It's Official: Mattis Is Keeping US Troops On The Border Through Christmas And New Year's

Bullet Points

The border mission with no name will continue past Christmas and through the end of January, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.


  • “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.”

SEE ALSO: Trump Says US Troops Are ‘Proud’ To Spend Thanksgiving Deployed To The Border

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less
Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Read More Show Less

QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.

Read More Show Less