Speed Reads

'Mercenary Force'

What South Dakota's bizarre National Guard deployment might really be about

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced Tuesday that she is sending 50 state National Guard troops to the southern border in response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's (R) request for help with illegal crossings. Most notably, however, Noem plans to fund the venture via "private donation," a controversial pay-for that critics fear turns the National Guard into a "private, for-hire security force."

Others, like Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher and The Washington Post's Max Boot, have called out the small-scale deployment as a performative stunt by another 2024 presidential hopeful who is eager to decry the Biden administration's failures.

Noem is the latest GOP governor to offer her assistance following Abbott and Ducey's June 10 Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Newsweek reports. "Given the staggering number of violations now occurring in Texas and Arizona, additional manpower is needed from any state that can spare it," the governors note in their call for back-up. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — another "2024 aspirant" — all previously pledged their help, per Newsweek.