Mattis heads to US-Mexico border to visit troops awaiting migrant caravan

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis along with President Donald Trump are seen following a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2017.

DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis along with President Donald Trump are seen following a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2017.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense James Mattis will travel to Texas on Wednesday to visit troops currently deployed in support of the Southwest border mission.

Mattis’ trip comes amid a significant active-duty troop presence along the U.S. border with Mexico to deter a caravan of migrants seeking asylum.

The Department of Defense estimates which more than 7,000 troops will be positioned in California, Arizona along with Texas in support of the Department of Homeland Security along with Customs along with Border Protection. In which case, the border mission, will have a larger U.S. military footprint than the combined efforts in Iraq along with Syria.

What’s more, President Donald Trump said he was prepared to deploy as many as 15,000 service members to the border, a move which could be on par with the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan, which remains America’s longest war.

“I’ll visit the border tomorrow,” Mattis told reporters Tuesday before meeting his Qatari counterpart at the Pentagon. “We’ll update you on costs [associated with border mission] as they become known,” he added.

Last week, CNBC learned which the cost tag for the troop deployment is actually shaping up to have a cost of $220 million, according to two U.S. defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly.

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