A GAO report found that the Pentagon did not fully evaluate costs and effects on readiness associated with deploying troops to the US-Mexico border under Trump. The DOD developed rough, unreliable cost estimates and failed to fully disclose some costs, such as benefits for National Guardsmen and installation. DHS also disclosed that they would like troops to remain at the border for at least three years, though the mission is only approved through fiscal year 2021.
The number of U.S. troops deployed to the border to assist CBP is down from a peak of 5,000 to 3,600, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The drop has coincided with the expected end of Pentagon contributions to the border wall.
- 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.
- 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.