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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest on the Ebola crisis. Plus, reporter Matt Bai on scandal that changed political journalism.

The latest on the Ebola crisis. Plus, reporter Matt Bai on scandal that changed political journalism.

May 7th, 2014
04:51 PM ET

U.S. military personnel heading to Nigeria

(CNN) – U.S. officials pressed ahead with plans to provide Nigeria with law enforcement assistance and military consultations, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"Obviously, this is in the interest of the Nigerian government to accept every aspect of our assistance," she said. "They conveyed that they were willing to do that yesterday and it continues to be in their interest to be as cooperative as possible."

U.S. officials will establish a "coordination cell" to provide intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiation expertise, Psaki said. The cell will include U.S. military personnel.

The joint coordination cell will be established at the U.S. Embassy in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the work is expected to begin immediately.

The Pentagon has started planning for how it can help Nigeria, a senior U.S. military official told CNN. U.S. military assistance will likely be limited to intelligence, mission planning and hostage negotiations, several officials told CNN. It's unlikely at this point that U.S. troops would be involved in operations, the officials said.

British officials will send a small team of experts to complement the U.S. team, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday. The spokesman didn't specify the nature of the team's expertise.

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