With a short note  to the Congressional leadership, President Barack Obama announced last week that a total of 100 U.S. troops are now in Niger to “provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali.”
The Washington Post reported :
“A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to provide details about military operations, said that the 40 troops who arrived in Niger on Wednesday were almost all Air Force personnel and that their mission was to support drone flights.
“The official said drone flights were “imminent” but declined to say whether unarmed, unmanned Predator aircraft had arrived in Niger or how many would be deployed there.”
The Predator drones will be unarmed and carry out surveillance missions. But The Post noted that theadministration had not ruled out arming the Predators with missiles in the future.