Pentagon Estimates Drug Cartels ‘On Par’ With Mexican Army

Troops Aim to Retake Border City

As the bloody drug war between the Mexican government and the assorted drug cartels along the US border continues to escalate, one US Defense Department official has revealed that the Pentagon estimates that the cartels have at their disposal over 100,000 troops, roughly on par with the Mexican army’s 130,000 troops.

The latest news in this often overlooked conflict is that the Mexican military has dispatched hundreds of heavily armed troops to the city of Cuidad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas. This is reportedly the largest single deployment in a conflict which has mostly involved very small scale clashes.

The fighting has caught the interest of the US government in recent days. Early in the year, the Joint Forces Command’s annual report claimed Mexico was one of two nations on earth (the other being Pakistan) at risk of a “rapid and sudden collapse.” On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that the United States might provide direct aid to the Mexican military in fighting the conflict.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.