The investigation will be headed by U.S. Northern Command, which runs the federal mission of 2,430 Guardsmen on the U.S.-Mexico border. Reporting from Army Times found a slew of issues, including alcohol abuse, deaths on duty and misconduct among troops on federal orders.
That mission is separate from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which has also been hit with a steady barrage of bad press and slammed by elected officials. Military.com reporting found widespread issues with troops also abusing alcohol and receiving inconsistent pay while facing financial hardship tied to serving under Abbott’s orders.
Financial burdens and family issues are top concerns for senior Army leaders, who say those are key factors in most suicides in the force. A deployed Guard soldier attempted suicide this week, according to an incident report obtained by Military.com, and an investigation by Army Times found at least four soldiers died by suicide in recent months.
Officials will investigate a “wide range of alleged issues,” according to a Northern Command statement, ranging from the mission itself to the Guard’s support of law enforcement – as well as personnel issues such as pay and the conduct of soldiers. The investigative team will comprise senior members of the National Guard, active-duty Army and Army Reserve.
The scope of the investigation will not include Operation Lone Star, the Texas Guard’s state-funded mission of some 10,000 troops. A spokesman for Northern Command would not say what spurred the inquiry.
— Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.
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