US transport planes are already ferrying French troops back and forth into Mali, but the real depth of US involvement in their invasion has yet to be decided, with US officials in discussion with the French on what they need and debating among one another just how much they can escalate their involvement in the near-term.
The latest proposal is for US refueling planes to get involved in the war, keeping the French warplanes pounding various towns in central Mali up in the air longer. Much of the debate centers on if President Obama would be able to approve the escalation without Congressional authorization.
Pentagon officials were also reportedly concerned about the open-ended nature of the war, saying that as the war drags on the US could be directly facilitating air strikes for a long, long time.
US refueling was a large portion of its involvement in the NATO war in Libya, providing the bulk of such support while other nation’s planes pounded western Libyan cities.