- The Washington Times - Monday, June 2, 2014
The Pentagon is seeking permanent funding for a fleet of communications drones and modified business jets to aid U.S. troops operating in the mountains of Afghanistan in the coming years.

The manned and unmanned aircraft will provide visual and audio support to troops in locales where radio signals are blocked. The Pentagon has employed the “Battlefield Airborne Communications Node” system in Afghanistan since 2009, according to Air Force Magazine.

Air Combat Command, one of the Air Force’s 10 major commands, is leading the push for permanent funding, the service said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of President Obama’s plan announced last week to end the U.S. military’s combat mission role in Afghanistan while maintaining a contingency force of 9,800 troops in the country beyond 2014.

Mr. Obama said that, by the end of 2015, the United States will have cut its military presence in Afghanistan by half.