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US troops are interacting with migrants every day at a Texas detention facility
Remember in November when then Defense Secretary James Mattis said U.S. troops assigned to the southwestern border were not expected to interact with migrants?
Well, they are.
NBC News first reported that active-duty troops are assigned to a a Customs and Border Patrol camp in Donna, Texas, where their job involves keeping an eye on the migrants being held there to see if any of them are suffering from medical problems.
"Despite past assurances from federal officials that the active-duty U.S. troops deployed to the border would not be in direct contact with migrants or be used for law enforcement, the service members stand watch over the migrants," NBC reported. "The troops are perched on raised platforms throughout a large room where the migrants are held, according to the four officials."
Officials from U.S. Northern Command confirmed active-duty troops are assigned to the camp, but they stressed that they were only there to help civil authorities, who are focused on law enforcement tasks, such as providing security.
"The work conducted by our military personnel reduces the number of CBP agents required to perform a variety of tasks so that those agents may instead focus primarily on their law enforcement functions," NORTHCOM spokesman John Cornelio told Task & Purpose. "CBP agents are always present to provide security and focus primarily on their law enforcement functions rather than performing health and welfare checks."
However, the troops' "ancillary" job is to let civil authorities know if they see any of the migrants acting strangely, Cornelio said.
In April, President Donald Trump hinted that he wanted the U.S. military to play a larger role along the southwestern border.
"I'm going to have to call up more military," Trump told reporters in Texas. "Our military – don't forget – can't act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy."
The Posse Comitatus Act prevents active-duty troops from enforcing civilian laws on U.S. soil without the president's authorization.
"Monitoring the wellness of migrants is not a law enforcement function, and this activity has been reviewed by our legal staff to ensure compliance with the Posse Comitatus Act and applicable law," said Maj. Mark Lazane, a fellow NORTHCOM spokesman.
Fewer than a dozen U.S. troops are assigned to the camp, Lazane said. None of the troops are billeted on site.
About 2,300 active-duty and roughly 2,800 National Guard troops are currently assigned to the U.S.-Mexico border, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Christian Mitchell.
Separately, the Supreme Court recently ruled the Pentagon can transfer up to $2.5 billion to build President Donald Trump's border wall. That money includes funds the Army didn't spend after failing to meet its recruiting goals and about $600 million that was supposed to go toward Afghan security forces.
SEE ALSO: US troops are going to make Trump's wall look pretty with fresh paint on a month-long working party
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The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.