Following the order of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, about 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers will be dispatched to the Texas-Mexico border. However, these servicemembers will only serve in a listening and observation capacity, according to Military Times. Instead of making regular patrols or apprehending illegal immigrants themselves, the troops intend to watch for individuals who plan to cross the border and alert the Department of Public Safety. 

Guarding the border in a different capacity
Although the soldiers will be armed with guns, the weapons are intended to be used only if self defense is necessary. This has been common procedure in similar operations, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. John Nichols.

"They're allowed to defend themselves," he said, according to Military Times. "They will be armed, but it's for personal safety, to defend themselves. We've done Operation Jump Start, Operation River Watch, which were federally funded operations, where in those cases we helped U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We were armed then. The same rules applied."

Instead of walking the border and patrolling, National Guard servicemembers will be stationed at a series of observation posts. Equipped with helicopters with infrared sensors, guardsmen will watch over the border and call DPS if any immigrants are spotted. From that point, it's up to the DPS to interview the people and follow the necessary procedures. 

A massive undertaking and an uncertain timeline
Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol and DPS patrol an area that stretches for 320 miles at the edge of the Rio Grande bordering Mexico, according to KVUE – an Austin, Texas, news service. Covering all of that area presents many logistical and resource issues for border patrol forces, according to security officials.

The mission for the National Guard is expected to start within the next two and a half weeks, and around 1,000 troops are expected to be stationed at the border within 45 days. Before going, the troops will be expected to train to a certain extent, learning the to use basic phrases to reduce the language barrier between them and immigrating foreigners.

National Guard servicemembers a normally dispatched for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. However, some say this mission could last over a year, which means soldiers will have to be rotated. 

A year-long mission with rotating soldiers means more manpower and money will be necessary for successful completion. The service could cost the state up to $144 million dollars or more, according to KVUE.