The Defense and Homeland Security departments are developing contingency plans to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border under a $350 million initiative that would expand the U.S. military’s role in the drug war, reports the Washington Post. The circumstances under which the troops could be deployed have not been determined. The proposal would give President Obama more flexibility to respond to drug-related violence that has threatened to spill into the U.S. from Mexico and to curb southbound smuggling of cash and weapons.
The proposal has raised concerns over what some officials perceive as an effort by the Pentagon to increase its counternarcotics profile through a large pot of money that comes with few visible requirements. The broadly worded plan does not mention troop deployments, stipulating only that the military is to receive up to $350 million “for counter-narcotics and other activities” on the border.