Military exercise sparks fears among Texas archconservatives

BASTROP, Texas (AP) — A summer military training exercise that has aroused alarm among archconservatives who believe it could be a precursor to martial law and firearms confiscations is set to begin in Central Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged that panic when he directed the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 starting Wednesday near the town of Bastrop, 30 miles southeast of Austin.

Texas is one of two "hostile" territories for the purpose of the exercise.

The State Guard will brief Abbott's office every day on the exercises. Civilian volunteers say they plan to shadow military movements statewide.

Jade Helm 15 will cover seven Southwestern states and wraps up in September.