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 that more than 7,000 troops will be positioned in California, Arizona and Texas in support of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection. In which case, the border mission, will have a larger U.S. military footprint than the combined efforts in Iraq and 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 that would 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 that the price tag for the troop deployment is shaping up to have a cost of $220 million, according to two U.S. defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly.