Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Pentagon: Most troops despatched to frame won’t be armed

Texas company secures $145 million contract to build part of border wall US troops seen setting up barbed wire near Mexico border
Ellis Copeland | 07 November, 2018, 22:55

When the Trump administration first asked the Pentagon to send troops to the southern border, the administration wanted the troops to take on duties that Department of Defense officials viewed as law enforcement functions, CNN has learned. But the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimates that the cost of placing active duty troops on the border could range from $42 million 110 million.

The general assured his audience that there was "no plan for the soldiers to come in with immigrants or to reinforce the Department of Homeland Security as they are conducting their mission".

Meanwhile, Gen Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the head of US Northern Command, which is overseeing the deployment, told reporters last week that there were no plans at the moment for the US military to build lodging for migrants.

By voicing its opposition, the Pentagon helped ensure that its mission was tailored to providing support only to government personnel on the border.

"Our Comptroller is working through that process right now, when we get to a point where we can provide a number we will certainly do that", he added.

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US troops, along with Customs and Border Protection officers, have been working to secure sections of the Texas-Mexico border, in part by laying down barbed-wire fencing, as new photos show. He said he hoped to see "thousands" of civilians join troops to defend the border.

Some 2,100 National Guard troops are participating in that operation, which the Defense Department refers to at Operation Guardian Support.

DOD personnel are also helping with movement and providing trucks and helicopters. Approximately 4,800 troops have been deployed with 5,200 expected to be in place by the end of the day.

The majority of the forces are now in Texas where 2,600 service members have arrived over the last week, there are 1,100 service members in Arizona and California respectively.

The disclosure by US officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump's base. In 2012, the number of troops was scaled back as the focus shifted from boots on the ground to aerial surveillance. He also declined to detail the rules for the use of force for troops supporting Operation Faithful Patriot, just days after President Donald Trump announced he had instructed the military that if people throw rocks to "consider it a rifle".

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