Trump wants a larger, more aggressive mission for US troops at the Mexican border

US-Mexico Border Wall Time-Lapse

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."

SEE ALSO: The Army Just Awarded $976 Million In Contracts For Border Wall Construction

WATCH NEXT: Soldiers Pound ISIS Fighters In Syria From New Fire Base

U.S. Military Academy Class of 2022 conducted a 12 mile road march as family and former graduates cheered them on, concluding six weeks of Cadet Basic Training Aug. 13, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Matthew Moeller)

Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.

"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.

Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in their Bradley Fighting Vehicle during Marne Focus at Fort Stewart, Ga. during the week of Oct. 14, 2019 (U.S. Army photo)

Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 11, 2019. (Reuters/Erin Scott)

KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.

Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.

Read More Show Less
Ummmmmm what? (Twitter)

Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.

On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.

Read More Show Less

The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.

Read More Show Less