AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas State Guard to oversee Jade Helm 15, a military exercise scheduled to take place in Bastrop County this summer.
The operation involves 60 members and is scheduled to take place on private property in Smithville. They will use Texas roads and highways to get to 15 pieces of private property totaling more than 1,000 acres in Bastrop County.
The U.S. Army has said residents will have little contact with the military.
Abbott met with Maj. Gen. Gerald Betty, commander of the Texas State Guard at Camp Mabry, on Tuesday and directed him to monitor the operation, according to the governor’s office.
A letter from Abbott to Betty states he wants the Texas State Guard to monitor the operation “To address concerns of Texas citizens and to ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed about military procedures occurring in their vicinity.”
“Residents are questioning the exercise after map for the training exercise shows parts of California and all of Utah and Texas as hostile territories”
Abbott said he wants to make sure it doesn’t risk anyone’s safety or infringe on their constitutional, property or civil rights.
Some in Bastrop County are baffled why Jade Helm 15 is coming there for 60 days this summer.
“I was inspector general for the Secretary of Defense and I don’t understand it,” said Army veteran Ray Chavez.
According to an Army spokesperson, the weapons used in the training will not have real bullets in them. For some, that doesn’t matter.
“People are afraid [they’ll] take the weapons away. People are afraid [they’ll] take the freedom away,” said Bastrop resident Pedro Hernandez.
Senior military analyst Paul Floyd said the military is simply trying to train as realistically as possible and that the exercise should not cause concern.
Bastrop County residents are questioning the exercise after map for the training exercise shows parts of California and all of Utah and Texas as “hostile territories.”
Will this interfere with somebody’s life? No, I mean, this is purely training,” Floyd said. “It only sounds scary, because what the military does inherently is, they have to train to fight a war.”
Many residents are questioning why the military cannot do the operation on government or military property.