Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan on Monday approved a Department of Homeland Security request for additional support at the US southern border, according to a Pentagon spokesman.
“DoD personnel will assist in driving high-capacity (Customs and Border Patrol) vehicles to transport migrants; providing administrative support, including providing heating, meal distribution and monitoring the welfare of individuals in CBP custody; and attorney support to (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” Lt. Col. Jamie Davis told CNN.
Davis said approximately “320 DoD personnel will be required to support the DHS request for assistance through September 30, 2019, at an estimated cost of $7.4M.”
CNN reported last week the DHS had requested 280 additional US troops and other logistical support for operations on the southern border.
The request comes after CBP released data showing there were more apprehensions on the US southern border in March than in any other month in more than a decade.
President Donald Trump told reporters earlier this month that he was “going to have to call up more military” to the southern border to address the historic increase in the number of migrant apprehensions.
Currently there are 3,000 active duty troops and 2,000 National Guard personnel deployed in support of border security.
“DoD personnel will not perform any law enforcement functions,” Davis told CNN. “In any situation that requires DoD personnel to be in proximity to migrants, DHS law enforcement personnel will be present to conduct all custodial and law enforcement functions, and provide force protection of military personnel.”
CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.