Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Tuesday, November 6, 2018 which is election day. Attached below you will find a copy of The American Legion’s Election Guide, which includes a list of veterans running across the country.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Reuters: Exclusive: Pentagon balked at U.S. border troops building detention facilities – officials
- Stripes: Active-duty troops sent to US-Mexico border are training for ‘a range of scenarios’
- The Hill: Trump’s use of troops at border could cost $42M to $110M, study shows
- Navy Times: Congressional candidate, a former Navy SEAL, chides ‘SNL’ comic over eyepatch joke
- TAL: National commander: SNL skit ‘crossed the line’
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Reuters: Exclusive: Pentagon balked at U.S. border troops building detention facilities – officials
4 MIN READ
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration discussed using the U.S. military to build facilities to house detained migrants as part of its new mission on the Mexican border but the idea was dropped after the Pentagon expressed doubts about it, U.S. officials said.
The disclosure by U.S. officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, illustrates the tension within the administration over using military resources to fortify the border against illegal immigration, a top election issue for President Donald Trump’s base.
Last week, the military announced that over 7,000 troops would go to the border with Mexico as a caravan of Central American migrants slowly heads toward the United States.
The U.S. military declined a draft proposal from the Department of Homeland Security last month to build housing for detained migrants during early discussions in the Trump administration about the military’s role on the border, the officials said.
By voicing its opposition, the Pentagon helped ensure that its mission was tailored to only providing support to U.S. government personnel on the border, U.S. officials said.
After initial discussions about the issue, there was no mention of troops building migrant housing facilities when the DHS later made a formal request to the Pentagon for help on the border, the officials said.
Asked about the proposal on Monday, the Pentagon declined comment on internal administration deliberations but added that it did not receive a request from DHS to build facilities to house migrant families.
Trump said last week he plans to build tents to house migrants, who would be held in those facilities while the U.S. government weighs their asylum request.
“We’re going to have tents. They’re going to be very nice. They’re going to wait and if they don’t get asylum, they get out,” Trump told Fox News.
General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of U.S. Northern Command, which is overseeing the deployment, told reporters last week that there were no plans at the moment for the U.S. military to build lodging for migrants.
“The requests that we have from the Department of Homeland Security and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) is to build (facilities) to support CBP personnel and our military personnel,” he said.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters more than 4,800 troops were already deployed near the border as of Monday in support of Operation Faithful Patriot, including 1,100 troops in California, 1,100 in Arizona and 2,600 in Texas. He anticipated that the number of active duty troops could reach 7,000 soon.
It was unclear how many of those forces had taken up missions on the border, which will include support tasks like building housing for Customs and Border Protection personnel and erecting barriers.
Americans head to the polls in heated elections
Manning said only military police would carry weapons and stressed that there were no plans for U.S. troops to come in contact with protesters or migrants. He said they would not be taking part in law enforcement activities like crowd control.
One U.S. official cautioned that a previous Trump administration request dating back to spring for U.S. National Guard troops to build facilities for migrants on U.S. bases was still being deliberated. But, the official noted, that was not expected to be part of Faithful Patriot and the timing of any such future mission was unclear.
Trump’s push to send the military to the border comes ahead of Tuesday’s mid-term congressional elections and has triggered sharp reactions, with critics calling it a political stunt that misuses U.S. military resources.
However, Trump’s effort has been embraced by Republicans running in the elections, in which illegal immigration is a top issue. The administration says it needs to harden border security as the Central American caravan heads north.
Stripes: Active-duty troops sent to US-Mexico border are training for ‘a range of scenarios’
By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 5, 2018
WASHINGTON – Thousands of active-duty troops are bolstering temporary barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border and training at nearby logistics hubs for issues that could arise as they support Customs and Border Protection agents protecting against immigration from Central America, a department spokesman said Monday.
However, Army Col. Rob Manning, one of the Pentagon’s top spokespeople, declined to describe in detail the nature of the training at established military bases in California, Texas and Arizona. He also declined to detail the rules for the use of force for troops supporting Operation Faithful Patriot, just days after President Donald Trump announced he had instructed the military that if people throw rocks to “consider it a rifle.”
“The [training] vignettes cover a range of scenarios that could occur,” Manning told reporters Monday. “But … we don’t anticipate that there will be that type of interaction” with migrants crossing the border illegally or seeking asylum.
By Monday, some 4,800 active-duty troops had arrived at the 13 logistics hubs that the Pentagon established to support the mission. Manning said the deployment would grow to 5,200 by Monday evening and more than 7,000 troops in the near future. The deployment of active-duty soldiers is in addition to roughly 2,100 National Guard troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border region since April to support CBP agents under the umbrella of a separate operation.
The deployment comes as a so-called caravan of some 3,500 Central American migrants arrived in Veracruz, Mexico on Sunday, some 600 miles for the U.S. border, according to The Associated Press. Leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has repeatedly described the group as a national security threat that includes “unknown Middle Easterners” and “fighters.” However, AP reporters traveling with the group have reported it is primarily made up of women and children who have said they seek asylum after fleeing violence in their home countries.
On Thursday, Trump warned the migrants that the military would be prepared to treat rock-throwing the same as wielding a rifle. On Friday, the president insisted he did not intend to imply individuals who throw rocks would be shot dead.
Manning downplayed concerns that American troops would be forced to use their weapons during the deployment. The troops are barred by federal law and Pentagon policy from performing any law enforcement function. By the nature of the mission, military forces are not expected to interact with migrants, Manning said.
“Our soldier always have the inherent right of self-defense,” he said. “They are well-trained, they are disciplined and they are proficient. … [When] they have to make a judgement call, our soldiers are disciplined to make the right call.”
Only military police officers will be armed during the operation, Manning said. The colonel could not provide the size of the MP force deploying. However, he said they would be tasked with providing security to other military troops conducting operations such as placing temporary barriers or razor wire along the fence, building temporary structures for CBP agents, ferrying CBP officials by helicopter throughout the region or providing medical support.
The Pentagon determined it would use active-duty troops for the new mission, said Tom Crosson, another Defense Department spokesman. Earlier Monday, Manning had said the Homeland Security Department had requested the use of active-duty troops. Manning did not answer questions about why active-duty troops were preferred over the National Guard. For decades, the Guard has taken on much of the burden when military troops were needed in the United States.
Manning said the large-scale deployment of active-duty troops, the largest single movement of forces since Defense Secretary Jim Mattis took office in January 2017, would not hurt combat readiness.
“We are an agile military,” he said. “We will adjust to make sure our readiness does not atrophy and we meet our global commitments.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon had not determined the cost of the deployment as of Monday, Manning said.
The Department of Defense will foot the bill for the operation, even as the military troops deploying are doing so only at the request and in support of the Homeland Security Department. Manning declined to comment further on the funding for the mission, saying that Pentagon Comptroller David L. Norquist was preparing a cost estimate.
The Hill: Trump’s use of troops at border could cost $42M to $110M, study shows
By Ellen Mitchell – 11/05/18 04:59 PM EST 211
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The Trump administration’s deployment of active duty troops to the U.S-Mexico border could cost between $42 million to $110 million, according to a new independent study.
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) estimates that it would cost between $112 and $143 per troop per day in operation and maintenance costs for the deployment, officially named Operation Faithful Patriot.
The use of military aircraft in the operation would cost an additional $136,645 per day, according to CSBA.
The Pentagon is on track to send 7,000 active duty troops to the southern border to stay through Dec. 15, but President Trump said he may order the military to send as many as 15,000 to meet a shrinking caravan of several thousand migrants traveling from Central America.
Trump last month directed the Pentagon to deploy active-duty troops to the border ahead of the midterm elections on Tuesday.
At the low end, the mission could cost $42 million, while the full 15,000 troops could run $110 million, according to the study.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday that the Defense Department has not yet determined the cost of the deployment, but is preparing a cost estimate.
“Our comptroller is working through that process right now, when we get to a point where we can provide a number we will certainly do that,” Manning told reporters at the Pentagon.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested active duty troops in support of the border mission, but DOD will pay for the operation, Manning said.
Manning would not say why the administration was using active duty troops for the mission instead of National Guard troops, nor would he specify the threat at the border, referring questions to DHS.
Under the Posse Comitatus Act, federal troops are largely prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement activities — except in the event of an emergency.
Roughly 2,100 National Guard troops are already at the border as part of Operation Guardian Support, which began in April, and is estimated to cost $182 million, the Pentagon said in May.
Past administrations have traditionally sent Guard soldiers to the southern border, including President George W. Bush, who ordered 6,000 Guard troops to deploy to Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas as part of Operation Jump Start in 2006 to 2008.
President Obama also ordered up to 1,200 Guard troops to the border in 2010 for Operation Phalanx.
Manning also downplayed the chance that troops would use force at the border, days after Trump said the military should treat rocks and stones thrown by migrants to “consider it a rifle.”
“Our soldiers always have the inherent right of self-defense,” Manning said. “They are well-trained, they are disciplined and they are proficient. … [When] they have to make a judgment call, our soldiers are disciplined to make the right call.”
Navy Times: Congressional candidate, a former Navy SEAL, chides ‘SNL’ comic over eyepatch joke
By: The Associated Press 15 hours ago
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HOUSTON — A Texas Republican congressional candidate has chided “Saturday Night Live” comic Pete Davidson for poking fun at the eyepatch he wears because he was badly wounded during his third tour in Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL.
Davidson said during Saturday’s "Weekend Update" segment that Dan Crenshaw, whose photo was displayed, was "kinda cool" but that viewers might be "surprised he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie." He added, "I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever."
Crenshaw, who is running against Democrat Todd Litton for an open suburban Houston district seat, replied in a tweet on Sunday, saying: “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”
TAL: National commander: SNL skit ‘crossed the line’
NOV 05, 2018
American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad expressed disgust that the comedian and producers responsible for a disgraceful joke about a wounded war veteran have still not expressed genuine remorse for the well-publicized incident.
“Dan Crenshaw is a class act who said that a ‘hollow apology’ was not needed after Pete Davidson mocked his eye wound on Saturday Night Live this weekend,” Reistad said. “I understand Mr. Crenshaw’s feelings on this, but a sincere apology is definitely warranted. Veterans fought for free speech but this certainly crossed a line. The joke was unfunny and frankly disgusting. Mr. Crenshaw made a tremendous physical sacrifice while serving as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. It is shocking that Davidson, NBC and the producers of Saturday NightLive tolerate such garbage.”