Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Pentagon plans to deploy about 1,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border by the start of March, the Defense Department said Friday.
Those additional personnel will be tasked with applying barbed wiring to existing border fences, Defense Department officials said at a briefing Friday, The Washington Post and The Hill reported. It will bring the number of troops at the border to about 6,000.
"That mission has evolved," a senior defense official said. "We are now transitioning to supporting [areas] between the ports of entry. We're laying down another 140 miles of concertina wire -- [we're] about 30 percent done with that -- as well as providing a ground-based detection and monitoring mission in support of CBP."
Military personnel at the border have already installed about 70 miles of wiring, in addition to reinforcing ports of entry and medically treating migrants, a senior defense official said.
Trump has made border security a hallmark of his administration. The longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, which ended earlier this year, resulted from his demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.