U.S. to spend $1.4B strengthening overseas Predator drone base

The United States is investing upwards of $1.4 billion in new funds to expand and strengthen its premier military base in the war on terrorism located in the Horn of Africa, reports the Washington Post.

Camp Lemonnier, a former French Foreign Legion outpost in Djibouti, currently serves as a major combat base for the U.S. war on counterterrorism with approximately 16 drone flights and 4 fighter jet flights daily to conduct reconnaissance missions or carry out armed strikes on al Qaeda targets in Somalia to the south or across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen on the Arabian peninsula, the story said.

The 500-acre compound, which the United States leases for $38 million per year from the Djiboutian government, is the busiest Predator drone facility outside of Afghanistan, the story said. The compound houses about 3,200 U.S. troops, civilians and contractors, who are stationed at the camp to conduct various types of support, including training foreign forces, gathering intelligence data and distributing humanitarian aid across East Africa as part of a campaign to offset extremist influences.

A plan that the Defense Department submitted to Congress in August indicates that the $1.4 billion would be spent on various construction projects at Lemonnier such as a brand new compound to house up to 1,100 Special Operations troops, new joint headquarters, airfield upgrades and new hanger for manned and unmanned aircraft, the story said.

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