The Niger government allowed the United States military to arm its drones in the region as of late November.
The country’s defense officials had stated that the US military had been waiting to be granted the authority to arm drones months before the attack on soldiers that lead to the death of four American soldiers. After the ambush on American soldiers, the Niger government was more willing to arm US drones so that the military could better protect themselves.
General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, said that drones were able to arrive at the scene within minutes of soldiers asking for backup, but because the military did not have the authority to arm its drones, the drones could do little to protect soldiers.
The US military has been unclear with regards to whether or not commanders have had to conduct drone strikes in the region.
Major Audricia Harrias, a representative of the Pentagon refused to speak about the specifics of the permissions that the Niger government granted the US military, but she did say that the two countries are working together very well and that there is a strong alliance between them.
She said that both governments are working together to stop terrorism, because terrorists have had their eye on the region as a potential safe haven for their organizations. Harris said her lack of details were a result of security concerns.
A new drone base is being built in Agadez, Niger, with hundreds of US soldiers spearheading the effort. The Agadez base is expected to be beneficial for troops in the region. Currently, the only drone base in the region is found near an airport in Niamey.