Instead of having members of the National Guard "sit and wait for six months" when they're not deployed in a war zone, it might be a better idea to send them down to patrol the Mexican border on their downtime, Idaho Republican candidate Raul Labrador floated to a Republican audience earlier this year, according to an audio recording of the meeting provided to HuffPost.
The idea, Labrador said, came to him from a former member of the Guard. "I was talking recently to a former National Guard person, a retired National Guard -- Guardsman, and he said that maybe there's something that we can do, when the troops come back, you know, from deployment, maybe instead of having them just sit and wait for six months in a place, maybe they can go to the border and work with the National Guard. There are some ideas. We're going to have to look at new ways of doing this, because this would be a whole new area that the National Guard has not been involved in in the past." (Listen to the audio.)
Soldiers are all ready under heavy strain from repeated deployments to war zones, however, and sending them directly to man the border would only acerbate the pressure on the all-volunteer military.
Labrador is running against conservative freshman Democrat Walt Minnick. The comment was made at on January 26th at a local GOP meeting in Payette County, Idaho.
Phil Hardy, a spokesman for Labrador, said that Labrador has consistently said that any the military "must be consulted on issues such as these" and the comment he made generally jibes with his position that the border should be increasingly militarized.
"President Obama has recently deployed troops to the border -- I'm not sure how this quote is out of sync with increasing the profile of our interdiction efforts at the border," said Hardy. "Raul is clear: we need more law enforcement at the border, more drones, more sensors and while he feels President Obama's deployment was too small, it was a small step in the right direction. Bigger steps are needed."