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National Guard Presence At Border To Be Reduced

WASHINGTON (AP) - When the number of National Guard 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, R-Texas, 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 their 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 Guard troops at the border.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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