Everyone remembers the secret air force the CIA created and controlled during the Vietnam era. They called it “Air America”. They flew drugs all around Asia, and most likely did things we still don’t know about.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
After the failure of Obama’s war in Afghanistan, we are still slugging it out there. Of course the U.S. State Department is still heavily involved in Afghanistan, and because of this the U.S. State Department has to fly it’s team members all around the country. Being in the ground is not an option, and the safest way is to fly these people around in helicopters. They are short flights, but also very expensive. These people need to get from Kabul to the U.S. Embassy, and to other parts of the country. But this is just a small part of the air wing of the State Department. These aircraft are spread out across a dozen countries and include hundreds of aircraft. Some of them are armed.
Last month the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General released its latest audit of the State Department Air Wing. This “air wing” is actually called the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Office of Aviation, or INL/A. As of 2018, the INL/A had more than two hundred aircraft, which would make it one of the largest “non-military” air arms of the U.S. Government – which is larger than entire air forces of most countries. More or less, the U.S. Military establishment sells these planes to the INL/A.
This government agency originally started during the 1980s when combating narcotics in South America. But now these aircraft can be used for many types of missions, which vary by location. This includes manual drug eradication, interdiction, reconnaissance, surveillance, command and control, medical evacuation, transportation of personnel or cargo, and more. For all purposes, this is Trump’s secret air force.
Currently the INL/A has aircraft in use in Afghanistan, Columbia, Cyprus, Guatemala, Iraq, Panama, Pakistan, and Peru. The entire operation costs $5 billion per year.
This secret air force includes Bell UH-1 Huey helicopters