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Official: Air Force’s ISR mission in Africa could expand

An Air Force MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial attack vehicle prepares to land after a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)

It’s possible that the U.S. mission to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in Africa could grow, said Lt. Gen. Larry James, the Air Force’s top ISR official.

In late February, President Obama told Congress that about 100 airmen deployed to southwest Niger to help provide intelligence to French forces fighting al-Qaida in Mali and other partners in the region.

“Depending how the threat evolves, how much we want to go after that threat with what, [the ISR mission] could expand in the future,” James said at an Air Force Association breakfast on Thursday.” ISR is absolutely key to executing those operations so we will continue to work closely with AFRICOM.”

The Air Force also flies ISR missions out of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti and from civilian airports in Seychelles and Ethiopia.

France continues to fight Islamic insurgents in Mali while al-Qaida makes inroads in Libya and elsewhere in Africa.

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