Royce: “But we can do more”

This morning at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Boko Haram and the terrorist group’s kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) called on the Obama Administration to utilize U.S. forces in a more robust “advise and assist” role to aide Nigerian forces in the search for the girls.  At the hearing, Chairman Royce noted that in this role, “U.S. forces – expertly trained to deal with hostage situations and in jungle environments – could help Nigerians with intelligence, planning and logistics.”  This afternoon, the White House announced that 80 U.S. troops have been deployed to Chad to support surveillance efforts in support of rescuing the girls.

Following the White House announcement, Chairman Royce issued the following statement:     

“I welcome this deployment of U.S. troops to support the rescue effort for these kidnapped schoolgirls.  These troops will be vital in generating actionable intelligence for the search.  This announcement on increased surveillance assets is a step in the right direction.  But we can do more.  U.S. security personnel should be in Nigeria advising and assisting those engaged in the rescue efforts; anything less would be insufficient in responding to the pressing threat that Boko Haram poses to the region and U.S. interests.

Note:  Two weeks ago, Chairman Royce sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calling for them to develop an approach to better assist in combatting Boko Haram.