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Chairman of Joint Chiefs Visits Border

POSTED: Friday, April 17, 2009 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

SUNLAND PARK, N.M.--- The nation's top military leader says there are no plans to add military presence to the Southwest border, despite calls for troops by border state leaders.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his first tour of the border Friday since his term began in October 2007.

His visit has come on the heels of the violence in Mexico's border towns.

The purpose of his visit was to assess the needs of the Border Patrol, and act as a support to the federal agencies policing the border, Mullen said.

"I've got a commander here that I've wanted to spend time with to find out what his challenges and his concerns were and that's really the main reason for this visit," said Mullen.

Mullen's made it clear there are no plans, now, or even months into the future to send military forces to the border.

"For me it's important given my responsibilities to understand from the standpoint of those who have to execute the mission and i'll work hard in Washington to figure out how best we can support that as well," he said.

While we won't see more military presence here, the military is going to be helping the border patrol in a different way.

"We've learned a lot about how to share information, respond to networks in the course of the wars in the last several years, we look to possibly share some of those lessons learned," Mullen said.

Mullen also overlooks the Joint Task Force North, a military sect that supports homeland security operations.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the Dept. of Homeland Security for 1,000 national guard troops to be sent to the border two weeks ago.
He hoped they would take care of basic surveillance and administrative work to free up Border Patrol agents to make arrests in the field.

U.S. New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman have also asked for the same help and resources.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the Obama administration would still consider the option, but Mullen says, that's not likely.

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