The Defense Department is sending 1,500 active-duty troops for a 90-day mission to help assist the Department of Homeland Security at the southwestern border, according to the Pentagon's chief spokesman.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that DOD would deploy the troops at the request of DHS to “supplement” U.S. Customs and Border Protection efforts.
“For 90 days, these 1,500 military personnel will fill critical capability gaps, such as ground-based detection and monitoring, data entry and warehouse support, until CBP can address these needs through contracted support,” Ryder said.
Military personnel “will not directly participate in law enforcement activities,” he said.
“This deployment to the border is consistent with other forms of military support to DHS over many years,” according to Ryder.
There are already 2,500 National Guard troops already assisting DHS at the border and the past three presidential administrations have sent U.S. troops there. But the latest deployment comes in advance of the May 11 expiration of a law permitting the United States to deny asylum and immigration claims on the grounds of public health, which could set off a new migration surge.
Ryder said during a press conference that the deployments will not impact the readiness of the active-duty force, though DOD is assessing other options for eventually replacing them with troops from the reserve or Guard forces.