The defense secretary has today approved a request for assistance for additional military personnel to deploy to the U.S. Southwestern border to support the Department of Homeland Security’s border control efforts there, Defense Department officials said on background.
Like Operation Guardian Support, which is supported by 2,100 National Guardsmen, this additional assistance is in support of President Donald J. Trump’s April 4, 2018, memorandum, “Securing the Southern Border of the United States.”
Military planners are already deployed to assist Customs and Border Protection planning efforts. Additional military personnel should start arriving on Oct. 30.
“We have a formal request for assistance from the Department of Homeland Security,” a DOD official said on background. “This is a temporary support requirement. Right now, the time frame runs from Oct. 30 to Dec. 15, if needed.”
The effort is broken into aviation support and ground support, said DOD officials. DOD will provide strategic airlift for the effort. This will allow DHS to move large numbers of federal law enforcement agents to the points of entry where they are most needed, officials said. There is a tactical airlift portion of the effort as well – allowing Homeland Security personnel to quickly deploy small teams to reinforce ports of entry, officials said.
On the ground, DOD will provide mobile command-and-control facilities outside of the ports of entry. The department will also deploy engineers to reinforce barriers against pedestrians at ports of entry. The engineers will also provide temporary housing for up to 2,500 U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel. “This is housing for people who have to surge to one port of entry,” the official said.
There will also be a medical force to provide triage and treatment if needed.
The department has also been tasked to provide riot gear for 500 Border Patrol personnel.
Where the service members will come from — and whether they will be active duty, National Guard or reserve — has not been determined yet, officials said. It is likely that they will come from bases near the border, the official said.