American and Mexican air forces are in the midst of a two-day military drill, focusing on illicit air traffic along the countries’ shared border in the southwest United States.
Units from the North American Aerospace Command, U.S. Northern Command and Mexico National Defense Forces kicked off the exercise, dubbed Amalgam Eagle, on Tuesday, according to an Air Force statement.
The drill is “designed to enhance mutual warning and information sharing procedures in support of a cooperative response to an illicit flight that crosses the border,” service officials said.
The exercise commenced with forces from both countries attempting to track and intercept an illegal aircraft flying through American and Mexican airspace, in conjunction with officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration and members of those agencies’ Mexican counterparts.
The training scenarios utilized during the two-day war game will focus on coordinating “various aircraft capable of detection and interception, the deployment of observers to locations in Mexico and the United States, and the validation of communications channels” tied to military-led border security operations, Air Force officials said.
“Planning for the exercise was conducted with full respect for the sovereignty of each country,” the officials said.
The drills come as the Pentagon is pressing forward on work at two U.S. military bases to house upwards of 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children.
Fort Bliss and and Goodfellow Air Force Base have been pegged to house the children, at the request by officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. military officials were also considering several additional military installations to assist HHS efforts, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters last week.
The new iteration of the military exercises between the U.S. and Mexico also coincides with the White House’s decision to cancel longstanding military drills on the Korean Peninsula.
The Trump administration last month officially ordered the Pentagon to suspend Ulchi Freedom Guardian, the joint military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea that had been scheduled for August.
“Consistent with President Trump’s commitment and in concert with our Republic of Korea ally, the United States military has suspended all planning for this August’s defensive ‘war game,’” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a June statement.
“We are still coordinating additional actions. No decisions on subsequent wargames have been made,” she said.
Mr. Trump called for the end of joint military drills with South Korea after a landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June.
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