The Pentagon has been activating troops to assist Customs and Border Protection on the U.S.-Mexico border since 2018. Looking ahead to 2024, that mission is slated to continue — with up to 2,500 troops deployed to the region.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in June extended the mission through September 2024, opting to continue sending troops to support the surveillance of border crossings.

“Active duty military personnel will continue to support CBP personnel by providing administrative and logistical duties, including warehousing support and additional detection and monitoring support efforts,” U.S. Northern Command spokeswoman Capt. Mayrem Morales told Military Times.

The current NORTHCOM commander has said repeatedly that CBP needs to be adequately funded so that the Homeland Security Department does not have to continue to rely on the Pentagon for support.

“I think, long term, this is not an enduring mission of the Department of Defense,” Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last year. “We need to fully fund and resource DHS to do their mission, and the DoD should be used in extremis times for the support on the border mission.”

Customs and Border Protection has repeatedly declined to respond to Military Times queries on plans to adequately staff the agency to levels that make military support unnecessary.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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