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.
(U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Alexandria Crawford)
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
(Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters)
CAIRO (Reuters) - After losing territory, ISIS fighters are turning to guerrilla war — and the group's newspaper is telling them exactly how to do it.
In recent weeks, IS's al-Naba online newspaper has encouraged followers to adopt guerrilla tactics and published detailed instructions on how to carry out hit-and-run operations.
The group is using such tactics in places where it aims to expand beyond Iraq and Syria. While IS has tried this approach before, the guidelines make clear the group is adopting it as standard operating procedure.