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As US shifts military focus, Sec. Leon Panetta visits troops in Djibouti

NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news services report:

As the U.S. winds down operations in Iraq and begins its methodical withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. military has increasingly focused on Africa — particularly the north, where insurgents have found sanctuary.

The military base in the tiny port nation of Djibouti is the launchpad for U.S. drones used for intelligence, surveillance and, at times, strikes against insurgents in terror hotspots. The more than 3,000 U.S. service members assigned represent all U.S. military services, including 500 members of the National Guard, NBC News reported.

Read more: Hunt for terrorists shifts to 'dangerous' North Africa, Panetta says