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Pentagon commander warns of 'alarming' number of drone incursions at US-Mexico border

Gen. Gregory M. Guillot said Thursday that there are probably over a thousand drone incursions at the U.S.-Mexico border every month, though the exact number is unknown.

Drone incursions on the United States' border with Mexico number in the "thousands," according to a senior Pentagon official.

Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., questioned Gens. Gregory M. Guillot and Laura J. Richardson at a Senate hearing Thursday, asking about the number of drones documented at the southern border and their risks to homeland security.

"The number of incursions was something that was alarming to me as I took command last month," Guillot told the senator. "I don't know the actual number – I don't think anybody does – but it's in the thousands."

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He continued, "I've talked to Customs and Border Protection, who are responsible for the UAS incursions on the border, along with DOJ. And they put the number at thousands." 

Budd pressed for what time frame Guillot was referencing in regard to the "thousands" of drone incursions.

Guillot responded, "I would say in probably over a month we could probably have over 1,000 a month."

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The general went on to say that while he is alarmed at the number of incidents and sees the national security threat only growing, there has not yet been indications that they are a risk for homeland defense.

Guillot additionally expressed concern with Chinese nationals crossing the U.S. border from South America.

"The number of Chinese that are coming across the border is a big concern of mine. In fact, in the short period of time that I've been in command, I've gone down to the southern border to talk to the agents and leadership about that. And then I've also spoken with the acting commissioner of the CBP on this subject," Guillot said.

Guillot continued, "What concerns me most about specifically the Chinese migrants is – one, that they're so centralized in one location on the border. And two, is while many may be political refugees, other explanations, the ability for counterintelligence to hide in plain sight in those numbers."

The general told the Senate committee that intelligence agencies have been sharing gathered information regarding individuals of Chinese origin at the border.

These reports on the "disposition" of apprehended Chinese nationals have been the subject of "frequent briefings" at headquarters.

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