOD engineer units rarely have opportunities to perform horizontal construction projects prior to deploying to a contingency or stability operation.42 Units that support LEAs through JTF-N gain invaluable training from construction projects on the Southwest border that include training on rental equipment equivalent to the unit’s own organic assets.43

Additionally, many Army UAS units fail to achieve required annual flight training due to external factors, such as weather or competition with other units to train in the same, limited military airspace.44 JTF-N not only offers additional military airspace for training but also expands the area to make the National Airspace System (NAS) available to all Services’ UAS units.45 Unlike manned aircraft, DOD UAS have not historically operated in the NAS. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must first issue a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to DOD.46 A COA allows DOD UAS to fly precoordinated flight routes from the NAS into DOD special use airspace where, currently, DOD conducts the vast majority of UAS training.47 In fiscal year 2019, JTF-N coordinated over 70,000 square miles of airspace with the FAA for UAS units to conduct training while supporting LEAs along the south Texas border.48 This number will only increase as JTF-N works closely with the FAA to secure even more COAs for military UAS operating in the NAS.49

This benefits UAS units not only because flying in Class A airspace requires instrument flight rule certification (IFR), which the 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, UAS training center in Fort Huachuca is only now training Army UAS operators to support JTF-N missions, but because it also provides a better training area when compared to the smaller, more restricted military airspace.50 While the Air Force already IFR certifies its operators, it still requires a COA from the FAA to fly in the NAS.51 JTF-N continues to coordinate COAs for any LEAs supporting unit, consistently adding more flight corridors for UAS operators around the country.52

DOD and the Services in general further benefit from UAS operators obtaining IFR certification because it provides an advantage when fighting irregular warfare inside a legitimate state or nation’s owned airspace.53 Training at or above flight level 180 (that is, sea level up to flight level 600) in a noncongested airspace with robust terrain allows the military to increase its proficiency and closely aligns UAS operators to their manned counterpart.54 The increased integration of manned and unmanned assets enables greater expansion of UAV applications and utility to further assist in homeland security.55

In addition to benefiting from a new IFR certification, a larger airspace provides UAS operators the opportunity to train in beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. UAS operators conduct BVLOS flights out of their visual range, which enables a drone to cover far greater distances.56 Flying BVLOS operations requires a satellite Ku frequency band.57 Because current training procedures do not require proficiency in BVLOS operations, the Services do not fund units for a Ku satellite frequency.58 However, JTF-N will pay for dedicated Ku satellite frequencies to increase training benefits.59 Funding is yet another perk JTF-N provides to supporting units.

In an era when military components are competing for scarce resources, JTF-N provides much-needed funding to units for training and LEA support on the Southwest border, thereby saving the unit’s own operation and maintenance funds for other purposes. While not permitted to pay for operational tempo items like flight hours, fuel, maintenance, and spare parts, JTF-N can pay for equipment and personnel transportation, lodging, per diem, rental cars, and more.60 In fact, the only costs incurred by volunteer units generally relate to equipment purchases and refit and maintenance of their organic assets. Additionally, the supported LEA provides engineering units with all necessary construction materials, while JTF-N funds the unit’s transportation, travel, per diem, and equipment rental costs.61

Soldier with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, moves concertina wire over stake on practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, December 4, 2018 (U.S. Marine Corps/Asia J. Sorenson)
Soldier with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, moves concertina wire over stake on practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, December 4, 2018 (U.S. Marine Corps/Asia J. Sorenson)
Soldier with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, moves concertina wire over stake on practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, December 4, 2018 (U.S. Marine Corps/Asia J. Sorenson)
Soldier with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, moves concertina wire over stake on practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, December 4, 2018 (U.S. Marine Corps/Asia J. Sorenson)
Soldier with 541st Engineer Company, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, moves concertina wire over stake on practice barricade at Naval Air Facility El Centro in California, December 4, 2018 (U.S. Marine Corps/Asia J. Sorenson)
Photo By: Sgt. Asia Sorenson
VIRIN: 190514-D-BD104-022

Protecting the Homeland Through Interoperability

Counterdrug missions on the Southwest border in support of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) benefit DOD through training and improve interoperability with the interagency community, which aids in protecting the Nation’s borders. This is especially important in light of the recent deployment of 5,200 Title 10 forces to the Southwest border.62 These troops are moving into JTF-N’s area of operation to reinforce the ports of entry and assist CBP officers in securing the border, ensuring officer safety as migrants approach the United States seeking asylum.63 This is the second deployment of military troops to the Southwest border in the past 6 months and the opportunity to coordinate with LEAs through JTF-N missions prior to such a deployment is invaluable.64

Those units conducting D&M or reconnaissance missions on the border report its observations to the interagency community, which assists LEAs in both apprehending and deterring drug traffickers, stopping illegal drugs from entering the United States, and countering other transnational organized crime activities. From October 2014 to August 2018, air D&M support directly contributed to LEA detaining 46 narcotic traffickers and 14,206 undocumented aliens.65 Additionally, DOD support enabled our LEA partners to seize 280,788 pounds of marijuana, 5,271 pounds of cocaine, 2.1 pounds of methamphetamine, and 29.2 pounds of other drugs.66 Joint surveillance and target attack radar system (JSTARS) D&M missions also provide a good example of our interagency support benefiting the Nation. Using a moving target indicator that looks for suspicious movement in named areas of interest, the JSTARS crew coordinates with interagency partners to maximize cross-cueing opportunities with other paired assets to locate drug traffickers.67 In one instance, a JSTARS crew identified three tracks of interest on a mission.68 The crew provided real-time coordination with 11 separate departments across the interagency community.69 LEA and DOD cross-cued the tracks with positive results, culminating in the apprehension of three Dominican Republic nationals, a 25–30-foot boat, 151.6 kilograms of cocaine, and 740.3 grams of heroin.70

Similarly, ground reconnaissance units coordinate with interagency partners and provide benefits by communicating sensor and personal observations to LEAs for drug interdiction purposes.71 Due to the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits Title 10 military personnel from directly participating in police functions on U.S. soil, Active-duty units do not accompany LEAs on interdictions.72 However, ground tactical units directly coordinate with interagency partners who interdict traffickers based on the relevant information DOD provides.73 For example, a U.S. cavalry scout squadron conducting a reconnaissance mission provided actionable information to LEAs that enabled them to interdict 275 pounds of narcotics and apprehend 72 undocumented aliens.74

Engineer projects provide protection to the homeland in a different manner. When completed, these roads provide increased mobility of restrictive terrain, enabling LEAs to decrease response time in interdicting CD/CTOC threats along the Southwest border.75 Currently, in one of the U.S. CBP sectors, volunteer engineer units from all different Services and locations are alternating missions to complete close to 3 miles of all-weather road.76 Upon completion, the road will provide 55 miles of unimpeded lateral movement for this sector, improving CBP’s ability to secure the border.77

Similar engineer projects in the Rio Grande Station contributed to disrupting drug trafficker infiltration routes, denying vegetation concealment, causing a 190 percent increase in apprehensions and a 74 percent increase in turn-backs.78 This project also increased visibility along the Rio Grande River and will reduce CBP’s interdiction response time by 75 percent.79 In the Nogales Station, CBP reported a 90 percent reduction in DTO interdiction time (from 30 minutes to 2 minutes) and an almost 50 percent decrease in the number of individuals who have gotten away in due part to DOD’s completed engineer projects.80

Yuma Sector also reported benefits from JTF-N-sponsored engineer projects. That sector reported a 500 percent increase in detection capability and an increased wide-area response speed from 5 miles per hour to 30, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in interdiction response time thanks to DOD engineers.81 This mutually beneficial relationship can expand and even improve with increased volunteer DOD participation.

Unit personnel from all Services feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when they contribute to protecting the homeland by providing ISR or engineering support to LEAs under statutory authority. Personnel learn to communicate with the interagency community during the planning and execution phases of all missions and provide immediate, mutually reinforcing benefits to their own units and to the agencies with whom they collaborate.

OSD policy requires that all JTF-N missions provide DOD training and readiness opportunities to volunteer units conducting CD missions. This is not only a policy requirement, but also a part of JTF-N’s mission statement and vision. While training benefits are easy to articulate in operational planning documents, JTF-N seeks innovative approaches to increase the scope and variety of training opportunities for the joint force, such as the aforementioned initiative to fly UAS in the NAS. JTF-N sourcing and planning teams are always looking at new ways to integrate forces and missions, layer coverage, and enable interagency and joint force training to units that otherwise may not have such an opportunity. With engineers, UAS, and GSP units raving about the real-world training experience that Southwest border missions present, it is clear that commanders who fail to take advantage of such opportunities are missing a phenomenal money-saving readiness enhancer for their units. JFQ


1 Government Accountability Office (GAO), Military Training: DOD Approach to Managing Encroachment on Training Ranges Still Evolving, GAO-03-621T (Washington, DC: GAO, 2003), available at <>.

2 “National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy,” Office of National Drug Control Policy, May 2016.

3 Joint Task Force North (JTF-N), “Protecting the Homeland,” trifold, October 2017, available at <>.

4 “Joint Task Force North Information Brief,” PowerPoint slides, December 22, 2015, slide 12.

5 Ibid.

6 Matthew Fath, “Information Paper: Sourcing Assistance Request,” February 21, 2018.

7 See “Joint Task Force North—History,” available at <>.

8 Ibid.

9 Paul Wolfowitz, Department Support to Domestic Law Enforcement Agencies (Washington, DC: Department of Defense [DOD], October 2, 2003); JTF-N, “Protecting the Homeland.” While JTF-N can also provide limited support to State, tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies (LEAs), the majority of JTF-N missions support Federal LEAs.

10 Ibid.

11 “Joint Task Force North Proposed Policy Changes,” PowerPoint slides, April 16, 2018, notes on slide 11.

12 Fath, “Information Paper.”

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.; see Joint Task Force North Web site, available at <>; JTF-N, “Protecting the Homeland.”

15 JTF-N, “Protecting the Homeland.”

16 “Section 284, Support to Counterdrug Activities and Activities to Counter Transnational Organized Crime,” Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 10 (2018), available at <>.

17 Ibid.; Wolfowitz, Department Support to Domestic Law Enforcement Agencies.

18 “Section 284, Support to Counterdrug Activities and Activities to Counter Transnational Organized Crime.”

19 Fath, “Information Paper.”

20 U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Enhancing Realistic Training White Paper: Delivering Training Capabilities for Operations in a Complex World (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, January 26, 2016).

21 “National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy”; Rich Witwer, “Joint Task Force North J37—Sourcing Cell Brief,” PowerPoint slides, last updated July 21, 2014, slide 18.

22 This comment is derived from an email sent to our research group from Major Nicholas D. Ryan, USA, JTF-N J35 Aviation Plans officer, on October 19, 2018, with the subject, “Research for Paper.”

23 “National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy.”

24 Ibid.

25 “JTF-N CONPLAN 2-13th UAS UV9983-18 (26JUN17),” JTF-N, 2013, 1–4.

26 “Section 284, Support to Counterdrug Activities and Activities to Counter Transnational Organized Crime.”

27 “JTF-N CONPLAN 2-13th UAS UV9983-18 (26JUN17),” 1–4.

28 Michael Adams, “JTFN DOD Training Capabilities,” video, 1:53, August 5, 2016, available at <>.

29 Toby Moore, “Operation Persistent Vision: Ground Reconnaissance,” PowerPoint slide, May 8, 2018.

30 “Ground Sensor Platoon—Deming, NM: DTO Counter-measures/GSP Disruption of Illicit Traffic,” PowerPoint slide, July 18, 2018.

31 “OBJ-T and Joint Task Force North Information Brief,” PowerPoint slides, October 31, 2018, slides 1 and 12.

32 This information is derived from an email sent to our research group from Guillermo Rovayo, Operational Law Attorney for JTF-N, on October 12, 2018, with the subject “Charts.”

33 Ibid.

34 Witwer, “Joint Task Force North J37—Sourcing Cell Brief,” slide 3.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid.

37 Adams, “JTFN DOD Training Capabilities.”

38 “JTF-N ROS/CONPLAN GS7178-13 (26JUN17),” 1–4; and U.S. Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, “Joint Task Force North Mission Command Brief for Operation Persistent Vision,” PowerPoint slides, March 8, 2018.

39 South Texas Regional Support Team, “4th Ground Sensor Platoon Live-Fire Range,” PowerPoint slide, July 28, 2017.

40 Ibid.

41 Moore, “Operation Persistent Vision.”

42 Jose Cambreros, “JTF-N Mission Brief—Mission Number: ES 10928-18,” PowerPoint slides, June 21, 2018.

43 Witwer, “Joint Task Force North J37—Sourcing Cell Brief.”

44 Ibid.; Ryan, “Research for Paper” email.

45 Moore, “Operation Persistent Vision;” Ryan, “Research for Paper” email.

46 “Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): DOD Purpose and Operational Use,” available at <>.

47 Ibid.

48 Ryan, “Research for Paper” email. Typical military restricted airspace training blocks are less than 10,000 square miles of airspace.

49 Ibid. National Air Space is also referred to as Class A airspace.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 Ryan, “Research for Paper” email.

53 Therese Jones, International Commercial Drone Regulation and Drone Delivery Services (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2017), available at <>.

54 This information is derived from an email sent to our research group from CW4 Adam Morton, Battalion Standardization officer for 2-13th Aviation Regiment, on October 3, 2018, with the subject “Air Info.”

55 Andrew Lacher et al., “Airspace Integration Alternatives for Unmanned Aircraft,” presentation by the MITRE Corporation, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, February 1, 2010, available at <>.

56 Allison Ferguson, “Opening the Skies to Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Operations,” PrecisionHawk, 2018, available at <>.

57 Ryan, “Research for Paper” email.

58 This information is derived from an email sent to our research group from CW4 Adam Morton, Battalion Standardization Officer for 2-13th Aviation Regiment, on October 23, 2018, with the subject, “Questions.”

59 Ibid.

60 GAO, DOD Counterdrug Activities: Reported Costs do not Reflect Extent of DOD’s Support, GAO/NSIAD-98-231 (Washington, DC: GAO, 1998), 3, 10, available at <>. Operating and support costs are not included in DOD’s counterdrug budget because they pertain to the existing force structure that supports the national defense mission and would be incurred regardless of the type of operation conducted. “As such, they are not true counterdrug costs,” according to the DOD Coordinator for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support; and Management Controls Over National Drug Control Program Funds Managed through the DOD Central Transfer Account, DOD Inspector General Audit Report No. D-2000-145 (Arlington, VA: DOD Office of Inspector General, 2000), 10–11, available at <>; GAO, DOD Counterdrug Activities, 2–3.

61 Adams, “JTFN DOD Training Capabilities.”

62 Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, “Pentagon to Send 5,000 Troops to Border as Migrants Inch Closer,” CNN, available at <>.

63 Ibid.

64 John L. Mone and Paul J. Weber, “Operation Guardian Shield on U.S.-Mexican Border,” FOX26, available at <>; however, this previous deployment involved Title 32 forces, not Title 10.

65 Rovayo, “Charts.”

66 Ibid.

67 Joint Task Force North Information Brief,” PowerPoint slides, December 26, 2017, slide 1.

68 Ibid.

69 Ibid.

70 Ibid.

71 South Texas Regional Support Team, “JTF-North Support to CD/CTOC—USMC Ground Sensor Operations,” PowerPoint slide, January 16, 2018.

72 Fath, “Information Paper.”

73 U.S. Army, 6-1 Calvary, “Coyote Over Watch,” PowerPoint slides, 2016, slides 1–2.

74 Ibid., slide 1.

75 Witwer, “Joint Task Force North J37—Sourcing Cell Brief,” slide 3.

76 Rich Witwer, “Joint Task Force North Readiness Generation Brief,” PowerPoint slides, January 20, 2017, slide 7.

77 Ibid.

78 Witwer, “Joint Task Force North J37—Sourcing Cell Brief,” slide 3. Turn-backs describe when people who are about to illegally cross the border into the United States return to Mexico after seeing Customs and Border Patrol respond to the area.

79 Ibid., slide 3.

80 Ibid.

81 Ibid.