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Biden Confirms Unidentified Aerial Objects Shot Down by US Military; Updates Rules to Address Future Detection

President Joe Biden addressed the country on Wednesday regarding the unidentified aerial objects that have been shot down by the US military in recent weeks.[0] The president confirmed that after an alleged Chinese spy balloon traversed US airspace this month, the military expanded the parameters for how it detected slow-moving objects in US airspace, leading to the detection of the three objects shot down recently.[1]

Biden said the intelligence community believes these objects were “most likely balloons” tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions, studying weather or conducting other scientific research.[1] He added that there was no evidence to suggest that there had been a sudden increase in the number of objects in the sky, and that the US is now just seeing more of them due to steps taken to increase radar and narrow radar parameters.[2]

The president also said he has directed his team to devise “sharper rules” on how to address these unidentified objects in the future, so that the government can distinguish between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not. He added that the parameters will be shared with Congress when completed, but will remain classified so that “we don’t give a road map to our enemies to try to evade our defenses.”[3]

In regards to the first object, a surveillance balloon deployed by China, Biden said he “make[s] no apologies for taking down that balloon.” He also said he plans to continue to engage with China, adding, “We’re not looking for a new Cold War.”[4]

The president said that he has directed his team to come back to him with sharper rules for how they will deal with these unidentified objects moving forward, and to establish an inventory of unmanned airborne objects, develop measures to better detect these objects in US airspace, update rules and regulations for launching these into the skies, and have his secretary of state lead an effort to establish global norms in this unregulated space.

The White House has ruled out the possibility of aliens, and Biden said he “make[s] no apologies” for taking down the balloon if any object presents a threat to the safety and security of the American people. He added that he expects to be speaking with President Xi and hopes they can get to the bottom of the situation.[3]

0. “Biden plans to deliver his most extensive remarks yet about the aerial objects the military shot down” CNBC, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/16/biden-planning-to-deliver-most-extensive-remarks-yet-on-aerial-objects-military-shot-down.html

1. “Biden Says Unidentified Objects U.S. Shot Down Were Not Spy Balloons” New York Magazine, 16 Feb. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/02/biden-says-three-objects-u-s-shot-down-werent-spy-balloons.html

2. “Biden pledges more clarity on approach to unidentified aerial objects” Roll Call , 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.rollcall.com/2023/02/16/biden-pledges-more-clarity-on-approach-to-unidentified-aerial-objects

3. “Biden to speak with Xi Jinping following spy balloon shoot-down” POLITICO, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/16/biden-xi-jinping-surveillance-balloon-00083274

4. “Biden says flying objects likely tied to private sector, research” Al Jazeera English, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/16/biden-says-flying-objects-likely-tied-to-private-sector-research