Pentagon officials on Monday assured Texas residents that upcoming military exercises in the state are not part of a plot to take over Texas, despite conspiracy theorists’ concerns that the U.S. will impose martial law in the state.
Defense officials rejected the “wild speculation” about the “Jade Helm 15” exercise, which prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to order the Texas State Guard to oversee the exercises.
“Operation Jade Helm poses no threat to any American’s civil liberties,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told McClatchy. “Operation Jade Helm is being conducted by Americans – by, specifically, American special forces personnel.”
Warren said that the military coordinated the exercises with land owners and public officials in multiple states.
“In every case, extensive coordination has been completed with whoever’s responsible for that land,” Warren said. “In the case of private land, we’ve spoken and made detailed coordination with the patriotic Americans who have volunteered their land for the use of this important training.”
The Texas State Guard said on Monday that the unit will follow Abbott’s orders to oversee the Jade Helm exercises.
Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, a spokeswoman for the state guard, told McClatchy that they “are in the process of examining the best way to meet the governor’s intent.”
Abbott on Monday defended his decision to have the Texas State Guard oversee the military exercises and said he wanted to be a “communication facilitator” between the military and concerned Texans.