The Pentagon reportedly has a secret army with over 60,000 people scattered worldwide in a program called “signature reduction.” Its troops retain false identities and keep a low profile while they attempt to carry out secret missions across the globe. With a force six times greater than the covert operatives of the CIA, the Pentagon’s secret army is a force to be reckoned with that is still shrouded in mystery.
The secret forces that are part of the signature reduction program are both military and covert civilians that execute tactics in real life and online, sometimes disguising themselves within large organizations or private businesses. Newsweek uncovered a lot of the secrets kept hidden from the public, revealing that thousands of spies are carrying out day-to-day operations in made-up identities.
The secret army and the signature reduction program have been developed over the last decade, costing over $900 million and spread out in over 130 private companies in operations throughout the Middle East and Africa. Its size is startling, especially given the nature of its secrets and the fact that Congress has never held a hearing on the secret army.
The purpose of the Pentagon’s army is to combat terrorists around the world, protecting operatives and the overall mission by using disguises and false identities as the primary tactics. The army also utilizes cyber-warriors which use technological prowess and false personas to track high-value targets through the web, collecting “publicly accessible information,” according to Newsweek’s report.
There has been no clear definition of what “signature reduction” programs are, despite being administered by many governmental organizations across the globe. The definition is still classified, by the Defense Intelligence Agency suggests that is what “individuals might use to” in order to “describe operational security measures for a variety of activities and operations.”
To keep those activities and operations protected, “signature reduction” masks all organizations, individuals, automobiles, and aircrafts utilized during missions. This could mean scrubbing the Internet of true identities, figuring out ways to spoof fingerprinting and facial recognition and ensure undercover operatives can move throughout the United States with ease by manipulating official records. Bypassing biometrics, a seemingly futuristic technology that has slowly taken over security measures worldwide, is the primary function of “signature reduction.”
Protecting military families is also an important strategy of the program, used specifically to ensure military operations against terrorist groups such as ISIS don’t result in fallout affecting operators’ families. Online information plays a dangerous role in allowing terrorists to track military operatives and uncover their personal lives, which “signature reduction” aims to combat.
Still, the secret army raises many red flags. The first being accountability of military operatives, as clandestine military forces potentially undermine U.S. laws, the Geneva Conventions, and the military code of conduct.
“Everything from the status of the Geneva Conventions – were a soldier operating under a false identity to be captured by an enemy – to Congressional oversight is problematic,” a source told Newsweek. “Most people haven’t even heard of the term ‘signature reduction’ let alone what it creates.”
What seems like part of a James Bond film has become an integral part of Pentagon operations, with secret forces using spy-like gear to mark their presence. From wigs to pocket tools, to full-on makeup that ages individuals are essential to keeping cover, but bring up many questions that the Pentagon has yet to answer.