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Trump wants a larger, more aggressive mission for US troops at the Mexican border
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that to send additional U.S. troops to the southwestern border with Mexico — and he indicated he wants service members to do more than just build physical barriers.
"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 president did not explain what constraints on U.S. military behavior he was referring to apart from a vague mention of "all these horrible laws" he accused Democrats of refusing to change.
"I think they will pay a very big price in 2020 for all of the things, whether it is the fake witch hunt they start out, or whether it is a situation like this," he continued. "I think the border is going to be an incredible issue."
White House officials did not immediately respond to Task & Purpose questions about whether the president wants to expand the U.S. military's mission on the border to include law enforcement.
So far, the Pentagon has not received any request from the Department of Homeland Security for additional active-duty troops to support border and customs personnel on the U.S.-Mexico border, defense officials said.
Trump's latest comments come amid news reports that civil authorities are being overwhelmed by the number of migrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. In March alone, U.S. immigration officials apprehended or turned back more than 100,000 migrants along the southwestern border, CBS News reported on Tuesday.
The president's rising anger about the rising number of Central Americans attempting to cross the border and apply for asylum reportedly culminated in former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation on Sunday.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Wednesday that troop deployments to the border could last beyond this year.
"That's one of the things that the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and I have talked quite a bit about," Shanahan told reporters outside the Pentagon. "What I would say is as the situation there deteriorates, it's pretty elastic in terms of demand on us, so I would expect shortly here to have another request for assistance."
Shanahan has already approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to identify which Defense Department facilities could be used to lodge up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children this fiscal year if needed, said Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.
"At this point, there are no requests for housing," Davis said. "DoD is working with the military services to identify potentially suitable locations for such support to HHS."
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The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The Navy warship forged from World Trade Center steel has returned to New York for the first time in years
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.
When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.
J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.
"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.
"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."
In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."