WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Ash Carter is flatly denying the frenzied Internet speculation that a U.S. military exercise in Texas is part of a hostile takeover.
Asked during a press conference about the Jade Helm 15 exercise and whether the Pentagon was planning to overtake Texas, Carter simply said "no" as the packed room laughed.
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has asked his State Guard to monitor the training exercise. Earlier this week more than 200 people packed a meeting in rural Bastrop County asking whether the government was planning to confiscate guns or implement martial law.
The three-month exercise begins in July and mainly involves about 1,200 Army special operations soldiers and other U.S. troops honing their combat skills. The military routinely conducts exercises all over the world.