Intrepid independent researcher NameRedacted was suspended multiple times on Twitter for what amounts to hurting the feelings of leftists and challenging their blatant lies. In his last incarnation as “Harold Finch,” he was subsequently suspended and has since moved to Telegram where he runs a repository consisting of important factoids, links, and personal commentary. He can be found here.
In that capacity, he posts important threads from time to time that deserve a wider audience. In this instance, he provides us with a detailed tutorial on what must be done to secure the US-Mexico border.
On 6 Nov, Tucker Carlson had a very interesting segment on border security and counter drug operations. His guest for the four-minute segment was Col Doug MacGregor, USA (ret’d). MacGregor is a highly decorated, and well-respected soldier. Among his many exploits was as commander of the Bradleys involved in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s famous ‘Battle of 73 Eastings’ during the first Persian Gulf War. The segment with Colonel Douglas MacGregor can be found here.
In the Battle of 73 Eastings, Eagle Troop, a company strength unit from 3rd ACR, crested a ridge as they advanced and ran directly into an armored Brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guards Tawakalna division. In 23 minutes, then Col H.R. McMaster and Major Doug MacGregor’s force of 9 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks and 12 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks, 16 armored personnel carriers and 30 trucks in 23 minutes with no American losses.
Col MacGregor (retired) is an expert on Infantry and Mechanized warfare and is a highly-decorated Army officer, and his complete biography can be found here.
In his segment on the Tucker Carlson show, Col MacGregor makes some very interesting points that most of the general public is not aware of. Doug makes the point that the cartels in Mexico have always had the ability to commit atrocities, but why NOW?? What has changed? In his discussion with Tucker, he asked a very, VERY pertinent question: who is working with the cartels that stands to benefit from starting a war between the US military and the drug cartels that spills over onto American soil?
Col MacGregor points out that Russia, China and Iran stand to gain a LOT from starting such a war; a war that would tie up huge mounds of resources for the US military, have a dramatic impact on our economy, and possibly shift the political outlook for President Trump against him.
We saw recently that El Chapo Guzman’s sons have taken over the family business and their cartel by itself wields more power now than the Mexican government. Make no mistake, Mexico is a third-world failed state on the US border. The paramilitary forces the cartels can muster rivals that of a more sophisticated nation state. It is a fact that the cartels have virtually an unlimited budget to pay paramilitary mercenaries and to buy military equipment, from small arms like M240 belt fed Squad Automatic Weapons, to heavier arms like M2 50-caliber heavy machine guns mounted on makeshift armored fighting vehicles, to sophisticated Russian and Chinese made Man Portable Air Defense Missiles, known as MANPADS similar to the US Stinger missile. An excellent article discussing the power and flexibility of the cartels and the inability of the Mexican government to deal with the effectively was written by Joseph Trevithick at the War Zone and is linked here.
This threat is real and it is imminent. The cartels are not simply organized crime syndicates peddling illicit wares and engaging in vice. They are much more accurately described as Narco-Terrorist Organizations capable of full-scale terrorist attacks, as well as paramilitary insurgency and direct attacks against soft and hard targets within the United States. For a look at what the Narco-Terrorist Organizations are capable of, check out what they did in Culiacan, the capital of Mexico’s Sinaloa state.
Col MacGregor makes the case that no action against these cartels is possible until we seal the border and provide REAL AND MEANINGFUL security on the border. That doesn’t mean reinforcing the US Border Patrol, or even supplementing them with noncombatant military forces. It doesn’t mean simply building a wall and calling it good. Those things help, but they are not in themselves the answer.
Col MacGregor makes the point that you need combat troops deployed with Rules of Engagement that permit combat actions against the paramilitary forces of the cartels, and in sufficient numbers to hold ground and conduct real security operations. Security operations mean patrolling, raids, building outposts and listening posts. It means having enough forces deployed in the field to not only deter, but to overmatch and defeat the kind of forces you saw in the video I shared of the Sinaloa Cartel acting in Culiacan.
Imagine that same scenario playing out in downtown Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, or McAllen, TX. You must have enough forces and of sufficient combat power to overmatch those paramilitaries of the Narco-Terrorist Orgs.
It’s important to understand that the cartels use the philosophy of getting people to either look the other way, or help them by offering them ‘the gold or the lead’ meaning take the bribe or take a bullet. This is serious problem on both sides of the border, and a military force would need to work in this environment.
Col MacGregor makes the case you would need 40-50 thousand combat troops secure the border. I think that number is high. The Corp of Engineers is building the wall at a phenomenal pace, and the funding was already secured. The wall WILL be built by 2020. That physical barrier will make the job the Cartels and their paramilitary forces much harder. Access will be restricted to a much smaller number of points to cross the border, and some of them are tunnels. This would cut down on the number of troops required. The other factor at play here is the size of the US military, its current obligations, and the ability to deploy these troops at any length of time.
Currently, I do not believe we have the ability to field what amounts to three US army mechanized infantry divisions. The fact is, the US Army isn’t the same Leviathan it was in 1991; it is now much smaller. At the time of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the US Army was 21 full-strength, fully-staffed and fully-equipped divisions, some Infantry, some mechanized Infantry, and some armored divisions, as well as armored cavalry regiments which were overstaffed with infantry, armor and mechanized equipment making them essentially ‘short’ divisions that were high on mobility and firepower. This army was meant to meet the Soviet Army in the Fulda Gap in Germany in the mother of all conventional battles. Those days are gone, and the US Army is a fraction of what it was in ’91. The idea of deploying 3 of the 10 US Army divisions to the border indefinitely is simply not feasible. A more realistic plan follows on Col MacGregor’s ideas, but in a scaled down way.
The colonel is right: of paramount importance is completion of the Wall. PHYSICAL ACCESS MUST BE CUT OFF. The Wall accomplishes this. It turns open, unmonitored, unpatrolled land into land that is ‘access denied’. It takes much of the border out of play for the cartels. This means instead of having to garrison troops in these areas, patrolling and observation is sufficient to secure these areas. And you don’t really even need people to be there to do this.
Everyone knows what Area 51 is. Everyone knows Area 51 is famous for denying entry to anyone from the sightseers to the determined spies looking to steal American aerospace secrets. A HUGE Key to accomplishing this security is remote sensors. Surrounding Area 51 are thermal/infrared sensors that can detect and identify humans, sensors that can smell the ammonia from perspiration in people and identify them separately from animals, as well as night vision and optical cameras for monitoring large areas of land. The Wall, coupled with these remote sensors can secure vast amounts of area through access denial and persistent real time surveillance and observation. These sensors can be used to alert forces when a response is needed.
But what else can we deploy? What does a realistic presence on the US border behind the Wall look like? For starters, it’s an organic Infantry force made up of combat soldiers and their supporting units. Two units in particular are extremely well suited to this mission: the US Army 10th Mountain Division who excel at hilly rough terrain and as light infantry formations, they lack heavy armor like Abrams Main Battle Tanks. They are easily deployed via trucks, HMMWV’s, Blackhawk and Chinook Helicopters and these Light Infantry Divisions have these Aviation and mobility assets organic to their formations. They bring their own support.
These units are tailor made for patrolling, fighting and winning in places like the border, and in rapid response to areas of crisis. Another unit in this category is the 25th Light Infantry Division. These units number near 12,000 men, and rotation a brigade each with aviation and motor pool assets would be an enormous boost to border security combined with a completed wall. Brigade strength would be several thousand combat troops and their support elements. This is a significant security force in its own right. These units would need Rules of Engagement sufficient to defend themselves and to conduct offensive operations against cartels along the border as well.
Another force that can be added to the light infantry divisions’ infantry brigades, the US Army could also deploy mechanized infantry units. These differ quite a bit from light infantry. Mechanized infantry are meant to travel with armored forces and fight as a combined arms team, and bring armored fighting vehicles like the Bradley with its armor, ability to carry an entire squad of infantry, and its 25mm light cannon and anti-armor guided missiles.
A brigade of mechanized infantry from the 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions would not deplete or tie up the entire division but would provide massive firepower more than capable of dealing with the heavy weaponry of the cartels. In addition to the mechanized/armor equipment they would provide, they also bring to the fight more aviation assets in the form of rotary wing assets like Blackhawks and Apache attack helicopters.
These units could further be supplemented by other force multipliers. Every infantry unit has organic to sniper teams which are directly assigned to and report to the Battalion S-3 (intelligence section). They are tailor made for persistent surveillance operations in a covert manner, and intelligence gathering operations as well as interdiction operations.
These forces sound great but this is a large force spread over vast areas, responding to multiple points monitored by a massive field of widely diverse sensors. This means you need a higher headquarters unit stationed somewhere to truly take command and coordinate these operations and units effectively. A Headquarters unit from one of the mechanized infantry divisions like the 1st Infantry or 3rd Infantry would be needed.
Placement is KEY here. Arizona and Texas are the front line in the border war, and they provide the answers to this. A unified command under a headquarters unit at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, would be ideal. It is home to one of the largest NSA listening posts in the world, and is the home of US Army Intelligence command. It is the ideal location to coordinate US Army, US Border Patrol, DEA, FBI, NSA, and CIA efforts to protect the border, like one giant fusion center provided highly advanced C4I capability to the force. Secondary command posts in places like Fort Hood, Texas, would also be highly advantageous. There are other sites that would also need to be utilized.
To sum up, many have called for actions against the cartels in the wake of the murder of 9 unarmed American women and children. Several of them, myself included, have called for using JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), better known as USSOCOM, to actively target and destroy the Narco-Terrorist organizations. I do not back away from this, and I believe this is the ultimate answer. It is not without precedent. In his book ‘Killing Pablo’, Mark Bowden lays out in great detail how the shadowy Intelligence Support Activity and a fusion unit of the US intelligence community codenamed ‘Centra Spike’ actively tracked and ultimately killed Pablo Escobar, the first violent Narco-Terrorist whom the Mexican cartels model their operations on.
Something similar could be done with respect to the Cartels in mexico. The operations against Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi, and Al-Baghdadi bear this out. Ultimately, I believe this is the answer to the problem. Mexico is a failed state, too corrupt, too overrun to effectively deal with the cartels.
US intervention will be necessary in the future, as the Narco-Terrorist organizations present a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. But Colonel MacGregor is right: we need to get serious about truly securing our border before any covert or overt actions to dismantle the cartels can be attempted.
Thanks for taking time to read my thoughts on border security and counter-narcotics operations. For further information on the Battle of 73 Eastings, please look here.
No doubt that the only way to take on the cartels is to shut the border because the cartels have got assets in place in the US that would be used in the event of any serious US moves against cartel strongholds in Mexico. The border needs to be shut and cartel assets in the US neutralized in an organized campaign – assuming we ever have the political will to get the job done. And that means neutralizing the US politicians who are in the pockets of the cartels, too. It won’t get done if we keep electing Democrats and Uniparty Republicans to Congress. Vote wisely in 2020!