Choke Points are the Whole Idea

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

In today’s Washington Examiner, Eddie Scarry points out something I’ve been saying to my military friends for a long time; Choke Points, are the whole idea behind border barriers. What brought this to his attention, was a comment made by MSNBC Morning Joe guest, Heidi Przybyla.


Ms Przybyla was speaking about a number of interviews she had conducted with numerous law enforcement officials who work at or around the Southern border.

At one point, she described a concern of Sheriff Clint McDonald, the Chairman of Texas Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, chairman. From the article:

Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Pryzbyla said she had spoken to one law enforcement official in Texas, who said he’s most concerned about receiving more federal funding for agents to patrol the border than he is about erecting any new barriers.

“[McDonald] said that even if the president got the money for his wall, let’s say today, he would still be tied up in court for 10 to 15 years when it comes to Texas,” she said. “So what would happen is you’d get border wall in New Mexico, California, Arizona and you’d create an absolute disaster of a choke point in through Texas.”

You can get the entire article here.

Scarry, points out her error—in detail:

She put forth no explanation for why a “choke point” would be a “disaster.” But what does she think legal points of entry into the U.S. are supposed to be? They are, by definition, choke points for people coming into the country. The proposed border wall has the explicit purpose of freeing up agents and other resources that can be directed to more vulnerable areas where there is no barrier or where crossings are more frequent.


Scarry is correct. His comment, whether he knows it or not, is right out of military doctrine for obstacle employment. One of the first assumptions in that doctrine, is that NO obstacle is impenetrable. There’s always a way to go around it, fly over it or tunnel under it. And no matter the material, there’s even a way to break through it.

Military doctrine understands this and applies obstacles accordingly, to delay, disrupt or canalize forces. Applied to the issue of illegal incursions across our Southern border, obstacles, walls, fences and the like, serve essentially the same purpose. They disrupt/delay illegals. It does take time to climb over, tunnel under and I have yet to see an illegal alien piloting a hang glider. By delaying illegals, we can give border agents more reaction time.

Side note here, another tenet of military obstacle doctrine, is that all obstacles need to be covered by observation in order to be effective. In the case of the Southern border, a wall, supplemented by sensors, drones and active patrolling would be very effective at delaying illegals in time for border agents to arrive and take them into custody before they disappear into the interior.

Finally, let’s address the third objective of an obstacle—to “canalize” enemy forces, or in this case, illegal aliens in a direction better suited for our border agents to deal with. Ultimately, the objective is a border with sufficient and appropriate obstacles that illegal aliens have little choice, but to appear at a designated port of entry. This of course will make life a lot better for our border enforcement community.


I would be remiss, if I didn’t thank liberal commentator Przybyla for however unintentionally, teeing up this issue, and of course, Mr Scarry, for knocking it out of the park and into D-parking lot.


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