Active Duty Troops being sent to the border

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Active Duty Troops being sent to the border

A lot going on with this story, which is why I've held off discussing it.  

Take this for example, two stories I read yesterday but which are from this weekend:

President Donald Trump says he told the U.S. military mobilizing at the Southwest border that if migrants try to throw rocks at them, the troops should act as though the rocks are a “rifle.”

Trump made the comments Thursday in a speech on immigration at the White House. During his comments, he was asked if U.S. troops might fire on migrants:

“It’s the military. I hope there won’t be that,” Trump said. “Anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did ... to the Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico ... we will consider that a firearm, because there’s not much difference where you get hit in the face with a rock.”

And then that got walked back:

President Donald Trump said Friday that if migrants approaching the U.S. border throw rocks at U.S. military or border patrol personnel like they did with Mexican authorities, they will be arrested, not potentially shot.

Trump was clarifying his previous remarks from the day before and appeared to walk back the suggestion that he would authorize the use of lethal force against a rock thrower.

“[The military] won’t have to fire. What I don’t want is these people throwing rocks .... What they did to the Mexican military is a disgrace. They hit them with rocks. Some were very seriously injured, and they were throwing rocks in their face.”

“They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested, there are going to be problems. I didn’t say shoot. I didn’t say shoot. But they do that with us, they are going to be arrested for a long time,” Trump said Friday.

If you read the first quote, he never did say shoot.  I don't know why it got spun the way it did, but I'm including it here more to show that the situation is fluid.

Now I've seen positions ranging from people who think it is a VERY valid use of the military, to defend sovereignty, to folks who think it's the worst thing ever, and (incorrectly in my opinion) say it violates Posse Comitatus.  But regardless of how you feel about using troops that way, it's not as if it won't be a fairly good training environment.  Setting up concertina and defensive positions to block movement is pretty much right in our wheelhouse:

Manning downplayed concerns that American troops would be forced to use their weapons during the deployment. The troops are barred by federal law and Pentagon policy from performing any law enforcement function. By the nature of the mission, military forces are not expected to interact with migrants, Manning said.

“Our soldier always have the inherent right of self-defense,” he said. “They are well-trained, they are disciplined and they are proficient. … [When] they have to make a judgement call, our soldiers are disciplined to make the right call.”

Only military police officers will be armed during the operation, Manning said. The colonel could not provide the size of the MP force deploying. However, he said they would be tasked with providing security to other military troops conducting operations such as placing temporary barriers or razor wire along the fence, building temporary structures for CBP agents, ferrying CBP officials by helicopter throughout the region or providing medical support.

The DoD apparently did not think very highly of the idea of using troops to build detention centers, per Reuters:

The Trump administration discussed using the U.S. military to build facilities to house detained migrants as part of its new mission on the Mexican border but the idea was dropped after the Pentagon expressed doubts about it, U.S. officials said.

The disclosure by U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump’s base.

Last week, the military announced that over 7,000 troops would go to the border with Mexico as a caravan of Central American migrants slowly heads toward the United States.

The U.S. military declined a draft proposal from the Department of Homeland Security last month to build housing for detained migrants during early discussions in the Trump administration about the military’s role on the border, the officials said.

And, with the caravan still weeks out, cost estimates are flowing already:

The Trump administration’s deployment of active duty troops to the U.S-Mexico border could cost between $42 million to $110 million, according to a new independent study. 

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) estimates that it would cost between $112 and $143 per troop per day in operation and maintenance costs for the deployment, officially named Operation Faithful Patriot.

The use of military aircraft in the operation would cost an additional $136,645 per day, according to CSBA.

Now, I don't think one can put a cost on defense of borders.  That's a specific function of government actually listed in the Constitution, and in the broader scope of spending, it's not all that much.  And this isn't breaking down on partisan lines, as just today I read how the Democratic candidate for Senate in Arizona was saying she supported the troops coming there as well. But the story seems to be all the rage now, and again, they are hundreds of miles from the border.  Time will tell what happens when or if these 15,000 or so (as some estimates have it) actually make it to the border.  Let's hope that by then we've figured out a plan, including what the ROE will be,


Posted in the burner | 11 comments
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I can't understand why it would cost so much to deploy active duty troops to the border, they are paid 24-7 the only cost I foresee is the cost of gasoline and or diesel fuel, Tents can be set up and whatever needs to support those being deployed. The only thing I can foresee is the cost of helicopters using fuel and certain new equipment that could use electrical power.

I agree you pay the military no matter what day it is. Why the additional costs?

Remember Kent State! What could possibly go wrong?

I would rather see our troops protecting our borders than being sent to other countries where we don't belong, and that means most of the 130 countries we are in. Being the world's policeman is just expensive BS.

As far as the cost of putting our military on the border, think how many millions of dollars has been spent by Mueller and hs gang trying to find some excuse to find something on our President.

There is no issue with Posse Comitatus on the International Border. See the exchange between Sen Lindsey Graham and Nominee Kavanaugh during confirmation hearings. The PC has to do with military enforcing civil law within the community at large, eg your hometown mall, etc. Generally, National Guard is exempt from PC. Anyone entering the country illegally can be viewed as an enemy combatant or saboteur, or spy. Perhaps, distasteful, but they can be shot. Precedent: They have been executed.

As far as the cost of putting our military on the border, think how many millions of dollars has been spent by Mueller and hs gang trying to find some excuse to find something on our President.

Sounds like the Cuban boat lift. Had an MP friend who was there. He said military got involved there. At White Sands Missile Range we, the MP'S were always involved with the boarder patrol and if we had not been involved there would have been a lot (more) dried up illegals in the 200 miles of missile range. And yes rocks hurt! One MP while I was there got hit in the face with one and broke his nose.

Sending troops to the border creates many troubling issues. If they were somehow given authority to shoot unarmed migrants, they would be in conflict because that would be an unlawful order. I feel that our current troops are as professional as we were when we served actively. They would not shoot unarmed civilians because that is just plain wrong. Sure, they can put up razor wire and other barriers but they can not legally or ethically detain, harass or harm civilians. If this was truly an ARMED invasion, the mission would be clear and our troops would be able to accomplish their mission honorably. Instead, they are being put in harms way with an unclear objective. That's not how our troops should be treated. They are already experiencing multiple deployments overseas, Now, when they are supposed to be home, recuperating and preparing for the next deployment overseas, we send them to the border without a clear mission for the holidays.

Just let them all in.

We're done. We've been done.

“I didn’t say shoot, I didn’t say shot” after saying “...we will consider that a firearm” - so your position is President Trump is what a liar, idiot, or fool? Come on buddy, his intent was for troops to fire on unarmed people. Help us lesser mortals understand Trump World, are there Unicorns, free beer, naked women (or men) there - what? How can you Trumpettes always find an excuse our Commander-in-Chief?

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.