The acting chief at the Pentagon has authorized a new and extended role for the U.S. military on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Politico)
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 official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that were not made public after Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan approved the plan.
Currently, 2,350 active-duty service members are assisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Existing statutes prohibit the military from enforcing domestic law enforcement tasks, but the Armed Forces have periodically assisted federal law enforcement agencies with border security.