On a trip to a border city in Texas, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Saturday he intends to accelerate planning to secure the border and bolster the government's ability to accomplish that without the Pentagon's continuous help, the AP reports. Shanahan told reporters traveling with him to McAllen that he has instructed a two-star Army general, Ricky Waddell, to develop a plan soon that will answer this question: "How do we get more badges back to the border?"—a reference to ensuring Homeland Security Department is fully capable of securing the border, its core mission. Shortfalls in personnel and other resources have prompted DHS to periodically ask for the military's help on the US-Mexico border, without a plan for how to fix the underlying resource problems.
"What we want is for DHS to be effective and stand alone," Shanahan said, with the Pentagon always available to help in an emergency, as it has in the past. Accompanying Shanahan was the acting DHS head, Kevin McAleenan, along with other agency official. Shanahan dismissed any suggestion that active-duty forces, deployed on the border since last October and committed to being there through September, will extend their mission for the long haul."It will not be indefinite," he said. DHS on Friday submitted another request for Pentagon assistance, defense officials said Saturday. That request is for shelter for detained migrants, and would include tents to be set up but not secured by an undetermined number of military troops, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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