WASHINGTON - Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today included legislation in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that directs the Secretary of Defense to utilize the latest military technology to protect the southern border of the United States. The bill passed the House of Representatives Thursday by a vote of 322 to 96.

"My amendment calls for the Defense Department to use the border as a training ground for the latest military technology to address national security threats and detect, deter and dismantle transnational criminal organizations along the southwest border," Congressman Cuellar said. "The criminal groups in Mexico use tunnels to get under the border and ultra lights to fly over it. I want to use the latest military technology to detect and block these and other breaches of our border."

The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual piece of legislation that articulates the nation's defense policy, authorizes all operations of the U.S. Department of Defense and the country's armed forces, and sets priorities for all defense spending.

"These criminal groups use safe houses, couriers, and clandestine procedures to move goods and people over the border," Congressman Cuellar said. "I want to use the latest intelligence gathering and analysis techniques to uncover what they are doing and dismantle their operations.  The military technology available needs to be used to bolster our national security at the border." 

The legislation also directs the Department of Defense to report on the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to build Mexican strength to face these criminal groups in their country. The intent is to shutdown criminal groups on both sides of the border, and to increase the safety and security of both countries.