- The border mission for thousands of active-duty military personnel will no longer be called “Operation Faithful Patriot,” the Pentagon revealed Wednesday.
- The mission, highly criticised as a political stunt ahead of mid-term elections, will simply be called “border support.”
- The “mission status remains unchanged at this time,” US Northern Command told Business Insider.
The Department of Defence has downgraded the border mission for US troops, scrapping the name “Operation Faithful Patriot” and replaced it with “border support.”
“We are not calling it Operation Faithful President,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis told Business Insider, confirming an earlier report from The Wall Street Journal. “We are calling it border support.”
The Pentagon refused to offer an explanation for the decision to change the name, which was first introduced by US Northern Command. “The mission status remains unchanged,” NORTHCOM told BI.
The operation, announced last week, has already seen more than 5,000 active-duty military personnel deployed to locations across Texas, Arizona, and California with the possibility that as many as 8,000 troops could head south as migrant caravans march toward the US-Mexico border.
Troops have been running razor wire, constructing tent facilities, providing planning assistance, and training, NORTHCOM told BI Tuesday.
The largest troop deployment of the Trump presidency came as the president called the approaching streams of thousands of migrants an “invasion” and a national emergency requiring the advanced capabilities of the US military, a dramatic move that came in the days before the 2018 mid-term elections.
As troops are barred by law from law enforcement activities on US soil, the units deployed to the border have been relegated to a Title X support role, which involves constructing barriers, building bases, and offering logistics and other relevant assistance to Customs and Border Patrol.
Over the past week, there have been reports that the Pentagon is assessing a much lower threat posed by the migrants than that of the White House, which has, at times, characterised the migrant groups as roaming gangs of violent criminals.
The Department of Defence said Monday that active-duty troops deployed to the border will not receive danger pay, additional compensation for activities in a dangerous environment.
The name change for the military’s border mission, which critics have called a political stunt, occurred on Election Day. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who approved the deployment in response to a Department of Homeland Security request, responded to such accusations last week, saying, “We don’t do stunts in this department.”
Defence officials speculated to The Wall Street Journal that the decision to scrap “Operation Faithful Patriot” was made because the mission is not a true operation in the traditional sense of the word.