The Defense Department has directed the Air Force to organize a Civil Aviation Intelligence Analysis Center to coordinate interagency monitoring of civil air traffic. Under the plan, USAF will “coordinate and synchronize DOD support for the civil aviation intelligence mission,” while “maintaining relationships with key civil aviation intelligence stakeholders,” according to a directive issued by Michael Vickers, DOD undersecretary for intelligence, July 29. Staffed by the 29th Intelligence Squadron currently at Fort Meade, Md., “or successor organization,” the instructions mandate a strategy review and development of requirements to begin monitoring civil aviation for potential security threats by Fiscal 2013. The center’s mission will be to detect, monitor, and analyze daily air traffic and to “warn of illicit activity or threat to the United States, its allies or interests involving civil aviation,” according to the missive.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.