Even as the humanitarian crisis precipitated by Saudi Arabia’s more-than-three-year war in Yemen has deepened, the Pentagon earlier this year launched a new classified operation to support the kingdom’s military operations there, according to a Defense Department document that appears to have been posted online inadvertently.
The existence of the new classified operation, code-named Yukon Journey, was partially revealed in a Defense Department inspector general report posted online earlier this month, which noted that “the Secretary of Defense designated three new named contingency operations: Operation Yukon Journey, and operations in Northwest Africa and East Africa.”
The three operations, which focus on al-Qaida and ISIS, are classified, the report notes, and the Pentagon has not publicly disclosed their location beyond saying they are in the Middle East and Africa.
But another document posted earlier this year on a Pentagon-affiliated website identifies Yukon Journey as a Central Command operation supporting the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Partner Nations in Yemen.”
The existence of a classified operation in Yemen raises the possibility that even as the Pentagon scales back unclassified operations, such as refueling Saudi-led coalition aircraft, covert support, to include possible U.S. special forces on the ground, could continue.