Opinion | Hamilton: Border security: Using the 9 principles of war
January 2, 2019
Invading across the border of a sovereign nation is an Act of War. So, for a moment, let’s imagine that President Trump puts the U.S. Army in charge of securing our southern border from Texas across to the Pacific Ocean. Next, assume the Army applies the Army’s Nine Principles of War to the task. Result: Walls only where needed. But a total “defense-in-depth.”
- Objective. Protect and preserve the sovereignty of the United Sates by preventing illegal border crossings. A nation without enforced borders is not a nation. It is merely a landmass with neither law nor order.
- Offensive: Take the initiative against the drug cartels and against criminal gangs. Do what needs to be done now. Be pro-active. Take steps to ensure that those who would harm our children do not gain entry into our country.
- Mass. Concentrate the forces you have available where they will be the most effective. Mass is related to Principle 4:
- Economy of Force. Because we can never “mass” enough forces across our entire southern border, “Economy of Force” calls for various kinds of barriers which are, in effect, man-power-saving devices. The objective of a barrier is not to harm your opponents but to “canalize” them into areas where you can afford to “Mass” your forces to deal with illegal invaders on your terms, not theirs.
- Maneuver. Arrange some of your forces behind your border in such a way that they are free to maneuver to wherever they are needed. Maneuver is a key function of the concept of “defense-in-depth.”
- Unity of Command. From Texas to the Pacific Ocean, a specific commander must be in overall charge of all federal border-enforcement agencies that have a role to play in border control and with enforcement of immigration law.
- Security. Make sure only those with proper security clearances and a need-to-know are privy to your plans and operations. Security is a key factor in the next principle which is:
- Surprise. Have forces in reserve to “Surprise” your opponents at a time and place of your choosing. Surprise works hand-in-hand with Maneuver.
- Simplicity. The simplest plan that is well-executed always succeeds better than a complicated plan that is poorly executed. Apply the K.I.S.S. Rule: Keep it simple, stupid.
By applying the Nine Principles of War the result would NOT be a solid wall from Texas to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, walls and other barriers would only be constructed in certain places to serve the principle of Economy of Force. Those who would want to cross illegally would be “canalized” into areas where we can afford to “Mass” enough forces to deal with them effectively.
An ancillary Objective is to “canalize” would be border crossers into our Official Ports of Entry where they can apply for entry into the United States and then get in line behind those who have arrived before them and made application.
During this Christmas season, we might think of border control in the way that Santa and his helpers would do so. Determine who is naughty and who is nice. Let the nice ones in. Keep the naughty ones out.
Have a Happy New Year!
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017). “Central View,” can also be seen at: http://www.central-view.com.