So now that the president has realized what an effective practice using drones is, he has stepped it up and is now building a drone base in Niger. The new base will be used for surveillance missions in the latest efforts by the president to help the French in their efforts to battle Islamic militants in neighboring Mali. The U.S. has now deployed 100 troops to the West African nation of Niger.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Obama said the deployment would “provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region.”
The last 40 American troops in the deployment arrived in Niger on Feb. 20 with the consent of the government, Obama said.
A senior U.S. officer described the troops as a security unit that will protect crews flying and maintaining U.S. Air Force drones now operating from an airfield near the capital, Niamey. The force includes drone pilots, intelligence liaison officers and aircraft maintenance personnel, the officer said.
“We’re basing drones there to help the French, and this deployment is the security element,” the officer said.