Along the U.S.-Mexico border, small teams of Marines are using a suite of advanced sensors and remote monitors to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in scanning the most vulnerable sections of the untamed border. These Marines belong to specialized units called Ground Sensor Platoons, and for over a decade have been quietly partnering with the U.S. Border Patrol to help agents catch drug traffickers and migrants who cross illegally into the United States from Central and South America.
Despite being infantry Marines, the weapons of choice for Ground Sensor Platoons aren’t bullets. The Tactical Remote Sensor System, or TRSS, is a suite of sensors, cameras, re-transmission devices and monitoring equipment that are used to track enemy movement. The sensors are sensitive enough to detect how many people may be walking nearby, what direction they’re traveling, and can even differentiate between different types of vehicles. Some of the sensors are equipped with day and night imaging capability, allowing Marines to identify the exact nature of their target. And like most equipment fielded by the Marine Corps, the system can take a beating: the Corps claims the sensors and relay equipment can operate autonomously for up to 30 days.
All of this makes the Ground Sensor Platoon an important partner to the U.S. Border Patrol. And despite some states withdrawing their National Guard units from the region during President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown earlier this summer, the Marines show no sign of slowing down: according to photographs released by the Department of Defense, GSP Marines have been in the field with U.S. Border Patrol as recently as March of this year.