Military-grade radar use approved to protect Northern Border


by Alex Grubb

Law enforcement agents protecting the Northern Border of Montana will soon have another tool to help combat illegal drug smuggling.

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security recently approved Senator Jon Tester's request to use military-grade radar.

The technology will be used to help catch small, low-flying airplanes that are used for cross-border drug smuggling.

The increase in the use of planes was discovered during a pilot program called Operation Outlook.

Tester says being able to use radar will help keep Montanans safe.

"If they get that implemented, then we can deal with what the border security problems are on the border–immigration, terrorism, drugs–and get a much better handle on it," Tester said. It may effect long term to be able to save us some manpower too, so it may be something we could actually save some dollars on if we get it implemented."

Tester says a recent Government Accountability Office report found that only 32 miles of the Northern Border from Washington to Maine was secure.