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House Democrat Says 3,500 More Troops Are Heading To The US-Mexico Border
A top Democratic lawmaker was first to announce on Thursday that 3,500 additional U.S. troops are deploying to the southwestern border amid official silence from the Pentagon.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is "deeply troubled" that defense officials did not mention the upcoming deployment while testifying on Tuesday, Smith said Thursday in a statement.
"The members of the committee would have been extremely interested in discussing what the 3,500 troops going to the border in response to [the Department of Homeland Security's] latest request will be doing there," Smith said in Thursday's statement.
"This is a violation of the executive branch's obligation to be transparent with Congress, which oversees, authorizes, and funds its operations. It also raises questions about whether the department thinks the policy of sending additional troops to the border is so unjustified that they cannot defend an increase in public."
The Defense Department has not yet announced the deployment because it is still determining which units will be sent to the border, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
Currently, about 2,350 active-duty troops and a similar number of National Guardsmen are deployed to the U.S/Mexico border on a mission that is expected to last through September. They have been tasked with laying concertina wire and helping to support civil authorities, who are trying to prevent Central American asylum seekers from crossing into the United States.
President Trump tweeted earlier on Thursday that he was dispatching more troops to the border, "To stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country."
On Wednesday, Smith wrote a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan urging the Pentagon to be more forthcoming about deployments of active-duty troops to the border.
"Transparency from the department is essential in the execution of Congress' duty to exercise oversight," Smith wrote. "Yesterday, the Department was not transparent about the number of active-duty personnel needed for future support missions at the southern border. When given the opportunity to testify publicly about the mission at the southern border, the department baulked."
Shortly before Tuesday's hearing Shanahan told reporters at a Pentagon news briefing that "several thousand" more troops would be heading to the border, but he declined to say exactly how many.
"I'll leave it at that number," Shanahan said.
WATCH NEXT: US-Mexico Border Wall Time-Lapse
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.