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More Than 5,200 Active-Duty Troops Are Heading To The US-Mexico Border
More than 5,200 active-duty troops will be deployed to the U.S border with Mexico by the end of the week in response to thousands of asylum seekers from Central America, who are slowly headed through Mexico to the United States, the head of U.S. Northern Command said on Monday.
“That is just the start of this operation,” Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy told reporters. “We’ll continue to adjust the numbers and inform you of those, but please know that’s in addition to the 2,092 [service members] that are employed from our National Guard.”
The Pentagon announced on Friday that it would assist the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection along the southern border. O’Shaughnessy is the first U.S. military official to say how many active-duty troops will be involved with the operation.
The troops will deploy first to Texas, followed by Arizona, and then California, O’Shaughnessy said at a news conference at the Department of Homeland Security. The mission itself has been named “Operation Faithful Patriot.”
“As we sit right here today, we have about 800 soldiers that are on their way to Texas right now,” O’Shaughnessy said. “They’re coming from Fort Campbell. They’re coming from Fort Knox. They’re moving closer to the border.”
The active-duty troops include the Army Corps of Engineers; three combat engineer battalions, which can build temporary vehicle barriers and fencing; three medium-lift helicopter companies to transport and medevac civil authorities; military police; medical units; and three C-130s and a C-17 to deploy border protection personnel wherever they are needed, he said. The troops also have 22 miles of concertina wire with another 150 miles of wire ready if needed.
“The units that are normally assigned weapons, they are in fact deploying with weapons,” O’Shaughnessy said.
All 5,200 active-duty troops will comply with the Posse Comitatus Act prevents active-duty federal troops from serving as police officers unless the president invokes the Insurrection Act, O’Shaughnessy said.
However, he also indicated that the medium-lift helicopter companies could be used on Custom and Border Protection operations.
“We’ll be able to spot and identify groups and rapidly deploy CBP personnel where they are needed,” O’Shaughnessy said. “The helicopters will ensure that CBP agents can arrive in the most austere locations. They can fast-rope down if the need to. They can conduct and work their law enforcement activities.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported how many active-duty troops could head to the border to help stop the caravan of refugees, which originated in Honduras. Separate from the mission to the border, U.S. troops are working to train and professionalize the Honduran military, said Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd, head of U.S. Southern Command, told reporters on Monday.
“They are attempting to create secure conditions while the Honduran police reforms itself,” Kidd said. “It has had some problems with some abuse of human rights. So we spend a lot of time working hand-in-glove with our partners in the Honduran military to inculcate this respect for human rights.
“We do it by helping to train and to help them professionalize their non-commissioned officer corps and to recognize that their legitimacy derives from the respect of the population, and so it’s important that they be viewed as protectors and not as predators.”
UPDATE: This story was updated at 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 with comments from Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.
The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.
"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.
RACHEL, Nev. (Reuters) - UFO enthusiasts began descending on rural Nevada on Thursday near the secret U.S. military installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace.
Some residents of Rachel, a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base, worried their community might be overwhelmed by unruly crowds turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to "storm" Area 51. The town, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, lacks a grocery store or even a gasoline station.
Dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel's only business - an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A'Le'Inn - parking themselves in cars, tents and campers. A fire truck was stationed nearby.
Alien enthusiasts descend on the Nevada desert to 'storm' Area 51
Attendees arrive at the Little A'Le'Inn as an influx of tourists responding to a call to 'storm' Area 51, a secretive U.S. military base believed by UFO enthusiasts to hold government secrets about extra-terrestrials, is expected Rachel, Nevada, U.S. September 19, 2019
One couple, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, both sporting UFO tattoos, traveled to Rachel from the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with enough food to last for a week of car-camping.
"It's evolved into a peaceful gathering, a sharing of life stories," McVey told Reuters, sizing up the crowd. "I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they getting themselves into."
Tom Delonge has been speculating about aliens for years. According to Vulture, he quit Blink 182, the band he founded, years ago to "expose the truth about aliens," and he founded To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences "to advance society's understanding of scientific phenomena and its technological implications" — or, in simpler terms, to research UFOs and extraterrestrial life.
A tentative plan to build 20 miles of extra border wall in Arizona, on top of the already approved 100-plus miles, was put on hold Monday by the Pentagon.
Federal officials hoped to build the extra 20 miles of wall in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors. The Army Corps of Engineers said late last month that funds would come from other wall contracts that might cost less than expected. But those savings did not materialize, according to documents filed Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.