On Sunday, it was announced by the Pentagon that they would be deploying another 3,750 active duty troops to the shared border between the United States and Mexico in order to help out US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Breitbart News reports, “The additional troops would raise the number of total active duty troops deployed to the border to 4,350. That is down from a high of 5,900 active duty troops at the border in November.”
“The Department of Defense will deploy approximately 3,750 additional U.S. forces to provide the additional support to CBP at the southwest border that Acting Secretary of Defense [Patrick] Shanahan approved Jan. 11,” the Pentagon said in the statement.
A defense spokesperson revealed that all of the additional troops being sent to the border are active duty. They will be joining the 2,250 National Guard members who are already stationed at the United States’ southern border, who are there as a part of the Guardian Support mission.
The Pentagon also stated that the addition troops will “include a mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019, and the putting up of approximately 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry,” Breitbart reports.
The statement said that some of the addition troops will be at the border for 90 days.
“We will continue to evaluate the force composition required to meet the mission to protect and secure the southern border,” the statement reads.
President Trump initially ordered thousands of U.S. troops to the border in October, ahead of the arrival of at least two migrant caravans heading to the U.S., including one that overran barriers from Guatemala into southern Mexico.
The deployment also came just days before the midterm elections, prompting Democrats to claim it was a political stunt.
Defense and CBP officials at the time said they were concerned about the violent nature of the caravans, and that the migrants could take buses and arrive at the southern U.S. border within days — a factor that contributed to their decision to deploy active duty forces versus National Guard troops, which would have taken longer to mobilize, and with fewer resources.
On Sunday, the official announcement was made that addition troops would be sent to the border following Shanahan’s Tuesday comment that “several thousand” more troops were necessary in order to follow through on the newly-approved surveillance and concertina-wire laying missions at our southern border.
Shanahan’s comment, which he made at his very first press conference as acting defense secretary, ticked off House Democrats, who Breitbart explain “had convened a hearing with defense officials that same day to grill them on a troop deployment they have called a political stunt.”
Democratic House Armed Services Committee Chairman Representative Adam Smith slammed the Pentagon in a statement following the hearing. He stated, “The number one thing that the House Armed Services Committee wants from the Defense Department this Congress is transparency. We did not get full transparency during this week’s hearing about DOD support to the southern border.”
During the hearing, the additional troop deployments were defended by defense officials, who explained that the Pentagon, not the White House, had made the decision to deploy active duty troops instead of National Guard forces.
Breitbart explains that “Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on November 14 said the last four administrations have also ordered active duty and National Guard forces to the border, but Democrats have characterized the deployment of active duty forces to the border as unusual.” The news outlet explains, “He said President Bill Clinton ordered National Guard and active duty forces to the border from 1994 to 1995, to assist law enforcement. They manned observation posts, moved cargo and vehicles to support law enforcement, and did cargo and vehicle inspections and aircraft surveillance for narcotics.”
Mattis stated that President George W. Bush had ordered an operation that was titled Operation Jumpstart, which took place from 2006 to 2008, that involved around 6,000 members of the National Guard at the southern border.
Mattis also stated that former President Barack Obama had ordered Operation Phalanx between 2010 and 2017, which required roughly 1,200 National Guard members. “That was the longest period, by the way, of U.S. military support for the border. It was during the previous administration under President Obama,” Mattis stated.
Breitbart explains, “Trump first ordered the National Guard to begin training at the border in April. The active duty deployment came in November.”
“This was due to an unprecedented situation with multiple, large-scale caravans en route to the Southwest border. You’ve seen this on the — on the news. One of the caravans overran the border checkpoint between Guatemala and the Mexican border and clashed with Mexican police,” Mattis stated.