A Pentagon memo sent to California National Guard leaders this week and obtained by The Associated Press indicates President Bush's planned deployment of troops along the U.S.-Mexico border will last at least two years with no timetable for concluding the operation.
The internal guidance memo sent to National Guard officials in border states does not specify the cost of implementing the decision or how soon troops would be stationed along the 2,200-mile border from California to Texas. But high-ranking officials in the California National Guard said they were told Friday that deployments would not begin before early June.
The memo tells Guard officials the nearly 6,000 troops called for in the President's proposal would be be deployed "up to one year, with a force reduction to 3,000 during the second year."
The memo from the National Guard Bureau's Department of the Army and the Air Force said Guardsmen and women would act in a supporting role for law enforcement operations on the border, while focusing on "surveillance, reconnaissance, aviation, intelligence, engineering, training, vehicle dismantling, linguistics ... transportation and logistics."