Feb 13, 2023

Pentagon Briefing After Fourth ‘Unidentified Object’ Shot Down Over Lake Huron Transcript

Pentagon Briefing After Fourth 'Unidentified Object' Shot Down Over Lake Huron Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsLake HuronPentagon Briefing After Fourth ‘Unidentified Object’ Shot Down Over Lake Huron Transcript

A U.S. fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday, Feb. 12, on orders from President Joe Biden, believed to be the same one tracked over Montana. Read the transcript here.

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Pat (00:00):

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening and thank you very much for joining us tonight, particularly so short notice and on Super Bowl Sunday here in the US no less.

In light of tonight’s takedown of an airborne object over Lake Huron, Michigan, we wanted to ensure you had the latest information and also answer any questions you have in order to provide any additional context on NORAD’s efforts to monitor, track, and appropriately address these kinds of objects.

Joining us tonight, is Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, Melissa Dalton, and General Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command. Today’s discussion is on the record.

I’ll turn it over to Assistant Secretary Dalton who will provide some brief comments followed by General VanHerck and then we’ll take your questions. With that, over to you Secretary Dalton.

Secretary Dalton (00:50):

Great. Thanks so much Pat and good evening everyone and thanks for joining the call. We do aim to be transparent about our military operations and so we wanted to provide an update on the most recent Homeland Defense operation that occurred this afternoon.

I’m going to provide a brief overview and then turn to General VanHerck to provide an operational perspective as well.

In light of the People’s Republic of China balloon that we took down last Saturday, we have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radar, which may at least partly explain the increase in objects that we’ve detected over the past week. We also know that a range of entities, including countries, companies, research organizations, operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious, including legitimate research.

That said, because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these recent objects are, we have acted out of an abundance of caution to protect our security and interests. The spy balloon from the PRC was, of course, different in that we knew precisely what it was. These most recent objects do not pose a kinetic military threat, but their path in proximity to sensitive DOD sites, and the altitude that they were flying, could be a hazard to civilian aviation and thus raised concerns.

Again, as we have said, we do not assess that the recent objects posed any direct threat to people on the ground, and we are laser focused on confirming their nature and purpose, including through intensive efforts to collect debris in the remote locations where they have landed after being shot down.

We are in close coordination and cooperation with the government of Canada as well as through NORAD with the Canadian military. Thanks very much. Look forward to your questions and I’ll hand it over to General VanHerck.

General VanHerck (02:48):

Thanks, Secretary Dalton. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today and provide you an update. Every day, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command monitor the approaches to North America and the United States of America across all domains.

And yesterday evening, approximately 16:45 or 4:45 Eastern time on 11 February, NORAD detected a radar contact in Canadian airspace, approximately 70 or so miles north of the United States border. We began tracking that radar contact and when it became clear it was unknown, following normal NORAD procedures, it was not talking to the Federal Aviation Administration, no Squawk, and approaching our air defense identification zone, I scrambled F-15 fighters from Portland, Oregon along with a KC-135 tanker support from Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington to go investigate. To identify what the radar contact was. At 18:00 Eastern or 6:00pm Eastern, the radar track crossed into the United States sovereign aerospace. At 7:04 Eastern Time, the F-15s with their tanker support were on station to investigate. We continue to investigate… What’s important to point out, this is near dark, within a half hour, 45 minutes of dark. We continue to investigate to identify, locate the object. We were unsuccessful.

It’s also important to point out, in this part of the United States, we did not have Data Link for cueing like we had had before. Data Link allows the radars on the ground to share information to the fighters airborne, allowing them to cue their sensors and their visual acuity in an attempt to visually identify the track.

At sunset, we were unable to find the track. Also, our radar operators lost the track on radar and the FAA was never tracking the radar. Therefore, that’s why we called it an anomaly ’cause we weren’t able to identify it.

Several hours later and overnight, we began seeing an intermittent radar contact east of the position in Montana as it approached Wisconsin. At that point, we developed a game plan, once we started seeing another radar contact, to go investigate. It’s likely, but we have not confirmed that the track that we saw in Wisconsin was likely the same track in Montana.

We elected to scramble with the best position to intercept, if we needed to engage, with the lowest collateral damage, and that was in the eastern portion of Wisconsin just prior to Lake Michigan, when the fighters became on the track of interest at that time.

We monitored the track of interest as it passed over Lake Michigan. We assessed that it was no threat, physical threat, military threat, [inaudible 00:06:16] infrastructure. That’s my assessment. It continues to be today.

However, at this point we still have an unknown and it forces a broader discussion about what is this object that’s in our US sovereign airspace. It’s within our Federal Aviation Administration airspace, not providing any communications, not providing any notice that could potentially help us deconflict, and therefore we wanted to investigate further.

Now we did. It tracked across the upper peninsula of Michigan. We were cleared to engage the target in eastern upper peninsula of Michigan, overland, and ultimately downed the object at this point, about 15 nautical miles east of the upper peninsula in Lake Huron.

What we saw is an object that began drifting, potentially, most likely landed in Canadian waters in Lake Huron, and we have ongoing recovery operations with Coast Guard assets moving towards this area. I would like to highlight, this entire time I remained in contact with my Canadian boss, well, Air General Wayne Eyre. The Canadians were very supportive. The Canadians launched two F-18s plus their tanker as well to support this operation.

The fighters were from Madison Wisconsin Air National Guard Unit. We utilized a tanker from Pittsburgh Air National Guard, and we had an AWACS on station from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. That’s all I have for my operational update and I look forward to your questions.

Pat (07:58):

Secretary Dalton, General VanHerck, thank you both. For our first question, we’ll go to Associated Press, Tara Copp.

Tara Copp (08:05):

Hi. Thank you very much both of you for doing this at this late hour. For Secretary Dalton and for General VanHerck, we’ve had four shoot downs in the last eight days. Can you talk about the sense of concern you have and should Americans be worried? This is a very rare thing to have this many shoot downs or any shoot downs over US airspace. And then secondly, General VanHerck, can you give us any indication of what your pilots are seeing in reporting? Thanks.

Pat (08:35):

Hey, before we jump into the question, just a reminder, everyone, please mute your phones. Thank you. Sounds like we have an open mic out there. My apologies. Over to you, ma’am.

Secretary Dalton (08:47):

Great. Tara, thanks so much for the question and for dialing in also at a late hour. The safety and security of the American people are job number one for us at the Department of Defense and certainly for NORAD and General VanHerck’s team.

Following the track of the PRC balloon last week, as I mentioned at the top, we have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, enhancing our radar, which may at least partly explain the increase in the objects detected. But we also know that there are a range of entities out there, whether they’re private companies, research organizations, that operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious, including legitimate research.

But because we have not been able to definitively assess what these recent objects are, the president wanted to act out of an abundance of caution to protect our security and in our interest. So we will remain vigilant. We have made these enhancements to our radars. And the operations this past week have been successful in bringing down

Melissa Dalton (10:00):

These potential threats and we are hard at work now recovering the debris to better understand certainly the capabilities of the surveillance, bullying from the PRC, but also the nature of these unidentified objects to better understand were they surveillance objects, what was their purpose, what are their capabilities? We look forward to sharing more as we learn more in the coming days.

Glen Vanherck (10:27):

Thanks Melissa. Let me just add on, so your question was about citizens being considered. We’ve assessed all of these to be non-kinetic threats homeland and I don’t see that changing, even when we recover debris. Every day NORAD, United States Northern Command are ready to defend, serve as required. I think this is a story where we were successful in detecting and if needed, to respond. What I would tell you is what we’re seeing is very, very small objects that produce a very, very low radar cross section. I’m not going to go into detail about shapes or anything like that really because it’s really, really difficult for pilots at the altitudes we’re operating, just a very, very slow object in the space, if you will, going at the speed of the wind, essentially. Our pilots are going [inaudible 00:11:29] miles per hour to give us what I would consider a factual, scientific based description of what we see. Therefore, I’m hesitant to tell you that. With that being said, I would like to talk about the radar and the challenges that we face, something going this slow [inaudible 00:11:46], it’s pretty rare.

So as Assistant Secretary Dalton talked about, radars essentially filter out information based on speed so you can set various gates, we call them velocity gates that allow us to filter out low speed clutter. If you had radars on all the time that we’re looking at anything from zero speed up to say a hundred, you would see a lot more information. We have adjusted some of those gates to give us better fidelity on seeing slower objects. You can also filter out by altitude, and so with some adjustments we’ve been able to get a better categorization of radar tracks now. That’s why I think you’re seeing we these overall plus there’s a heightened alert to look for this information. I hope that adds additional clarification.

Speaker 1 (12:39):

Just one quick follow up, four shoot-downs in eight days, when was the last time that US fighters were scrambled and shot something down over US airspace? I can’t remember anything, and it just seems like there’s a large and quick escalation to shooting down objects.

Glen Vanherck (12:59):

I’ll have to get with our historians. I believe this is the first time within United States or America airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object.

Pat (13:14):

Thank you [inaudible 00:13:14]. Thank you sir, ma’am. Let’s go to Jen Griffin, Fox News.

Liz (13:17):

Hey, thanks Pat. This is Liz. I’ll be asking for Jen today. Are these balloons that have been shot down since Friday? Or are they weather balloons?

Glen Vanherck (13:27):

You want me to take that?

Melissa Dalton (13:32):

Thanks very much for the question. Yep, go ahead, Glen.

Glen Vanherck (13:36):

Yeah, so I’m not going to categorize them as balloons. We’re calling them objects for a reason. Certainly the event off the South Carolina coast for the Chinese spy balloon, that was clearly a balloon. These are objects, I am not able to categorize how they stay aloft. It could be a gaseous type of balloon inside a structure or it could be some type of a propulsion system, but clearly they’re able to stay aloft. I would be hesitant and urge you not to attribute it to any specific country. We don’t know. That’s why it’s so critical to get our hands on these so that we can further assess and analyze what they are.

Pat (14:22):

Thank you. Next we’ll go to Nancy Youssef, Wall Street Journal.

Nancy Youssef (14:27):

Thank you. To both of you, you’re saying that their preliminary assessment is that they don’t pose a kinetic threat, but that they are objects and not balloons, and that you need to sort of adjust your radar. I guess I’m trying to get an understanding what is the expectation going forward or at least in the next few days. Is it your plan to continue to shoot these down, or to make adjustments such that you can make assessments better, that they don’t always have to happen when you’re shooting something down? I’m trying to get a sense of the adjustment, General Vanherck, that you referred to and what that will look like practically speaking in the days ahead. Thank you.

Glen Vanherck (15:03):

Yeah, Nancy, thanks for the question. The expectation going forward is we’ll continue to do doing our mission exactly like we’ve been doing, now approaching 65 years for NORAD. If there’s an unknown object that enters either Canadian or US airspace, we will go out. We will attempt to identify it. If it’s a threat, kinetic threat, military threat, I am delegated the authority if it commits a hostile act or hostile intent. Let me describe a hostile act. Hostile act would be shooting a missile, dropping a bomb, taking aggressive action. A hostile intent would be maneuvering to an offensive position against our forces or something like that.

In that situation, I’m cleared directly to engage without further permission. In this case, there is no hostile act or hostile intent, but it is an unknown object, and therefore we have to have a further discussion across the government, both the government of Canada in some cases and the government of the United States to assess is it a risk to national security by passing over key covered facilities such as our missile fields and other structure? Is it a risk to flight safety? Is it a risk to personnel on the ground? Then if you’re going to take action, you have to make an assessment of what is the risk of collateral damage to potentially boats and mariners out over the water, our infrastructure and people on the ground. That’s essentially the process you go to and have to go through. We’ve done that on each one of these. Thank you.

Pat (16:34):

Thank you very much. Let’s go to David Martin, CBS.

General VanHerck (16:36):

You say that this is the first time we’ve ever had shoot-downs, at least as to the best of your memory, but has any of this happened before the Chinese balloon was discovered? Have there been these unidentified objects which have been tracked for a while and then left US airspace but have entered and for one reason or another were not… What should I say? Prosecuted, like you’ve been doing these the ones since the Chinese balloon.

Glen Vanherck (17:17):

Yeah, David, so great question. Thanks for that. We have scrambled in the past against radar tracks that we’ve been unable to correlate with fighters. That has happened over years and sometimes it’s attributed to potentially being birds. Sometimes it’s been attributed to weather, sometimes we don’t know what to attribute it to. What I would say is you go back and look over time, we’ve been able to figure out the best way to track various sources, including the high altitude balloons that we’ve talked about recently back to 2019 and prior. Couple that with our adjustments of our radar, it gives us a better ability to detect and have better domain awareness, as you’ve heard me talk about. I don’t know if Secretary Dalton wants to add anything to that.

Melissa Dalton (18:11):

Thank you very much. General Vanherck. I would just add to that as we learn more about these objects and certainly the PRC balloon, we are going to enhance our understanding of the characteristics of them that will perhaps enable us to look back at prior instances that were potentially overlooked or weren’t looked closely enough at, to see if there’s a comparison to be made there. Certainly will help us going forward to better identify and track these types of objects and balloons.

General VanHerck (18:47):

Have you reached the object that went down off Northern Alaska?

Glen Vanherck (18:55):

David, we’re actively searching for that object right now. I’ve got a Navy P8, which is surveilling the area with helicopters, as well. Once we locate that object, we’ll put an Arctic security package in there and begin the analysis and recovery. But we don’t have it right now.

General VanHerck (19:17):

Thank you.

Pat (19:18):

Thank you. Let’s go to Courtney Kube, NBC.

Courtney Kube (19:23):

Hi. Thanks. How are you so confident that the initial balloon was Chinese? Were there some markings on it? I’m trying to figure out why, because from very early on it seemed that there was a real confidence versus these last three that we can’t get any sense of who owns them or what they were doing.

Melissa Dalton (19:41):

Thank you, Courtney. We know-

Speaker 2 (19:46):

Emergency Crash Street thing, that’s [inaudible 00:19:51] now.

Pat (19:52):

Hey, we have a hot mic out there. Go ahead check.

Melissa Dalton (19:57):

Thanks, Courtney. Yep, thank you.

Secretary Dalton (20:00):

So, Courtney, for the PRC balloon, we had a basis in intelligence to know definitively that its point of origin was the People’s Republic of China.

Courtney Kube (20:13):

So what I’m struggling with now is these last three that we still are calling objects, we don’t know what they are. You knew that the Chinese one was surveilling and potentially you knew who it belonged to and yet there was a decision not to take it down until it was over the ocean. I understand that there was concerns about everything on the ground there, but can someone explain why the decision is made to take these last three unknown objects we don’t know who they belong to, we don’t know what they’re doing? But I still don’t quite understand why the decision was made to… Literally in succession, it seems like they’re being taken down faster and faster and faster. I mean, is there some other concern or threat that you’re tracking that is giving a heightened sense of need to take these down?

Secretary Dalton (21:04):

Courtney, thank you. The process that General VanHerck described earlier in terms of the criteria that we work through to determine whether these objects or in the case of the PRC balloon, the balloon was a threat, we looked to see if it’s going to pose a kinetic military threat. In both cases that was not the case. We look to see is it surveilling potentially DOD-sensitive sites. We knew that was the case in both instances, and it was even more concerning in the case of the PRC balloon because we knew that it was a PRC balloon.

We also consider is it a threat to civilian aviation. In the case of the PRC balloon, it was flying at an altitude that it did not pose a threat to civilian aviation and so that was part of the criteria for bringing it down over the water when we could safely do so in addition to its enormous size, it was 200 feet tall. Payload was the size of three school buses. And for these unidentified objects being much smaller, but unfortunately flying at an altitude that did pose a risk potentially to save civilian aviation, that was part of the criteria that went into deciding to take the objects down over the last three days sooner in the tracking cycle. So that’s the process that we have rigorously worked through over the last week. General VanHerck, anything you want to add?

Glen Vanherck (22:49):

No, Melissa, I think you’re right on. I don’t have anything to add.

Pat (22:54):

Thank you. Let’s go to Brett Dahlberg, Michigan Radio.

Brett Dahlberg (23:00):

Hi. Thanks. A missile seems like a particularly destructive weapon to be using if there’s a desire to investigate and figure out what these are afterwards. Can you explain the weapon’s choice?

Glen Vanherck (23:17):

Absolutely. Melissa, if you don’t mind, I’ll take this one. First of all, maintaining a radar track on an object this small is very hard. So taking a radar shot such as an AIM-120 would be a lower probability of success. We assessed taking a gunshot yesterday in that event as well as today, and the pilots in each situation felt that that was really unachievable because of the size, especially yesterday in the altitude and also because of the challenge to acquire it visually because it’s so small. It’s also potentially a safety of flight issue because you have to get so close to the object before you see it that you potentially could fly into the debris or the actual object.

Therefore, in each situation, the AIM-9X heat-seeking missile or infrared missile that sees contrast has been the weapons of choice against the objects we’ve been seeing. In each case, we have taken extreme caution to ensure that we limit potential collateral damage. So today we work closely with the FAA to clear out the airspace. I gave directions specifically to the pilots to use their visual acuity to check for mariners on the ground, airplanes in the air, to clear with their radars as well. And when they were comfortable that we could minimize collateral damage, they selected the best weapon today, that was the AIM-9X, and they took the shot.

Pat (25:00):

Thank you. Let’s go to Helene Cooper, New York Times.

Helene Cooper (25:04):

Hi. Thanks, Pat, and thanks for doing this. This is for General VanHerck. Because you still haven’t been able to tell us what these things are that we are shooting out of the sky, that raises the question, have you ruled out aliens or extra terrestrials? And if so, why? Because that is what everyone is asking us right now.

Glen Vanherck (25:28):

Okay. Thanks for the question, Helene. I’ll let the Intel Community and the counterintelligence community figure that out. I haven’t ruled out anything at this point. We continue to assess every threat or potential threat unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.

Helene Cooper (25:47):


Pat (25:49):

Let’s go to Oren Liebermann, CNN.

Oren Liebermann (25:55):

Thanks for doing this. Are you currently tracking other unidentified objects in US airspace? And you’ve now shot down three objects in three days. Are we to believe these are the first three unidentified objects in US airspace or do you believe there are dozens or potentially hundreds of other such objects that have flown through US airspace, and have any of these recent objects interfered with pilot sensors? Thank you.

Glen Vanherck (26:18):

For your last question, I’m not going to talk about the sensors and what we’ve seen. If you don’t mind that needs to come out through the Intel communities in what we’ve seen. I’m not currently tracking any other objects at this point. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be more at some point in the future, but right now we’re not seeing anything. As far as why previously what… I don’t know if there was more. We do know after the fact that there was high altitude balloons, because we went back and we were able to reconstruct that. As far as these specific objects at this time, I’m unaware to say. It’s certainly possible, but I don’t have the fidelity to give you the answer. We will go look at the data to see if we can figure anything out about the potential for not seeing these previously.

Oren Liebermann (27:09):

Thank you.

Pat (27:09):

Let’s go to Phil Stewart, Reuters.

Phil Stewart (27:14):

Hey there. Just want to double-check what exactly, I know you talked about the fact that you weren’t looking for slower-speed aircrafts and that these objects had a lower radar cross section, but could you just explain to us what makes these objects in particular more difficult to track or why you weren’t tracking them before? And then I guess the other question I think everybody’s kind of wondering is, now that you’ve tweaked everything, should the American public be expecting lots more shoot-downs? Thanks.

Glen Vanherck (27:47):

Thanks, Phil. What makes them really hard to detect and track is their size and potentially shape, but we’ll get our hands on them at some point. I can’t confirm that right now, but that could certainly play a role or a factor in this. As far as going forward, I’ll go back to my mission is to defend our homeland in both my NORAD and NORTHCOM hat. Anything that approaches North America, if it’s unknown, I’m going to go identify it and assess is it a threat? If it is a threat, I’ll shoot it down. If it’s not a threat, the kinetic military threat that we talked about earlier, it’s not committing a hostile act or hostile intent, then we’ll have a broader discussion. Your second part of that is really about what are we going to do in the future is really a policy decision. I’ll ask Secretary Dalton if she wants to add anything.

Secretary Dalton (28:39):

I’d only add again that the safety and security of American people is job number one for us and for any of these operations. We fine tune them to ensure that there’s going to be little to no collateral damage. None of the operations over the last week have resulted in collateral damage.

Phil Stewart (29:01):

But, Secretary Dalton, could you just explain then, do we expect that there’s been a policy decision that will lead us to near daily shoot-downs as we detect these things more and more?

Secretary Dalton (29:13):

Phil, thank you. We are taking this very much on a case-by-case basis. Each operation has been different and we will certainly keep you updated as we continue to learn more about these objects and the PRC balloon and what that means for us going forward.

Pat (29:33):

Thank you. Let’s go to Ben Brasch, Washington Post.

Ben Brasch (29:40):

Thank you very much, both, for taking the time. More directly and in reference to the last question, is it our policy or a preference of the United States government still to not shoot down anything over US territory? When is it that you make that call? I know you talked about assessing

Speaker 3 (30:00):

Asking if anything was a kinetic threat, but is it policy or preference? Thank you very much.

Melissa Dalton (30:09):

The policy is to defend the United States and its sovereign territory and airspace, full stop.

Pat (30:17):

Thank you. You have time for just a few more. Let’s go to Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times.

Oren Liebermann (30:26):

Thanks very much, Pat. Two questions at this point. Are you able to assess that the three objects over Alaska, Yukon and Lake Huron, are they similar objects as far as you can tell? And then secondly, the Biden administration has said that it realized this was a problem last year, a brief congress in August. So I’m curious, why didn’t you recalibrate the gateways on the radar systems earlier if you knew the Chinese balloons were an issue at that point?

Glen Vanherck (30:57):

Yeah, let me talk about the… So the way I would characterize similar, they’re similar in size, similar in speeds, they go with the wind on these objects that we’ve seen. As far as specific shapes, we’ve got to get our hands on those to see fidelity of detail of shape, how they get airborne, do they have propulsion. All of those things are still to be determined. Your second point of that question, remind me what that was.

Oren Liebermann (31:26):

So you said that recently the reason you may be detecting more things as you recalibrated or changed the thresholds for gateways on the radar systems. I wonder, given that you briefed, not you, but the administration briefed Congress on the Chinese balloon program last August, why were gateways not changed back then?

Glen Vanherck (31:47):

Yeah, so that’s a great question. The timing of the intel and adjustments, what I would say is we didn’t necessarily see a need to change a length. The Chinese high altitude balloon alerted us to the speed, the slowness. And being able to detect, we decided to do that at that time. I hope that makes sense to you.

Melissa Dalton (32:11):

I would just add-

Oren Liebermann (32:15):

Given that there were questions about the program as early as August last year and those balloons were flying at those kinds of speeds then, was there not a discussion about changing the gateways back then?

Melissa Dalton (32:28):

I can perhaps help here as well. So the briefings to Congress last year were done, I believe, through intelligence channels. And again, that was intelligence that was better understood retrospectively based on elements of the equation that were discovered after the fact. And then the high altitude balloon from the PRC that was shot down last weekend was categorically different than the prior high altitude balloons. Because it transited the entire continental United States starting with Alaska across Canada and across CONUS. And so it was quite different than the prior instances and on that basis we determined that we needed to enhance our radar.

Oren Liebermann (33:27):

Thank you.

Pat (33:28):

You. We’ve got time for just two more questions here. We’ll go to Peter Martin Bloomberg.

Peter Martin Bloomberg (33:34):

Hey, thanks very much for doing this. I wanted to ask, has Secretary Austin talked yet with [inaudible 00:33:40] from the PRC about the first balloon. And then in addition, has DOD communicated with the Chinese military at any level about any of these subsequent objects? Thank you.

Melissa Dalton (33:50):

Thank you. There have been contact made with the PRC on the high altitude ballon.

Pat (34:06):

Okay. Thank you very much. And final question, we’ll go to Brian Everstine, Aviation Week.

Brian Everstine (34:12):

Hi. Thank you so much for doing this. Back to the discussion on the AIM 9X. Can you talk about what about these objects gave off enough heat signature for the IR seeker without any sort of propulsion system? And secondly, the F16 presumably has a targeting pod, I assume you had eyes on from other aircraft. Will the Pentagon be releasing any of these images?

Glen Vanherck (34:34):

Now, I’ll let policy decide on the images. That’s not mine, but the AIM 9X first, I wouldn’t make an assumption there wasn’t a propulsion system or there was. What I would say is what you have is a contrast between the environment and the objects themselves, which gives often IR contrast, which allows the missile to track. And that’s been very, very effective from the AIM 9X. Melissa, over to you on the releasing of photos.

Melissa Dalton (35:08):

Thank you. We absolutely want to be transparent about our military operations and what we are learning about these objects and the PRC high altitude balloon and hope to share more in the coming days.

Pat (35:20):

My apologies. I had one last question here. This to Nick Slayton, Task & Purpose and that will be our final question.

Nick Slayton (35:32):

Thank you. I wanted to see, when we talk about investigating or investigating the debris of this, who’s taking lead on that? Is that the all domain anomaly resolution office and then also we’ve seen three shoot-downs in three days, is if this was to continue, if this pays operations just continue, would that be a strain on units or are all units able to handle these kinds of rapid scrambling in that regard? Thank you.

Glen Vanherck (36:07):

Melissa, you want that or you want me to take it?

Melissa Dalton (36:07):

You go right ahead. Thank you.

Glen Vanherck (36:09):

Thanks. All right, so as far as the recovery lead, technically the FBI has the lead under counterintelligence authorities. They are embedded with DOD because we have the resources to enable them to conduct the operations in Canada. The Canadians have the lead. Their Royal Canadian Mounted Police are embedded with their Canadian Special Operations forces. And we have the FBI forces as well liaison with them to make sure that we’re sharing as much info as possible.

Nick Slayton (36:46):

Thank you.

Pat (36:47):

Secretary Dalton, General Van Hook. Thank you both very much. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all the time we have for this evening. Thank you again for joining us. We will be posting a transcript to defense.gov once it’s available.

Speaker 4 (36:58):

You’re just listening in there to the Pentagon Press briefing here as we learn more information on that fourth object that was shot down over Lake Huron here on Live Now from Fox. That what we do, we take you to them live, raw and unfiltered. We’re going to take a quick-

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