While meeting with Qatar Minister of State for Defense Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced he will be visiting the troops currently deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday.
"I’ll visit the border tomorrow," he told reporters.
“Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis embarks Wednesday, Nov. 14 on a one-day trip that includes stops in Texas and Wyoming,” the Department of Defense’s statement read. “In Texas, Secretary Mattis will meet with service members currently deployed in support of the Southwest border mission.”
“At F.E. Warren Air Force Base, WY, the secretary will attend a ceremony marking the beginning of the process to return of the Bells of Balangiga to the Philippines,” the statement added.
Mattis was also asked about the cost of the deployment since the price tag is still unknown.
“We’ll update you on costs as they become known,” he replied. “Obviously the units executing the border mission have got to report them up right up here. We are capturing the costs."
An updated list of the military units that have been sent to help secure the border and be in support of Customs and Border Protection was released last week.
“DOD has a long history of support for DHS and CBP in their mission to secure the U.S. border,” U.S. Northern Command statement read. “All units supporting USNORTHCOM's mission to support CBP will adhere to authorities, law and policy.”
Soldiers of the 62nd Engineer Battalion, @forthood, install concertina wire along the top of the Arizona-Mexico border wall as part of @Norad_Northcom's support to @DHSgov and @CBP. #CBP #BorderSecurity pic.twitter.com/sQlKSF58oc— U.S. Army North (@USArmyNorth) November 10, 2018
Check out the latest imagery on @DeptofDefense support to @DHSgov & @CBP along the Southwest Border. #BorderSecurity For more photos & videos of our support, go to: https://t.co/QTQpuA08hg pic.twitter.com/yQ1wDD3VjR— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@Norad_Northcom) November 13, 2018
The unit listing showed the deployment is mostly comprised of public affairs units, medical staff, engineers, headquarter element planners, and aviation elements to help transport CBP.
Col. Robert Manning, Director of the Defense Press Office, told reporters the only service members who will be armed during this deployment will be the military police officers who are there for force protection.
“Self-defense is an inherent right of a soldier,” Manning added, saying there is no plan for troops to be in contact with the migrants.