U.S. Mobilizes Over 5,200 Troops to Southern Border in Security Operation.
On Monday, October 29, 2018 the U.S. Air Force released the first video of C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft deploying with full-time U.S. military troops to the United States/Mexico border in support of Operation Faithful Patriot. The video shows units of the 3rd Airlift Squadron of Dover Air Force Base and 61st Airlift Squadron of Little Rock, Arkansas loading cargo and personnel at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
According to an official statement, U.S. Northern Command General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy told media that Operation Faithful Patriot is deploying regular, full-time U.S. military units to the region, “To harden the southern border”. The arrival of regular military units will augment National Guard units and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol operations already in the southern frontier region.
Units shown in the video include the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police Brigade. It is likely the Headquarters Company of the 89th Military Police has been forward-deployed prior to the arrival of other elements of the unit as an advanced party to establish logistics in the region prior to the arrival of the remaining unit.
The border region between Mexico and the United States has become increasingly volatile due to an increase in narco-trafficking and illegal immigration. The city of Juarez, Mexico on the U.S./Mexican border has seen a significant spike in narco-insurgent violence. On June 23, 2018 alone, 20 people were killed in a single attack by gunmen. In another narco-insurgent attack in a barber shop that same day, five more people were killed. During the first six months of 2018, over 500 people have been reported killed in narco-insurgent violence in Juarez, which borders the Texas city of El Paso across the Rio Grande River forming a natural buffer zone between the two countries.
According to the local news outlet, “The El Paso Times”, the “Number of monthly deaths have more than doubled from earlier this year” in Juarez.
Statistics tabulated by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for 2010 showed 2,956 deaths in Mexico in the ongoing narcotics conflicts while that same year 2,158 were reported killed in the civil war in Somalia.
Analyst Scott Stewart, Vice-President of Tactical Analysis for Stratfor, the international intelligence think-tank, said in an August 14, 2018 analysis that, “Hot wars among Mexico’s cartel groups are feeding the country’s record number of homicides. The carnage can be found in border towns such as Tijuana, Juarez and Reynosa; in drug production areas such as Guerrero state; at retail drug sales points such as Mexico City and Cancun, and at hot spots for petroleum theft such as Guanajuato”.
The airlift deployment of U.S. regular military troops to the region also coincides with the anticipated arrival of “several thousand” migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and other Central American nations that are moving north through Mexico toward the U.S. border.
The deployment of active military troops to the region during a crisis is not unprecedented. According to a report in the BBC World News on October 29, 2018, “President Barack Obama sent some 1,200 National Guard soldiers to guard the boundary, while President George W Bush deployed about 6,000 troops to help Border Patrol in what was called Operation Jump Start.”