The U.S. military downplayed its role in border security Wednesday by saying it would no longer use the term “Operation Faithful Patriot.”
“We are not calling it Operation Faithful Patriot, we are calling it a border support mission,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said.
The U.S. Northern Command had been using that term to refer to the 45-day mission to send thousands of active-duty military personnel to support Homeland Security Department forces ahead of the arrival of a Central American caravan of illegal immigrants.
A U.S. official told ABC News that the change happened Tuesday at the request of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
According to ABC, citing two other officials, the term “Operation Faithful Patriot” can still be used in internal communications but not before the public. One of those officials told ABC the rationale is to emphasize that the military will be providing support rather than engaging in a “military operation” of its own.
The U.S. Northern Command Twitter account did not use such hashtags as #FaithfulPatriot #OFP and #OperationFaithfulPatriot on its Wednesday posts, despite at least one opportunity and the hashtags having been used on earlier appropriate posts.