On Wednesday, the White House informed Congress that about 80 U.S. military personnel were sent to Chad to assist the search for the hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. They aren't combat troops, but most are Air Force service members sent to fly, maintain, and secure unmanned Predator drones, or as the White House puts it, "support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area."
The U.S. has already flown manned and unmanned aerial missions for 10 days over the forested region where it is believed Boko Haram is holding the girls. But those aircraft have had to fly in from distant airfields, limiting the time they can search for the girls. The U.S. is wary of working too closely with the Nigerian security services, which they consider corrupt and probably infiltrated by Boko Haram, The New York Times reports. But the U.S. does have 30 advisers in Nigeria — from the State Department, Pentagon, and FBI — to help track down the terrorist group.