By Jon Dougherty
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is fully on-board with POTUS Donald Trump’s ‘secure America’ policy of using the U.S. military to augment Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection agents as they deal with a crush of third-world migrants Democrats would love to turn into voters.
As reported byÂ Reuters, Shanahan traveled to an international port of entry in McAllen, Texas, Saturday as the Defense Department considers ways to continue assisting with border security.
â€œWeâ€™re not going to leave until the border is secure,â€ Shanahan told about two dozen border patrol officials.
Reuters noted further:
Shanahan was accompanied by another acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after a shake-up instigated by Trump, whose hard-line immigration policies have not stemmed a rising tide of migrants.
On Friday, the Pentagon said Shanahan approved the transfer of $1.5 billion to build more than 80 miles (130 km) of barriers on the border, part of a patchwork project after Trump failed to secure funding from Congress for a complete border wall.
Trump has been eager to have the U.S. military play a larger role on the border and, despite some criticism from lawmakers, Pentagon officials say they are looking to create a long-term plan for assistance.
Shanahan did say that the U.S. military presence along the border would not last “indefinitely,” but that it would certainly continue for many more months. That must mean the president has other border security plans that include the construction of new walls, meaning he’d need fewer and fewer troops to assist the Border Patrol and CBP.
A two-star (major general) has been tapped to work with the Department of Homeland Security to continue developing ways the military can assist federal border security officials, Shanahan said, adding he expected the flag officer to submit a plan within a few weeks.
â€œ(It is about) getting us out of this Ã la carte tasking where, â€˜Hey, we need 50 guys to do this, 50 guys to do that,â€™â€ a senior defense official told the newswire service on condition of anonymity.
The official said the idea was to look out over a timeline of at least two years.
â€œWhat weâ€™re hopeful to do is have, in fairly short order for the secretary of Homeland Security, a much more predictable, comprehensive plan for the next couple of years,â€ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford said earlier this week.
Currently, the military has deployed about 4,500 troops in a support role.
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