November 02, 2018

The Mission Creep of Sending Troops To The US-Mexico Border

By Emma Moore

The current plan to send at least 7,000 active-duty U.S. troops to the southern border for Operation Faithful Patriot undermines Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ entire defense strategy for the military.

Admittedly, while the current mobilization effort is due to the current political climate and commander-in-chief’s penchant for theatrics, it is another example of how politicians and presidents have an increasingly expansive view of the role of the military. While presidents have occasionally sent troops to guard the U.S. border with Mexico, it exemplifies mission and role creep of the U.S. armed forces and a trend Mattis has attempted to do away with. This particular mobilization raises a few issues: the ongoing use of military resources for things other than war and deterrence.

Of particular note is Operation Faithful Patriot’s mobilization of active-duty troops rather than additional National Guard troops. There is an existing security mission to the border, called Operation Guardian Support, which has assigned 2,100 troops to the border with up to 4,000 Guard troops authorized. This operation primarily provides air support for counter-narcotics efforts. Due to constraints of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents U.S. troops from engaging in military or law enforcement actions on U.S. soil outside of military installations, the existing NG and new active-duty troops will be in support roles only.

‘Support’ may seem benign, but it points to the larger issue of how the military is and should be employed both domestically and internationally.

Read the full article in Task & Purpose.

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