SAN DIEGO — Six military bases in San Diego County will be used as logistics hubs for supplies and troops to help with securing the Southwest border following President Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he would deploy as many as 5,000 military personnel in response to caravans of Central American migrants making their way northward.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Naval Air Station North Island (Coronado), Naval Base San Diego and Naval Base Point Loma as well as Naval Air Station El Centro will participate in the deployment named Operation Faithful Patriot, officials said.
“They have been identified as base support installations – staging areas for troops, for helicopters to land and supplies to be distributed,” said Air Force Capt. Lauren Hill at Northern Command in Colorado.
Military troops will help with planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to the Northern Command statement.
Tasks will include erecting temporary vehicle barriers and fencing and installing light towers, barbed wire and concertina wire. Temporary housing and meals will be provided and medical personnel would be deployed as needed for patient care, the statement said.
“Operation Faithful Patriot” is expected to start on November 5 and last until December 15, the defense official said. The current plan is to send the additional active duty troops to Brownsville, Texas, Nogales, Arizona and likely near San Diego, California.
Asked Monday whether the administration was considering closing the southern border, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “we have a number of options on the table and we’re exploring those.”
The official said that while no final decision has been made, the commander of Northern Command, which will oversee the operation, has the authority to preposition forces. The troops will be deployed from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Campbell and Fort Knox in Kentucky and Fort Hood in Texas.
The official added that verbal orders went out this past weekend to some units and additional written orders are starting Monday. The official added that some troops were already moving and that their number could increase or decrease as needs are assessed.
The officials emphasized the troops will be at the border to support civil authorities and that they are not expected to come into any contact with migrants. If the troops carry arms, it will be solely for self defense, the officials said.
This deployment is separate from an ongoing National Guard effort to support border authorities with technical assistance. There are approximately 4,000 personnel authorized for that mission, but only 2,100 are currently in place, according to the Pentagon.
Asked why the President felt to compelled to send additional troops to do essentially the same thing, Sanders told reporters Monday that the “President’s number one job and number one priority is protecting the safety” of Americans.