In 2006, the deployment of the National Guard, along with supporting equipment, brought a rapid increase and expansion of the Border Patrol’s capabilities. The Guard served a key role in non-direct enforcement work along the border, enhancing surveillance capabilities and increasing situational awareness. Importantly, they relieved agents of more administrative tasks so they could return to patrol and enforcement duties.
The National Guard’s deployment was an immediate and symbolic bridge between policy and action—a confirmation of the nation’s commitment to grow the Border Patrol’s organic capabilities. At the time, fences and infrastructure were being built, and Congress had appropriated funding to more than double the Border Patrol’s size and passed budgets necessary to acquire supporting technology. The 2006 National Guard deployment, appropriately called ‘Operation Jump Start,’ served a critical role in helping agents both in the field, as deployed surveillance units, and at bases, as mechanics and maintenance personnel, as those initiatives got underway.