The US military is taking on a new and extended role on the US-Mexico border, the Pentagon said Monday.
At the request of the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon agreed to provide personnel to operate security cameras and to lay about 150 miles of concertina wire between official ports of entry, officials said.
The military also will continue to fly aircraft in support of Customs and Border Protection personnel.
“DOD is transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection, as well as concertina wire emplacement between ports of entry,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Troops last fall put down about 70 miles of concertina wire.
An official familiar with the agreement said the Pentagon has not yet determined how many additional active-duty troops will be required to carry out the additional work. The new Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan approved the plan.
There are about 2,350 active-duty troops performing the border mission, which began on 30 October and initially was to end on 15 December. It was extended to 31 January before DHS submitted a new request for help on 27 December and will now stretch to the end of September.
Further it is possible that National Guard troops could perform some of the aviation support.
The military’s current role at the border was attacked by Dems as a political ploy by President Trump.
The military is prohibited by law from performing domestic law enforcement tasks but can provide assistance to civilian border security authorities.
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