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EXCLUSIVE: AS MORE TROOPS HEAD TO THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER, DRONES DESIGNED FOR WAR COULD BE GOING TOO

A month before President Donald Trump withdrew Patrick M. Shanahan’s nomination to be installed as the permanent defense secretary, the former Boeing executive approved a Homeland Security request that would seemingly pave the way for more U.S. military drones to hover above the skies of the southwest border.

Next week, Pentagon officials will tap up to 1,000 personnel and six helicopters to head to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Defense Department confirmed to Newsweek. Drones and reconnaissance planes could be going with them, documents obtained by this publication show, as the militarization of the southwest border continues to grow.

The troops and military hardware are expected to arrive at the border around August 15 to backfill the gap created six months ago, according to a Pentagon spokesman. On Friday, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman also confirmed to Newsweek that the agency is expecting to receive the additional aerial support this month.

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Learn New Tricks for Old ISR Planes, Senate Says

Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft housed at Offutt AFB, Neb., are prime candidates for modern maintenance approaches that use additive manufacturing and predictive analytics, the state?s senior senator argues.

Offutt?s fleet of C-135-based ISR platforms, which entered service in the 1960s and 1970s, perform secretive intel-gathering missions in the Middle East and near North Korea, China, and Russia. But the reconnaissance stalwarts face problems ranging from failing hydraulic and pressurization systems to fires that were detailed in an Omaha World-Herald investigation last year.

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