“The Secretary of Defense has approved an extension of the ongoing Department of Defense support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) response to migrant caravan arrivals,” Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in an email. “DoD support to DHS is authorized until Jan. 31, 2109.”
Roughly 5,400 active-duty U.S. troops are currently assisting civil authorities on the southwestern border, but it was unclear on Tuesday how many would remain there during the holidays.
The Army three-star general in charge of the border mission told Politico earlier this month that he did not expect active-duty troops to be deployed beyond Dec. 15, but Defense Secretary Mattis subsequently said not all of the troops might be home for Christmas.
“Some of those troops certainly will be because we can anticipate based on how many miles of wire the engineers have to place when we think they’ll be done,” Mattis told reporters on Nov. 21. “But some troops may not be, or some new troops may be assigned to new missions. This is a dynamic situation.”
Launched in late October, the border mission came in response to thousands of Central American asylum seekers, mostly women and children, who were headed toward the United States via Mexico. President Trump has often claimed without providing evidence that the caravan of migrants includes hundreds of known criminals.
The Defense Department has estimated that the mission will cost $72 million by Dec. 15. “I am confident that number will go up,” Mattis told reporters at the Nov. 21 press event. “Now I'm on the record, I hope you all heard me.”
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."