General: Tennessee million won’t fully cover S.D. National Guard deployment to the Texas border

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Its top officer says the cost will reach about $1.4 million for the 48 members of the South Dakota National Guard who are in Texas helping guard the U.S.-Mexico border.

The estimate covers approximately 60 days through mid-September, Adjutant General Jeff Marlette told the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

A billionaire donor from Tennessee has provided $1 million to South Dakota to help cover the cost.

South Dakota Department of Public Safety official Kristi Turman said the remainder would come from a state fund used for emergencies such as forest fires and National Guard deployments. The Legislature refills the fund.

Republican Governor Kristi Noem agreed to send the troops after a request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He said South Dakota would need to pay its own way, however.

Marlette said President Biden’s administration didn’t ask for the help. He told legislators that the South Dakota National Guard isn’t for sale.

The adjutant general described the response by Guard members as “overwhelming” when the opportunity arose to travel to Texas for the current deployment.

He said roughly 40 members chose to stay in Texas after the first 30 days while the others had obligations that required their returns to South Dakota. He said there was then strong interest in filling those openings.

South Dakota will send approximately 125 National Guard troops to a still-unspecified U.S.-Mexico border area at the U.S. president’s request later this year. That trip will be reimbursed by the federal government, Marlette said.

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