US Military Scrutinizes Unidentified Objects in the Sky
The U.S. military has increased its scrutiny of objects in the sky following the shooting down of a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina earlier this month. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the speculation that these objects could be of extraterrestrial origin, saying there is no indication of that.
National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby added that the American people “need not worry about aliens with respect to these craft. Period.”
The objects were shot down by F-22 and F-16 fighter jets, using AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles. The latest, an octagonal object, was shot down Sunday over Lake Huron, which lies between Michigan and Ontario.
According to Kirby, the U.S. government has “no reason to suspect” the objects were conducting surveillance of any kind, but could not rule that out. Kirby added that the objects did not pose a direct threat to people on the ground, but could have been a danger to civilian commercial air traffic, given their altitude.
General Glen VanHerck, the commander of US Northern Command, said the increased ability to detect these objects can be attributed to radar adjustments and operators being on “heightened alert” and looking more closely for these smaller and slower objects.
VanHerck added that he has not ruled out any possibilities as to the origin of these objects, saying that the intel and counterintelligence communities are still assessing every threat or potential threat unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.
Kirby also said that the Biden administration has directed a team to study the policy implications for detection, analysis, and disposition of unidentified aerial objects that pose either safety or security risks.
The U.S. is also laser-focused on confirming the nature and purpose of the objects, collecting debris in the areas where they fell, and filtering radar information to identify low-speed objects.
Ultimately, the U.S. is still trying to determine the origin and purpose of these objects, with VanHerck saying that he cannot categorize how they stay aloft. Regardless, the objects do not pose a military threat to anyone on the ground, but may represent a risk to civil aviation or potential surveillance threat. The government will continue to work to get to the bottom of it.
0. “White House Says Fighter Jets Did Not Shoot Down Aliens” TMZ, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.tmz.com/2023/02/13/white-house-says-flying-objects-that-were-shot-down-are-not-aliens/
1. “UFOs? Airborne objects? What we know about 4 recent shootdowns” NPR, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/02/13/1156498101/ufos-unidentified-objects-what-we-know-4-shootdowns
2. “A trio of new intrusions leaves America's leaders grasping for explanations” CNN, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/13/politics/unknown-objects-leaders-response/index.html
3. “No evidence of ‘alien or extraterrestrial’ activity in shot-down objects, White House says” The Independent, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/white-house-aliens-ufo-spy-balloons-shot-b2281484.html
4. “White House: “No indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity” with recent takedowns of high-altitude objects” CBS News, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/aliens-extraterrestrials-flying-objects-chinese-spy-balloons-white-house/
5. “Why the military is spotting more mysterious flying objects lately” Business Insider, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/why-more-balloons-unidentified-objects-shot-down-military-2023-2
6. “U.S. General Doesn't Rule Out Aliens As UFOs Mount” TIME, 13 Feb. 2023, https://time.com/6254959/military-ufo-shootdown-lake-huron/
7. “White House: ‘No indication of aliens' linked to unidentified objects over Lake Huron, Alaska, Canada” WDIV ClickOnDetroit, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2023/02/13/white-house-no-indication-of-aliens-linked-to-unidentified-objects-over-lake-huron-alaska-canada
8. “White House defends shooting down three aerial objects, despite not knowing who launched them or why” CNBC, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/13/white-house-defends-shooting-down-three-aerial-objects-despite-not-knowing-who-launched-them-or-why.html