U.S. Army Special Operations Command says that, contrary to reports circulating on conspiracy websites, it has no plans to invade Texas.
Some fringe websites have paraded a PowerPoint presentation, reportedly from USASOC, as evidence of Jade Helm 15, a series of military exercises across California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Texas. They say it will train the U.S. military to suppress American citizens rebelling in a coming military coup or civil war.
"It's a training exercise. Just a regular training exercise," Lastoria said.
A press release from USASOC describes the exercise as "routine training" that will take place from July 15 to Aug. 15, using mostly remote areas. The release admits that the size and scope of the mission sets it apart, but notes that multi-state exercises are common.
It will involve practice of "core special warfare tasks" according to the release, and the public "can expect nothing much different from the day to day activities." Traffic and noise in the area are cited as the most noticeable effect.
The documentation said the joint unconventional warfare exercise will consist of 1,200 service members, including special forces from all four branches, Marine expeditionary forces and the 82nd Airborne Division.
InfoWars cited audio from a public meeting in Brazos County, Texas, as evidence of an expanded mission. In the clip. posted on a local radio news website, retired Green Beret and military contractor Tom Mead explained the effort to local elected officials, and mentions that Mississippi will also see activity. Soldiers will have some local interaction: to simulate being cut off from support, troops will work to secure supplies from "local folks that have agreed to help us or hired role players." During his presentation Mead also said the exercises would be "similar but different" to the two-week final exam exercise for Green Berets in North Carolina that occur six times a year, differing mainly in scope and in the higher level of experience of the Green Berets, as opposed to trainees.
Nothing in the presentation (with slides marked "unclassified") contradicts the assertion that Jade Helm is merely a training exercise. It does note that civilian areas could notice some effects; one slide lays out some details of the "increased military presence," including the potential for noise complaints and noting that personnel may be carrying weapons loaded with blanks.
The release said the states utilized provide diverse terrain that replicates areas special forces often find themselves. Mead also echoed the presentation in saying Texas was chosen in part because of its friendliness to military, and stressed safety and communication with local government and the public.
Conspiracy websites painted language regarding civilian impact as revealing of the true nature of the mission: to prepare for abducting dissidents from their homes.
The presentation slides say the area was chosen for its large undeveloped tracts of land and low population density. Texas in particular was chosen as the hub of the operation because it has been traditionally military-friendly, easing the impact or alarm the forces' presence might impose on localities, according to the slides. There is also a slide outlining safety measures, including keeping local authorities and communities informed regarding exercises.
The headline on InfoWars reads "Feds preparing to invade Texas, list state as 'Hostile.'" Site founder Alex Jones said in a taped segment that it's likely preparation for military actions to follow an imminent financial collapse or the end of Barack Obama's presidential term. In another segment on the site, Joe Biggs — cited as a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq – said the exercises would prepare troops to "throw citizens in FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camps," citing as evidence the military's desire to train in an environment similar to where they will fight.