WASHINGTON — When the number of U.S. troops stationed at the Mexican border is reduced next year, their duties are expected to shift from being on the border to flying above it.
About 1,200 troops now help Border Patrol agents spot illegal border crossers and human and drug smugglers. The office of Rep. Michael McCaul, a border state Republican, said Tuesday that number will be reduced. It is unclear how many troops will remain.
A federal official briefed on the new strategy said the reduced force will focus its efforts on aerial surveillance. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not been announced.
Lt. Col. Robert L. Ditchey, a Defense Department spokesman, said officials are still working out details of the future of troops at the border.
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