The US Army has been quietly conducting a secret flight operation in and around Washington DC for months, judging from recently released fiscal documents. US military experts have outlined the possible goals of the clandestine mission and the agencies behind it.
On 22 July, Bloomberg revealed that at least 10 Black Hawk helicopters are involved in conducting “a classified flight mission” in the National Capital Region (NPR), citing a $2.5 billion Army reprogramming request.
According to the document, the Pentagon asked the US Congress to allocate an additional $1.55 million for aircraft maintenance, aircrews, travel, and a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) capability in support of the mission.
”Soldiers from assault helicopter company and aviation maintenance units will be supporting the mission with 10 UH-60s and maintenance capabilities for four months”, the document says, arguing that “without additional funding, the Army will not be able to perform this classified mission”.
The task of the aforementioned flight mission, which, according to Bloomberg, kicked off “early in the fiscal year” that started on 1 October 2018, remains shrouded in secrecy.
Possible Aims of the Secret Flight Mission
Karen Kwiatkowski, a former Defence Department adviser, and Keith Preston, a military analyst and chief editor of Attack the System, have outlined at least three possible goals behind the classified operation:
· Surveillance operations
· Evacuation of leading officials in case of emergency situations
· Preventing potential terrorist activities in the National Capital Region
“The forces that are involved may be conducting surveillance operations”, suggests Keith Preston. “They also may be preparing to be deployed or activated in case of an actual emergency situation. We have to remember that the capital was one of the sites of the terrorist actions in 2001 [11 September 2001 terrorist attacks – Sputnik]. The capital area has been on heightened security ever since”.
Karen Kwiatkowski presumes that the mission is unlikely to be directly aimed at ensuring the US president’s safety, but “probably” envisages “an expansion to preserve and transport lower levels of executive branch personnel”.