Governor Abbott, Senator Cornyn And Congressman Cuellar Call on DHS to Request Flight Hours for Operation Phalanx


In an unified effort, Republicans and Democrats support the idea to protect the land.  Below, a link to read the original letter sent to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Photo Gov. Greg Abbott FB timeline.

Texas Border Business

WASHINGTON – Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar today doubled down on their demand that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security should officially request flight hours for Operation Phalanx and the U.S. Department of Defense should agree to provide the assistance upon hearing word that the last Phalanx flight took off earlier this month. 

Operation Phalanx is a program through which the National Guard provides aerial surveillance, detection, and situational awareness capabilities in support of Border Patrol. Congress provided full funding for Operation Phalanx in Fiscal Year 2016. Given that the government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution, that full funding remains.

While Operation Phalanx will officially end on December 31st if there is not an approved request for additional flight hours for 2017, according to the National Guard, the aerial support flights have ended and they will be terminating contracts for hanger space and housing.

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CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske had last month sent a letter to Brian McKeon, the Department of Defense Under Secretary for Policy, expressing appreciation for DoD’s support. While this letter was welcomed, it did not make a formal request for support.  

Abbott, Cornyn and Cuellar previously sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting information on why the Department has chosen not to request flight hours for 2017 and on how the Department plans to fill in the gaps this lack of support will present.  That letter has not yet been responded to. 

To read the full letter, click here.