Pentagon Extends Military Support for Border

The Pentagon has approved additional military support for the southern border until September, the Defense Department confirmed on Monday.

“In response to the December 27, 2018 request from the Department of Homeland Security, Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan approved Department of Defense assistance to DHS through September 30, 2019,” a statement by the department said.

The Department of Defense will be “transitioning its support at the southwestern border from hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance & detection,” the statement continued.

The military will likewise install additional “concertina wire between ports of entry” apart from the 10 miles of wire already in place as of November.

This support request is separate from the effort led by the White House to use existing Pentagon funds and personnel to help build new sections of a border wall, CNN informs. The military will further provide aviation support to Customs and Border Protection.

According to defense officials, the new mobile surveillance would include troops manning mobile observation posts in order to detect and intercept potential illegal activities. The number and composition of U.S. troops is yet to be determined.

About 2,300 active-duty troops are currently deployed at the border. They were to come home last month, but their deployment was extended to the end of January at the request of DHS. That deployment cost $132 million.

President Donald Trump had previously ordered the deployment of National Guard forces to help secure the border. That deployment, also set to end in September, is estimated to cost $308 million, although the Pentagon has refused to say where the money to pay for the deployments is coming from.

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