It’s rare that active-duty troops are called on to defend the homefront. That didn’t stop the Trump Administration from calling on them as well as reserves and National Guard personnel to do the job at the southern border. Their presence was originally to help secure certain checkpoints. As time went on, they laid cable and razor wire as well, and now, the mission has been extended until the fall.
The approximately 4,500 active duty and National Guard forces now on the border were first sent there in late October 2018 to meet a request from President Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security to secure border entry points from thousands of immigrants traveling north through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. Several units have rotated in and out during that time, and have been tasked to lay concertina wire, barriers and help assist border patrol agents at points in Texas, Arizona and California.
The mission for those troops extending through September will also slightly change to add more surveillance, but some will still be laying wire, DoD said.
“In response to the December 27, 2018 request from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan approved Department of Defense assistance to DHS through Sept. 30, 2019,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “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. DoD will continue to provide aviation support.”
Seeing as how the Department of Defense should be all about keeping Americans safe and serving our interests above and beyond anyone else’s, this move should be a no-brainer. Our troops are now defending the homeland as they should be. The question is how long will this go on given the political climate in Washington and the tendency for some lawmakers to meddle in the affairs of the military.