Fort Bliss had an important part to play in stabilizing the old Mexican-American border in the decades before the Second Great Depression. A joint task force based there fought the drug cartels and terrorists seeking to the cross the border, and so those very same groups worked to infiltrate the base with their own operatives. When both the American and Mexican federal governments collapsed under the weight of their own economic debt, money stopped flowing to it, and official orders were to shelter in place and keep the fort operating with duct tape if necessary. Civilian directives to deal or not deal with the growing crisis countermanded each other on a daily basis, and the fort commander was more of an administrator than a popular leader of men. And to add fuel to the fire, the gangs and drug cartels were committing crimes with weapons reported lost or destroyed during range testing or other incidents. It was not a good time for Fort Bliss.