Timeline for entries tagged “Civil-Military Relations”

A chronology of events related to U.S. border governance and migration

June 25, 2020

  • The Pentagon confirms that the Defense Department intends to keep as many as 4,000 troops at the U.S.-Mexico border through October despite no signs of an actual crisis. Most military backup will come from the Nationa Guard, which cannot engage in law enforcement activities but will help monitor the frontier, provide logistics, and offer transport to CBP personnel. There are currently approximately 5,500 troops deployed to the border.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Military Deployments

April 28, 2020

  • U.S. defense officials state that the Pentagon is actively considering reducing the number of troops at the southern border by September and replacing them with members of the National Guard. This would bring the deployment in line with previous military operations at the border by the Bush and Obama administrations. There are approximately 5,000 active duty troops deployed to the border.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Military Deployments

April 27, 2020

  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a memo to acting Pentagon Comptroller Elain McCusker, directs McCusker to “release funding associated with 22 currently deferred projects within the United States” totaling over $500 million to “enable the execution” of border wall construction. To fill the hole left by restoring the funds, Esper substitutes overseas projects appropriated by Congress, including $274 million worth of military construction projects in Europe intended to deter Russia.

Tags: Budget, Civil-Military Relations, Fencing

April 2, 2020

  • AP News and the Dallas Morning News report on the rural town of Columbus, New Mexico. The town, with a population of less than 1,500, faces an influx of border wall workers living in tightly packed trailers and filling local hotels. A report from the Southern Border Communities Coalition cites similar concerns, with border town residents fearing that deployed troops and construction workers and their non-compliance with local stay at home orders will cause an outbreak that will very quickly overwhelm local healthcare resources. 

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Fencing, Human Rights, Public Health

April 1, 2020

  • President Trump announces the launch of “enhanced counter-narcotics operations” by the military with increased “surveillance, seizures of drug shipment…and additional support.” Domestic military intelligence collection is an extremely controversial topic for the Department of Defense, which requires the National Guard to identify “intelligence” as “Incident Awareness and Assessment” (IAA) to avoid legal challenges. 

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

April 1, 2020

  • The Department of Defense officially approves sending 540 additional military troops to the United States’ border to assist CBP during the coronavirus pandemic. Like the approximate 5,000 troops already deployed, they are not to assist in law enforcement duties but to “increase CBP’s situational awareness [to] better mitigate risks of the coronavirus pandemic.” After backlash from Canadian officials, the Trump administration’s plans to send troops to the northern border were halted.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Public Health

March 26, 2020

  • Two U.S. officials tell NPR that the Pentagon is expected to send 1,500 additional troops to the nation’s borders with Canada and Mexico to further assist CBP in combating the coronavirus. Roughly 540 military personnel will be sent to the Mexican border. This brings the total military presence at the border to approximately 5,000 troops.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Public Health

March 23, 2020

  • The Pentagon announces they have “no plans to pull units off the border for coronavirus response.” The troops mainly perform services to support CBP because federal law prohibits the U.S. military from domestic law enforcement activities. Reports of some troops’ duties — including, at one point, painting a border barrier “to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall” — have led to criticism from lawmakers and former officials that the military is being used for the president’s political agenda. The Pentagon’s mission has cost over $500 million so far and nearly 3,000 National Guard troops remain at the border.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations

March 18, 2020

  • The ACLU’s National Security Project and Border Rights Center send a letter to the Secretary of Defense demanding that the administration publicly release the directives and guidance issued to troops at the border about their roles and duties, which should not include law enforcement activities. The administration initially justified the deployment of the additional 160 troops earlier this month in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision on the Remain in Mexico policy. While the Supreme Court has now allowed the policy to proceed, the troops remain at the border.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Remain in Mexico

March 10, 2020

  • The 160 soldiers ordered to the border as the ‘Crisis Response Force’ arrive from Fort Polk, Louisiana. They will be providing temporary police, engineering, and aviation support to CBP at the Paso del Norte port of entry in Texas and the San Ysidro port of entry in California. With up to 150 individuals in Ciudad Juarez, groups of asylum seekers with their lawyers waited peacefully in Mexico at ports of entry for CBP to comply with the ruling expected from the Supreme Court on the legality of the Remain in Mexico policy. 

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Migration, Remain in Mexico

February 25, 2020

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist visits McAllen, Texas, for a first-hand visit to the border. Norquist manages the U.S. Defense budget and emphasized that “border security is national security,” during his speeches to National Guard troops and CBP agents. He also visited several sections of the wall in the Rio Grande Valley.

Tags: Civil-Military Relations, Fencing, Rio Grande Valley