John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, testified to the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that there are currently three, large migrant caravans headed towards the United States, with at least one having around 12,000 people.
The new caravans, originating in Central America, were brought up by Ranking Member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX).
“For example, there are stories that there’s a new caravan that is forming in Central America and headed this way. In your conversations with them be ready to adjust to changes in the situation, don’t you,” Thornberry asked.
“Yes, that’s right and you’re correct. Current information shows a caravan of over 12,000 people. There are three that we are tracking,” Rood said. “The Department of Homeland Security is tracking en route and one of which is over 12,000 people in the latest estimate.
“And so yes, we do have to be flexible on those events as Admiral [Michael] Gilday mentioned the number of troops and the mix of them has varied over time and will need to do so and we do work very closely with DHS, CBP to understand the what they’re trying to accomplish more fully so we can source it and provide the type of assistance that will be meaningful,” he added.
The hearing comes as Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) has been opposed to President Donald Trump authorizing the deployment of active-duty troops to the U.S-Mexico border in response to the caravans.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday there will be an increase of “several thousand” more service members being deployed to the border.
There are currently around around 2,300 active-duty military members on the border already, with the number of National Guardsmen being around the same, according to Fox News.