Operation Aztec Silence

Recent US Intelligence Gathering Operations

Operation Aztec Silence

Primary Operating Location: NAS Sigonella, Sicily, Italy

Assigned Units:

– Joint Task Force Aztec Silence (JTF-AS)

Start Date: December 2003

End Date: 2005-2007?

Superseded by: Operation Creek Sand or Operation Aztec Archer?

Summary: In December 2003, the Commander of the US Sixth Fleet began Operation Aztec Silence to support counter trans-national terrorism efforts in the so-called under-governed areas of Northern Africa (and later Western Africa) and to build closer alliances with those governments as part of Operation Aztec Silence.   In support of this, Joint Task Force – Aztec Silence (JTF-AS), with US Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets based in Sigonella, Sicily at its core, collected information, which was in part shared with partner nations and their militaries.  These operations were conducted by either P-3C Reef Point or EP-3E Aries II aircraft.

It appears that Operation Aztec Silence came to a close sometime between 2005 and 2007, as counter-terrorism operations on the continent expanded their coverage and required additional intelligence support.  US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Major Force Program 11 (MFP-11) funding for Operation Aztec Silence was closed on 1 November 2004. Whether funding continued through other budgets was unclear.  This also makes it unclear as to whether Operation Aztec Silence consisted solely of the intelligence gathering element or whether there was an active counter-terrorism component to the operation.  It is possible that Operations Creek Sand or Aztec Archer directly succeeded this operation.

For additional information, visit GlobalSecurity.org

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