The US Army apparently plans to swarm the nation’s capital region with Black Hawk helicopters as part of an ongoing “classified flight mission” that the Pentagon accidentally exposed while requesting funds from Congress.
“Without additional funding, the Army will not be able to perform this classified mission,” the Pentagon begged, asking for an additional $ 1.55 million to pay for air crews and maintenance for 10 Black Hawks to be run out of a base near Washington, DC. The demand is part of a larger wish-list to “reprogram” some $ 2.5 billion in Defense Department funds to “high priority” programs.
The mission is secret enough to require a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” (SCIF) to be built at Davison Army Airfield at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 20 miles from the capital. SCIFs are ultra-secure facilities that allow their occupants to handle classified material without concern for electronic eavesdropping or other interception.
The Pentagon was tight-lipped about its slip-up, confirming only that the mission had begun early in the fiscal year, which started in October 2018, and that its completion date was “undetermined” via an Army spokesman’s email to Bloomberg.
Constant military helicopter traffic is nothing new for DC residents, who have complained so stridently about the military birds dominating their skies over the past four years that local lawmakers finally called on the Government Accountability Office to study the phenomenon. An investigation is due to begin this fall. Lamenting that it felt like “living in a war zone,” some homeowners even planned on selling their houses as soon as possible to get away from the “unprecedented and unbearable noise.”
Nor is Washington the only city to experience the military’s relatively recent enthusiasm for conducting secretive large-scale domestic operations in major urban centers. Los Angeles residents got a rude awakening in February, when a flock of dozens of Black Hawks descended on the downtown area to perform military maneuvers accompanied by multiple explosions – all with no advance warning.
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