Tuesday 30 December 2014

The Deadliest Unit: U.S. Air Force Intel Unit Helped Kill 1,200 People in a Year

That’s one startling revelation in the official annual history for 2012 of the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, a heavily-redacted copy of which War Is Boring obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Linguists and analysts from the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Hurlburt Field in Florida flew on at least 31,180 combat sorties in 2012, supporting no fewer than 960 separate operations that resulted in Special Operations Forces detaining more than 3,980 people and killing at least 1,210, according to the history.
That single year’s kill tally probably makes the 361st one of the deadliest individual organizations in the entire U.S. military.
The 361st began as an aerial mapping unit during World War II. In 2008, the Air Force revived the unit as part of a massive expansion of intel units to support counterterrorism operations and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Between 2008 and 2012, the Pentagon grew its fleet of spy planes and surveillance drones by 238 percent—until they accounted for half of all Air Force aircraft, according to the ISR Agency history. By 2012 the Defense Department was spending $67 billion a year on intelligence and surveillance.

Many intel flights require specialists to fly aboard the aircraft to quickly analyze the video the plane is shooting or translate the communications between enemy fighters that the aircraft’s receivers pick up.
The intelligence personnel can then pass the information they gather to troops on the ground. The info might include the locations and strength of enemy fighters. 



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