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Pentagon pulls back from calling border mission 'Operation Faithful Patriot

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agents take part in a training exercise at the U.S.-Mexico border on November 5, 2018 in Hidalgo, Texas. Days before, U.S. Army soldiers put up razor wire at the same port of entry as part of 'Operation Faithful Patriot.' President Donald Trump ordered troops to the border ahead of midterm elections and weeks before the possible arrival of a migrant caravan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Pentagon has decided to stop referring to the military mission at the southern border as "Operation Faithful Patriot" in order to avoid giving the perception that it is a full-scale military operation, according to ABC News.

Now, it will just be called a "border support mission," which is more in line with what the military's role was always expected to be.

This is important because: Media coverage of the military deployment to the U.S.-Mexico border has, at times, criticized the use of troops as a heavy-handed response to incoming migrant caravans from Central America, which President Donald Trump maintains represent an "invasion." Ending public use of the name Operation Faithful Patriot could help avoid comparisons to missions like Operation Enduring Freedom, the combat mission in Afghanistan.

Support, not lead: An unnamed U.S. official told ABC News that the change is intended to "highlight that the military was not the lead for the mission, but was providing support to [Customs and Border Patrol] along the border. Another official said Defense Secretary James Mattis requested the name change.

Not engaging the immigrants: U.S. military personnel will not be actively engaging immigrants who come to the U.S. border, according to Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said:

"There is no plan for U.S. military forces to be involved in the actual mission of denying people entry to the United States. There is no plan for the soldiers to come in contact with immigrants or to reinforce Department of Homeland Security as they are conducting their mission. We are providing enabling capability."

What is enabling capabiity? The military will be putting up barbed wire, reinforcing ports of entry, providing medical support, and providing trucks and helicopter support, according to Dunford.

(H/T The Washington Times)

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