WASHINGTON — One day after the election, the Pentagon is dropping the name “Operation Faithful Patriot” from the deployment of more than 7,000 active troops to the border with Mexico.
“In support of Customs and Border Protection, we are not calling it ‘Operation Faithful Patriot,’ we are calling it ‘border support’,” Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson, told TMN.
Davis said he could not provide a reason for the name change, which the Wall Street Journal initially reported.
Pentagon officials have chafed at suggestions that the deployment of active troops, which is larger than deployments to Iraq or Syria, was of a political nature. Instead, they have framed it as a matter of national security. Last week, when asked about the deployment, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters, “We don’t do stunts.”
The deployment of the troops is in response to thousands of migrants from Central America traveling to the U.S. border to seek asylum. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump again referred to the migrants — known as a caravan — as “an invasion” during remarks made at a White House press conference.
At least 5,000 active-duty troops have already been deployed to Arizona, California and Texas, where they are to support Customs and Border Protection agents. They are different than the roughly 2,100 National Guard personnel who were deployed in the spring to support CBP at the border with Mexico.
Their tasks include erecting additional barriers, barricades and fencing; providing medical and transportation assistance; operating command and control centers; creating temporary housing for Border Patrol; and providing personal protective equipment for border agents, Pentagon officials told reporters during briefings this week.