US Establishes RPA Base in Niger

A team of 100 US military personnel, mostly airmen, is operating unarmed remotely piloted aircraft out of Niamey, Niger, in support of intelligence-gathering efforts in the region, announced Defense Department officials. President Obama on Feb. 22 notified Congress that the last of these personnel had deployed to Niger, states the Pentagon’s release on that same day. “This deployment will 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,” stated Obama in his letter to lawmakers, according to the release. US Africa Command recommended placing RPAs in Niger; Niger consented, signing an agreement last month with the United States on the status of American forces in Niger, states the release. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)