Some of the mothers of the kidnapped schoolgirls sit in Chibok, Nigeria on May 18, 2014.
President Obama on Wednesday deployed about 80 Armed Forces personnel to Chad to help find the Nigerian schoolgirls who have been missing since April.
However, the personnel, whose deployment Obama announced in a "War Powers Notification" letter that he sent to Speaker of the House John Boehner and the president pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy, are not "boots on the ground." Their main priority is to work on drones — not walk through a forest to search for the missing girls.
“The military personnel sent to Chad are simply there to launch, recover, and maintain unmanned aerial systems; that’s their bailiwick, Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a Defense Department spokesman, tells Mashable. "I assure you their passion is simply ensuring the aircraft can spend maximum time searching for the abducted schoolgirls; these troops will remain at an airstrip in Chad.”
The news came as ABC reported that the U.S. had moved "additional unarmed Predator aircraft" into the country to fly longer surveillance missions over NE Nigeria.
Chad, which borders Nigeria's east, provides easy access from the skies to the region where officials suspect the Islamic militant group Boko Haram is keeping nearly 300 kidnapped girls.
Earlier this month, the U.S. sent an interdisciplinary team to Abuja, Nigeria to aid in the search. At the time, a Pentagon spokesperson told Mashable that “military personnel will not physically search for the girls or Boko Haram” in Nigeria — and Wednesday's announcement continues to fit that statement.
Some have called for Obama to send actual troops into Nigeria, including Senator John McCain in a May 13 interview with The Daily Beast, who said he'd deploy the troops "in a New York minute."
“If we rescued these young girls, it would be the high point of the [President Obama’s] popularity,” McCain said.
The girls have been missing since April 15 when militants stormed their school in the northern Nigerian city of Chibok and kidnapped them at gunpoint. Some of them escaped.
Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau had previously claimed that the girls have converted to Islam, and they will not be released until some of the group's prisoners in Nigeria are freed in return.
A global effort is now underway to find the girls and bring them home.
A letter from the President to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate consist...
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