Approximately 2,000 additional active duty U.S. service members are expected to deploy to the southern border, many of whom will be used to build and reinforce about 160 miles of concertina wire, a U.S. official told ABC News.
At a Pentagon news conference on Tuesday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters “several thousand” more troops would head to the U.S.-Mexico border, joining about 2,350 already deployed across Texas, Arizona and California.
Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf/U.S. Army
“We are currently sourcing the units involved and there will be an increase of a few thousand troops,” a Department of Defense spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will provide more clarity on the numbers when we have it.”
The additional forces will bring the total number of troops to nearly 4,500, but that number will be temporary as some units are expected to return to their bases, the official said.
At the mission’s peak in December, about 5,900 service members were deployed. There are also about 2,200 National Guard troops who have been serving on the southern border since last April.
The additional concertina wire is part of the latest Department of Homeland Security request to the Pentagon for additional support, which was approved by Shanahan earlier this month. Since the fall, military engineers have already built approximately 70 miles of wire obstacles and placed movable barriers at 22 ports of entry in Texas, Arizona and California, according to the Department of Defense.
When the active-duty mission was first announced in late October, it was originally slated to only last 45 days, but has been extended twice. Now both the active duty and National Guard missions are slated to continue through Sept. 30.
Lance Cpl. Betzabeth Galvan/U.S. Marine Corps