The Pentagon is making ready to ship extra troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, at the same time as some members of Congress query the appropriateness of deploying troops there.
Performing Secretary of Protection Patrick Shanahan advised reporters Tuesday that “a number of thousand” lively U.S. troops doubtless might be assigned to the border. Shanahan mentioned that the transfer is in response to a Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) request associated to inserting concertina wire.
There are at the moment about 2,300 lively troops on the border, Below Secretary of Protection for Coverage John Rood advised the Home Armed Providers Committee on Tuesday. The quantity is down from a excessive of 5,900 on the finish of final 12 months.
The committee’s listening to into President Donald Trump’s unique determination to ship troops to the border got here as Congress and the president work to resolve their variations over development of a wall on the southern border. Trump says he should have $5.7 billion for the wall, whereas Home Democrats have held agency on zero funding for a wall. The 2 sides have till Feb. 15 to come back to an settlement, when short-term funding for a lot of the U.S. authorities expires.
“So far, the influence of [the troops’] deployment is not totally understood nor has there been a full justification for why the administration subsequently diverted lively responsibility personnel to the border or particulars concerning when that deployment will finish,” Committee Chairman Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, mentioned in his opening assertion. “Furthermore, the deployments to the border appear to battle with the division’s said efforts to rebuild readiness.”
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday advised the committee that the troops have made a distinction. Laying concertina wire “hardened these ports of entry,” he mentioned, permitting Customs and Border Safety to make use of its manpower extra effectively.
Gilday mentioned the choice to deploy lively troops was made by the Division of Protection as a result of they might deploy sooner than Nationwide Guard reservists and since the Guard was not expert in laying concertina wire.
So far as future readiness is worried, Gilday mentioned some models have missed or will miss company-level coaching, however the Protection Division believes they will recoup.
The price of the deployment of lively troops has been $132 million since they have been first referred to as up final fall till the top of January, whereas deployment of the Nationwide Guard to the border is estimated at $550 million from final April via the top of 2019, Gilday mentioned.
Rood advised the committee that DHS is monitoring three caravans transferring towards the U.S.-Mexico border, one estimated at greater than 12,000 members.
“We now have to be extra versatile to reply to altering circumstances. I believe that’s what the president is making an attempt to do,” mentioned Congressman Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas. “I would like to not use the army … however issues change.”
Steve Herman contributed to this report.