Texas National Guard engineers continue to secure the Texas-Mexico border

Soldier setting up fence Soldier working on fence

Texas National Guard engineers continue to secure the Texas-Mexico border


MCALLEN, Texas – Texas National Guard Engineer Special Response Teams this week installed a new anti-climb barrier near Brownsville, Texas to further the agency’s effort to stem the flow of illegal crossings.

In recent months, around Eagle Pass and Brownsville, illegal border crossers have damaged existing wire and barriers to gain access to Texas. The engineers repaired the damaged sections of barrier while operational personnel blocked entry and provided security for the construction operations. The damage to the barrier continues to occur daily. 

The Engineer Special Response Teams are now installing a new barrier to reinforce the areas of high-traffic illegal crossings. The teams are installing an anti-climb barrier behind the reinforced wire areas. The barrier also has barbed wire and concertina wire attached as to prevent climbing over with a ladder or other scaling device. 

“The Brownsville area is seeing a lot of bad actors coming across the river and cutting our existing C-wire barrier,” said Capt. Chris Daniel, SRT-1 officer in charge. “The ACB barrier will allow Task Force South [National Guard] and law enforcement partners more time to respond to the breaches to apprehend the bad actors.”

The environment surrounding the Rio Grande River dictates how the barriers are installed, according to Daniel. In El Paso, where fencing operations have been ongoing, illegal border crossings are blocked by multiple layers of the wire arrayed in wide open areas of high-volume traffic. The wire is used to funnel illegal migrants to staging areas where they are turned back to Mexico.

    Since the beginning of the mission, the engineers have installed over 82 miles of concertina wire and reinforced over 27 miles of that wire. Additionally, almost 73 miles of chain-linked fencing has been installed to secure private and public property in the border region.
The Texas National Guard is dedicated to preventing, deterring and interdicting transnational criminal activity, in conjunction with our state and local partners, along the Texas and Mexico border.  


Texas Air National Guard aides law enforcement in multiple drug seizures

photo of 5 suspects BROWNSVILLE, Texas –Texas National Guard members assigned to Task Force South seized more than 800 lbs. of narcotics in the last two weeks being smuggled across the Texas-Mexico border by traffickers. 

On Sunday, Nov. 19, Zeus Flight assigned, the Operation Lone star unit in the Brownsville area, notified the Texas National Guard drone team that they witnessed possible scouts in their area of responsibility. The drone team later confirmed heat signatures for bodies in the area and notified law enforcement partners. In conjunction with law enforcement partners, Airmen stepped in to interdict two smugglers carrying two bundles of marijuana.  

A week later, again with the help of the drone team, Airmen from Zeus Flight spotted eight individuals with bundles of narcotics and contacted the Department of Public Safety. Once on the scene, the Airmen assisted law enforcement agencies to stop the traffickers.  

The seized eight bundles of marijuana, weighing approximately 483.5 lbs. were valued at $386,800.  

On Nov. 28, Zeus Flight was again informed that five suspected smugglers were spotted carrying bundles into the U.S. In partnership with law enforcement, all five smugglers were detained and taken into custody. Approximately 261.8 lbs. of marijuana were seized, with a street value of $209,400.  airman operating small unmanned aircraft system

“The work our service members are performing along the Texas border is imperative to national security,” said Lt. Col. Wayne Sanaghan, 432nd Air Expeditionary Group Commander. “Over the last ten days, we’ve successfully prevented approximately 845 lbs. of narcotics from being trafficked into our country. We are proud of our Texas National Guard members on this mission and are grateful for our partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety.”  

Texas National Guard Secures Dangerous Island

A cleared piece of land near the Rio Grande

FRONTON, Texas – The Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety have secured an island along the US and Mexico border, long considered one of the most dangerous areas in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Texas National Guard and its law enforcement partners were no strangers to the area near the small community of Fronton, and its formerly lawless island in the Rio Grande. The island has long been known as an area for cartel smuggling operations involving narcotics, weapons, money and high-value individuals. The densely-wooded area provided concealment for trans-national criminal activity, and has been a problem for decades according to law enforcement familiar with the area.

Operation Lone Star Guardsmen began securing the island and denying access to cartels in early October. Security operations cleared the area of criminals to protect Guardsmen there. Extensive brush clearing and road construction was completed by Guard engineers followed by installing triple-strand concertina wire along the shore.construction equipment

“Our engineer teams installed over 1.4 miles of wire along the Texas-Mexico border,” said Sgt. Jake Jordan, Joint Task Force Lone Star Special Response Team platoon sergeant. “The project was executed in a timely and safe manner, and provides not only the wire blocking obstacle, but allows Guard and law enforcement freedom of maneuver around the entire island.”

Although illicit narcotics and weapons smuggling had been the primary use of the area in recent years, cartel organizations had recently begun escorting large groups of illegal immigrants in the Fronton area, using the island to enter the U.S. without detection. The clearing project and concertina-wire obstacles help prevent these large groups from crossing illegally, according to OLS officials.Concertina wire fence

“Clearing the 170 plus acres of heavy brush by our engineers will provide excellent visibility of the island down to the Rio Grande River,” said Lt. Col. Johnny Guerrero, Joint Task Force Lone Star Chief of Staff. “That visibility will allow our security points and law enforcement partners to observe illegal smuggling prior to crossing the river.”

Fronton Island has been transformed from a criminal haven to a safe area of operations to protect Texas from illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking. Texas National Guard skill, manpower and resources are directly contributing to the safety of Texas.

Cybersecurity Infrastructure Symposium

Cybersecurity Infrastructure Symposium

The protection of cyber infrastructure has become paramount to the security and well-being of nations. Cyber infrastructure encompasses the vast systems and networks that support our modern way of life, from power grids and water treatment facilities to communication networks and financial systems. These systems are integral to our daily routines, making it imperative to shield them from the ever-growing threats in the digital realm.

Cyber infrastructure faces an array of potential risks, each posing a unique challenge to its security. Three major areas should be a focus for the Texas National Guard and they are as Follows:  Cyber Espionage, Cyber Sabotage and Cyber Terrorism.

  1.   Cyber Espionage: Involves the theft of sensitive information from computer systems. This stolen data can be exploited to harm a country's economy, national security, and its citizens. The theft of classified information is a significant concern.
  2.   Cyber Sabotage: Deliberate acts of damaging or destroying computer systems can have a catastrophic impact on infrastructure. A successful cyber sabotage attack can disrupt essential services, causing widespread chaos.
  3.   Cyber Terrorism: Cyber terrorists employ cyberattacks to achieve political or ideological objectives. Their targets may include critical infrastructure, government services, and businesses, with the potential to disrupt entire regions.

Public awareness and education concerning the best practices concerning cybersecurity reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks.

To effectively address these challenges, consider the following:

  •    Training and Education: Ensure that personnel are proficient in cybersecurity best practices and are aware of potential threats and tactics employed by cyber adversaries.
  •    Incident Response: Develop and regularly test incident response plans to minimize downtime and data loss in the event of a cyberattack.
  •    Collaboration: Work closely with federal and state agencies, as well as private sector partners, to share threat intelligence and coordinate responses to cyber threats.
  •    Continuous Monitoring: Implement tools and practices for continuous monitoring of networks and systems to detect and respond to threats in real-time.
  •    Resilience: Focus on building resilience into critical infrastructure to withstand cyberattacks and recover quickly.
  •    Legal Frameworks: Ensure there are appropriate legal frameworks in place to address cyber threats and prosecute cybercriminals effectively.
  •    Public Awareness: Educate the public on cybersecurity risks and best practices to reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks.

Cyber awareness and cybersecurity are essential components of the Texas National Guard's mission to protect the state's digital safety and security. By addressing the risks of cyber espionage, cyber sabotage, and cyber terrorism, and by staying vigilant and proactive in their efforts, the Texas National Guard can help safeguarding Texas' digital infrastructure and resources.


Please join us…
Thursday, 10/19/2023 
Bldg. 8, Alamo Room
Camp Mabry 

TxNG Soldiers graduate 1AD BLC

Six soldiers from the Texas National Guard’s 1st Armored Division Main Command Post-Operational Detachment (MCP-OD) recently graduated from the Basic Leader’s Course at the Fort Bliss Non-commissioned Officer Academy, which marks a major breakthrough in cooperative development between the 71st Troop Command (TXARNG) and 1st Armored Division.

Because BLC is the gateway for junior enlisted Soldiers to become Non-Commissioned Officers, slots for the school are coveted by ambitious Guardsmen. Those slots, however, are often challenging for Guard units to obtain.

Soldiers Pose for group photo
Pictured from left: SGT Reyes, CSM Pusar, SPC Roediger, SGT Gill, SGM Williams, SPC Kern, 1SG Sprout, SPC Chavez, SGT Fleming, SGM Castro, Msgt Alanis

Motivated to see the division be at its best, 1st AD agreed to the allocation of school seats to be shared with the Guardsmen in the 1AD MCP-OD at the same standard as other 1st AD units. This training agreement offers a higher rate of BLC opportunities for 1AD MCP-OD Soldiers when compared to much of the Guard.

The newly minted NCOs of 1AD MCP-OD will now blend into the 1st AD headquarters as peers among the division’s leaders.

“The new 1AD MCP-OD BLC program achieved proof-of-concept this last September, which is the first time in the unit’s existence,” said Maj. Jonathan Ireland, the unit’s full-time officer in charge. “This was truly a collaborative effort between 1st AD HQs, 71st TC, and the Joint Forces Headquarters – Texas Joint Staff Sections; J37, J38.”

While the 1st AD will be the immediate beneficiary of these newly trained leaders, the Texas National Guard gains Soldiers who completed Professional Military Education and have the experience of working in an active-duty division headquarters.

“This partnership just makes sense for everyone involved,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Marius Pusar, 71st Troop Command sergeant major. “Each entity, the Soldiers, the Texas Guard, and 1st Armored Division directly benefits from this relationship, and I am looking forward to the thriving relationship with the 1st AD MCPOD.”

Leaders from America’s Tank Division agreed.

“The 1AD MCP-OD direct efforts are forging new NCOs for the 1st Armored Division,” said Sgt. Maj. Ben Castro, 1st AD G2 sergeant major. “The success of this program and unit is a testament to the dedication, determination, and diligence of our Soldiers in the 1AD MCP-OD.”

Group photo of soldiers
From Left to Right: CSM Pusar, 1SG Williams, SPC Roediger, SPC Fleming, SSG Li, SGM Castro, 1SG Sprout

As to not be outdone by the Guardsmen’s active-duty counterparts, two of the six MCP-OD attendees, Sgt. Kolby Gill, and Spc. Robert Kern, graduated the course on the Commandants list.

“I could not be prouder of the soldiers who performed so well at the inaugural class of the 1AD MCP-OD BLC program,” said 1AD MCP-OD 1st Sgt. Tyler Sprout. “These Soldiers forged the way forward for future enlisted Soldiers to attend the 1AD MCP-OD BLC program in the future.”


State Partnership Program Brings Together Chile and Texas Guard for Cyber Training

Photo By Capt. Micheal Ortiz | The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army met Aug. 28-30, 2023 for a joint cyber security exercise in Santiago, Chile as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), to exchange ideas, train to defend against cyber threats, and discuss the importance of the growing a cyber-defense program in the military.
Photo By Capt. Micheal Ortiz | The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army met Aug. 28-30, 2023 for a joint cyber security exercise in Santiago, Chile as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), to exchange ideas, train to defend against cyber threats, and discuss the importance of the growing a cyber-defense program in the military.

AUSTIN, TX– The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army met Aug. 28-30, 2023 for a joint cyber security exercise in Santiago, Chile as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP), to exchange ideas, train to defend against cyber threats, and discuss the importance of the growing a cyber-defense program in the military.

Col. Christopher Howell, chief of the Cyber Operations Branch, Joint Force Headquarters, Texas Military Department, said that the exchange of knowledge is a valuable tool for improving cyber security in both countries.

“We want them [Chile] to further understand how Chile’s cyber operations and organizational capabilities employ tactical responses at a military level. Also, we discussed the communications within their country,” Howell said.

As cyber threats become more common, it is crucial to support the relationship amongst both countries and strengthen the bonds between military and their civilian counterparts, Howell said.

1st Lt. Jose Pantoja, with the Chilean Navy, said that these long-term partnerships are critical for international security for the future.

“I think keeping this relationship between Chile and Texas is fundamental to develop our capacities and our apprenticeships to improve our defenses. With this experience, the Texas National Guard shares with us their knowledge and training for maintaining our systems. We are also learning how they coordinate with their citizens,” said Pantoja.

The exercise included a simulated cyber-attack on a Chilean government website. Partners from both countries worked together to overcome challenges and address vulnerabilities brought to light during the exercise.

Sgt. Maj. Darla Wright, senior non-commissioned officer for the Cyber Operations Branch, Texas Military Department, said building junior soldiers’ knowledge is beneficial to both the military and the individuals.

“We wanted to share the different aspects that have been key to retain and recruit cyber personnel within the organization, and that is making every person understand their contribution and their effort is recognized and this will create growth within the cyber-intelligence field now and for the future,” Wright said.

The Texas National Guard leaders also discussed the importance of rewarding hard work, developing individuals’ skills, and allowing each member the opportunity to advance within the Chilean Army.

“Often the best recruiter is the person who is already doing that job. They have those skill sets, so the different things that we can help is to interview the talent within and train Soldiers to become instructors, “ Wright said.

The Texas National Guard and the Chilean Army will continue to work together to share information, develop personnel, and respond to cyber threats and guidance for the future.

Texas National Guard Deters Trespassing at UT-Brownsville

Soldier at Texas Mexico border

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – In response to increasing illegal immigrant traffic on the University of Texas Brownsville campus, Texas National Guard Airmen, along with law enforcement partners, have installed barriers and continue to patrol the area, regularly apprehending illegal migrants attempting to use the campus to evade detection.

According to university officials and local law enforcement agencies, illegal migrant trafficking was a daily occurrence along the property. The college was not only experiencing a rise in trespassing incidents, but theft and property damage increased in parking lots and common areas throughout the campus.

The Texas Guard began an army engineer operation to clear brush and install triple-strand concertina wire along the fence line of the college late last year during a large influx of illegal crossings occurring between Brownsville’s two main international ports of entry.

Operation Lone star also increased the number of security points and added roving patrols between the ports of entry. During April and May, the Guard surged manpower, equipment and capabilities to the area.Soldier's shoulder patch standing in front of a concertina wire fence

The Guard has maintained a focused presence in the area to protect local businesses, residence and government entities from illegal migration and criminal activity. Texas National Guard is dedicated to preventing, deterring and interdicting transnational criminal activity, in conjunction with our state and local partners, along the Texas and Mexico border.

Texas National Guard Aid in Stash House Raid

Soldiers standby while Border Patrol agents process detaineesLAREDO, Texas – Texas National Guard Soldiers, along with law enforcement partners, apprehended seventeen individuals located in a known illegal migrant stash house this week that lacked running water, restrooms and limited power according to the personnel on the operation.

The operation stemmed from an anonymous tip from the Crime Stoppers Program in the Laredo area. The information provided described a vacant house believed to be sheltering a large group of illegal aliens. Guard Soldiers assigned to Operation Lone Star collaborated with local and state law enforcement to respond the morning of August 30.

“The house was very small and living conditions were bad,” said Sgt. 1st Class Vasquez, Platoon Sergeant for Alpha Company’s second platoon. “There were signs that the group was one of many utilizing the house in recent days.”

The Guard established a perimeter around the house and property to allow law enforcement to approach the residence. Several individuals tried to flee from the back door but were stopped upon seeing the Soldiers positioned in the streets. The individuals were detained immediately by law enforcement officials and the area was secured.

The Guard has referred over 613,000 illegal migrants and criminal elements to law enforcement partners since the beginning of Operation Lone Star in March 2021. Illegal migrant and criminal referrals include surrenders as well as interdictions to apprehend. Law enforcement partners instruct Soldiers in apprehending illegal activity thus multiplying manpower to prevent, deter and interdict border crossings.Soldiers stand outside a house at night

“Our law enforcement partners have told us we are a force multiplier here in Laredo and without us their job would be much more difficult,” said Vasquez.

The Texas National Guard, in conjunction with law enforcement partners, is dedicated to preventing illegal migrant crossings from Mexico to the US and stopping cross-border illicit narcotics trafficking.

OLS Stops Human Smugglers

Soldiers standing having meeting outsideLAREDO – Texas Army National Guard soldiers stopped human smugglers attempting to use a raft to cross the Rio Grande last week. The Soldiers in partnership with state and federal law enforcement made the smugglers turn back into Mexico to avoid being arrested.

The Soldiers were on a dismounted patrol near the riverbank, when they were alerted by their law enforcement communication partners to a raft of attempted human smugglers floating across the border river.

As the smugglers made their attempt to cross, Guardsmen discovered various hiding places human smugglers use to hide illegal immigrants as part of a growing money-making scheme. Soldiers say they often find these immigrants in the tall reeds and thick brush that line the banks of the river before they are taken by smugglers for their illegal passage into the United States.

“It’s about getting into their head,” said Spc. Ramirez, a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “You have to be able to think like one of them to understand where someone in their position would think to hide.”

The Soldiers utilize advanced tracking hardware and software to accurately detect the positions of the migrants and use their knowledge and experience of tracking people through the terrain that surrounds the southern border.

“It’s like a game of hide and seek,” said Spc. Ragland, also with Alpha Company, Task Force Center. “But they’re as smart as you, if not smarter, in ways to get around law enforcement or anybody that’s trying to stop them from illegally immigrating into the US.”two soldiers walk near Rio Grande River

The soldiers on Operation Lone Star operate in this way across the entirety of Texas southern border, and they are trained to intercept illegal immigration before the criminals make landfall into the United States.

The Texas National Guard, in conjunction with interagency partners, is dedicated to preventing illegal migrant crossings from Mexico to the US and stopping cross-border illicit narcotics trafficking.

Oklahoma National Guard among border contingents

EL PASO, Texas – Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers are serving along the Texas and Mexico border to prevent, deter and interdict illegal border crossings and other illegal activity. The Oklahomans are part of a larger coalition of states supporting Operation Lone Star.

Oklahoma is currently serving as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in Texas along the southern international border with Mexico. In the past three months, multiple states have rotated personnel and equipment to Operation Lone Star.

“We patrol and call up anything suspicious or if anyone looks like they are about to cross illegally,” said Spc. Trace Greer, an Oklahoma National Guardsman assigned to Task Force West. “They [Oklahoma National Guard] were asking for volunteers to come to the border and I felt like doing something to help my community out.”

The multi-state support is not new for Operation Lone Star. In October 2021, Arkansas National Guard provided a team of mechanics to support operations in the Rio Grande Valley. The team was responsible for maintenance on tactical vehicles assigned to Operation Lone Star.

In the past three months, multiple states have joined the EMAC response to support Texas in securing the southern border.

“The support we have received in the El Paso area of operations from our partner states is crucial to mission success,” said Maj. Sean Storrud, Operation Lone Star Task Force West Commanding Officer. “The Oklahoma National Guard contingent, as well as our other partner states, have provided the extra manpower we need to continue to prevent and deter illegal border crossings to secure our nation’s backyard.”

Operation Lone Star was launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on March4, 2021, in response to the rise in illegal immigration and criminal activity on the southern border. The Guard partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies to answer the call to secure the nation’s international border with Mexico.