THE PENTAGON — Any U.S. troops who assist civil authorities who come under attack by migrants will not be armed, Defense Secretary James Mattis clarified on Wednesday.
“There has been no call for any lethal force from DHS [Department of Homeland Security],” Mattis told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. “There is no armed element going in. I will determine it, based on what DHS asks for and a mission analysis.”
If border police came under attack, unarmed military police could respond, but they would be equipped with shields and batons, not firearms, Mattis said.
A reporter noted that Kelly’s cabinet order gives troops the authority to use lethal force, if necessary.
“I have the authority,” Mattis replied, noting that pictures of troops on the border show that they do not have weapons. “Relax. Don’t worry about it.”
Even though the order was not signed by President Trump, Kelly has the legal authority to convey the president’s instructions to the, Mattis insisted.
“He has the authority to do what the president tells him to do,” Mattis said. “He signed the memo out for the White House.”
Neither the troops’ mission nor the standing rules for the use of force have changed, Mattis told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. The roughly 5,700 active-duty troops in California, Arizona, and Texas do not have the authority to arrest migrants, nor are they tasked with law enforcement.
“There is no arrest authority under Posse Comitatus for the U.S. federal troops,” Mattis said. “That can be done, but it has to be done in accordance with the law. That has not been done, nor has it been anticipated.”
If U.S. troops detain any migrants who attack border police, the migrants would quickly be turned over to civil authorities, he said.
“There’s no violation of Posse Comitatus,” Mattis said. “There’s no violation at all. We’re not going to arrest or anything else. To stop someone from beating on someone and turn them over to someone else – this is minutes, not even hours, OK?”
This is not the first time active-duty troops have been deployed to the U.S./Mexico border, Mattis pointed outed. In the 1990s, Mattis was in led Marines who were dispatched to the border under President Clinton to help stop illegal immigration as part of “Operation Gatekeeper.”
In 1997, a Marine corporal shot and killed an 18-year-old goat-herder, whom he thought was firing at the Marines. Task & Purpose asked Mattis on Wednesday what steps he is taking to make sure another such incident does not recur.
“I’m not going to dignify that,” Mattis replied. “They’re not even carrying guns for Christ’s sake.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.
President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense
Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.
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Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.