Pentagon drops ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’ as name of military mission at border

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The Pentagon is no longer referring to the U.S. military mission at the U.S.-Mexico border as “Operation Faithful Patriot,” a Defense Department spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

Pentagon officials now refer to the deployment of more than 7,000 active duty troops as “border support,” Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis told The Hill.

Davis said the name change has been in place for “a couple of days,” but did not give the reason for it.

{mosads}The Wall Street Journal reported that the active duty troops – deployed to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the 2,100 National Guard soldiers already at the border – were in support of border authorities and not part of an actual operation. The military typically refers to combat missions as operations.

The Journal also reported that Defense Secretary James Mattis’s office made the decision to drop the name and issued the order on Election Day.

President Trump last week directed that the Pentagon deploy the U.S. troops to the southern border in anticipation of a shrinking caravan of several-thousand Central American migrants making its way by foot through Mexico to the United States. The group is still several weeks away from reaching the border.

The name drop comes after widespread criticism that the deployment was a political stunt for the Trump administration, intended to gin up fervor among his base of supporters ahead of Tuesday’s midterm election.

Trump has said that as many as 15,000 troops could be deployed.

Pentagon officials have said the troops will not directly interact with the immigrants approaching the U.S. border, and instead will focusing on assisting Border Patrol staff to fill in gaps in physical barriers along the border.

The president last week suggested U.S. troops might fire upon migrants who throw rocks, but later walked back those remarks.

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