At a press conference held this Monday, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, head of the U.S. Northern Command, said the military was preparing to protect the southern U.S. border.
Called Operation Faithful Patriot, more than 5,200 soldiers are being deployed to the Southwest Border.
These active duty military troops add to the already 2,092 National Guard troops deployed in April. Their task is to “harden the points of entry and address key gaps in areas around the points of entry.”
O’Shaughnessy added that they are putting up concertina wire to cover 22 miles along the border where troops are already deployed– with enough wire to put up for 150 miles.
“We have enough concertina wire to cover up to 22 miles already deployed to the border. We have additional concertina wire that we can string, with over 150 miles available. Additionally, looking at where the reinforcers are needed so we can get it exactly where CBP wants us to put it.
“We’re also bringing three highly experienced and capable combat engineering battalions with expertise in building temporary vehicle barriers, fencing — and we’re bringing them in with heavy equipment which, as we speak right now, is line-hauling towards Texas.
“We’re bringing military planning teams that are already actively engaged with their CBP counterparts…We’re bringing three medium-lift helicopter companies in. These are aircraft equipped with the latest technology. They’re enhanced with optics. They have NVGs (night-vision goggles). They have sensors that will allow them to operate at night and be able to provide assistance to bring our CBP personnel exactly where they need to be, regardless of the conditions.
“We’ll be able to spot-identify groups and rapidly deploy CBP personnel where they’re needed.
“The helicopters will ensure the CBP agents can arrive in the most austere locations. They can fast-rope down if they need to. They can conduct and work their law enforcement activities. These aircraft will also ensure those agents needing medical assistance will be able to get that assistance when required.
“In addition, we’re bringing military police units. We’re bringing strategic airlift to bear. As we sit right now, we have three C-130s and a C-17 that is ready to deploy CBP personnel wherever they need to be at any time.
“We have deployable medical units. We have the logistical support. We have command posts. We’re bringing, again, command posts so we can combine with CBP, and we have combined command posts where our operational commanders will be working side-by-side to integrate our efforts.
In response to a question, O’Shaughnessy said, “Our orders are very clear. We are engaged. We’re here to support CBP. And we’re going to secure the border.”
O’Shaughnessy said the U.S. military will adhere to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the federal government from using the armed forces for law enforcement in most cases.
“Will those soldiers be armed?” a reporter asked him.
“The units that are normally assigned weapons, they are, in fact, deploying with weapons,” O’Shaughnessy replied.