Pentagon sending another 3,750 troops to Southwest border

U.S. Army soldiers are seen near the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna Texas in November 2018

U.S. Army soldiers are seen near the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna Texas in November 2018

The Pentagon is sending 3,750 additional US forces to the southwest border with Mexico for three months to support border agents, the Department of Defense said on Sunday.

The troops will support "mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019" and will install about "150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry".

The deployment will raise the total active duty forces to approximately 4,350.

"The Department of Defense will deploy approximately 3,750 additional USA forces to provide the additional support to CBP at the southwest border that Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan approved January 11", the statement reads.

These additional units are being deployed for 90 days.

The announcement is in line with what Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan had said on Tuesday when he provided estimates for the next phase of a military mission that has grown in size and length.

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The House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) questioned "why this is an appropriate use of the military's time and resources?"

The US is sending almost 4,000 soldiers to its frontier with Mexico for three months to "provide additional support" to border security and customs agencies, the Department of Defense has said.

"This is a violation of the executive branch's obligation to be transparent with Congress, which oversees, authorizes, and funds its operations", Smith added.

President Donald Trump confirmed that additional troops would be sent via a tweet on Thursday. There are also about 2,200 National Guard troops who have been serving on the southern border since last April. Instead, they assist in other capacities, such as manning mobile observation posts in which troops monitor for illegal activity on the border and then radio CBP agents if they detect any.

Earlier, the undersecretary of defense for policy, John Rood, told Congress that US officials are tracking three migrant caravans from Central America allegedly making their way toward the US-Mexican border, the largest of which is said to have over 12,000 would-be immigrants.

President Donald Trump, who has portrayed the situation at the border as a crisis, was expected to talk about immigration and his proposal for a wall along the USA border with Mexico during the annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

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