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Biden’s Balloon Debacle Rooted in Cancellation of Post-9/11 Security Program

Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2023
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by Ben Solis
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47 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

In a rather anticlimactic speech on Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that three “unidentified flying objects” shot down by U.S. Air Force pilots over North America in recent days were likely privately owned balloons related to scientific research or recreation. The revelation – after a puzzling degree of secrecy from the administration and even a statement that the Pentagon “can’t rule out” aliens – marked an apparent end to the saga that began with a Chinese spy balloon’s lumbering week-long journey across the United States late last month that left Biden and his top lieutenants paralyzed and further revealed the degree of their own failure to protect the homeland.

But even as Biden attempts to save face and show some semblance of leadership, he has done nothing to address the underlying gaps in defense infrastructure that allowed unidentified objects to drift through American airspace in the first place.

The U.S. military first detected an object that turned out to be a Chinese spy balloon moving over the Aleutian Islands in Alaska on January 28. Over the next three days, the balloon traveled across Idaho and Montana, including the location of more than 100 Minuteman III nuclear missile silos. Finally, on February 4th, once the balloon had completed its journey across the United States, potentially sending troves of data to Beijing, a U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter jet dispatched it with and AIM-9X air-to-air missile. Further findings indicated it also hovered over the U.S. Anderson Air Force base in Guam.

Even as questions mounted about why Biden waited so long to act (the White House claims that it was fearful of potential damage to people and property on the ground, a claim that many experts viewed with skepticism) officials announced that the military was tracking three more UFOs.

Many initially assumed the objects to be more spy balloons or even extraterrestrial spaceships – a hypothesis that was fueled by NORAD Commander General Glen VanHerck saying that “I haven’t ruled out anything,” and “At this point, we continue to assess every threat or potential threat unknown that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it,” when a reporter asked directly if aliens could be involved.

Pentagon officials soon backtracked and confirmed that the objects had, in fact, originated on Earth, killing the dreams of many sci-fi fans. Biden further stated that “nothing right now suggests” that the additional UFOs are “related to China’s spy balloon program.”

Mainstream media outlets have subsequently portrayed Biden’s battle with the balloons – both the Chinese and recreational variety – as an almost heroic triumph over a fierce enemy.

But certain details of this battle reveal critical strategic errors that allowed the first spy balloon to enter American airspace virtually undetected and subsequently left the most powerful military in the world unable to determine the identity of other objects traversing U.S. airspace.

Part of the story begins back during the Clinton administration, when, in 1996, the Pentagon established the Joint Aerostat Project Office and Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System. In effect, the purpose of these programs was to detect flying objects, including missiles, aircraft, drones, and, yes, balloons over North America.

An upgrade to the system, known as JLENS, was proposed during the Bush administration. The new defense network was comprised of two protected aerostats, or stationary balloons, that floated 10,000 feet up with two different 360-degree radars that could detect hostile objects up to 340 miles away and provide directions to missile systems on the ground.

Then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld emphasized the clear advantages of JLENS over surveillance planes and the old system. The floating detection platforms were unrestricted by fuel and could be connected directly to AEGIS ships and Patriot Missile batteries. In the Pacific, the system could have provided significant protection from Chinese and Russian cruise missiles.

Following 9/11, an early version of JLENS played a crucial role in Operation Noble Eagle, a joint U.S.-Canadian homeland security operation providing radar protection from Boston to Lake Erie and down south to Raleigh.

But with the election of President Barack Obama – and Vice President Joe Biden – came a reduction of the U.S. military’s budget. Obama prided himself on “trimming the fat” in the military, which amounted to $487 billion in spending cuts that decimated essential and nonessential programs all the same.

Obama’s conviction that the U.S. military had over-invested in certain areas was most erroneous, leading to the termination of many long-term research and development projects – including JLENS. An accident in 2015 involving one aerostat breaking free from its tether during an extreme storm provided all the excuse the Obama-Biden administration needed to cancel the program.

Though President Trump reversed much of the Obama-era military spending cutdown, other programs were in even more desperate need of revival. As Trump so often remarked, the military “couldn’t even afford bullets” by the time he took office.

Now, President Biden has continued Obama’s failure to invest in the critical defense systems that would protect the United States from just such airborne threats, even as he beats his chest and spouts empty promises to “hold China accountable.” While accountability is good, concrete action is required. If Biden truly wants to guard against airborne threats, he should pressure Congress to invest in re-invest in programs like JLENS that were inexplicably cut nearly a decade ago.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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Patti Lee
Patti Lee
1 year ago

Let’s stop the flow of whining and implement solutions!! It does not good to complain if nothing is done to correct the problem!

Art
Art
1 year ago

Obama inflicted on us so much damage that our people in Congress should consider a committee to investigate and expose it. He should be weakened politically and never allowed to influence our country.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

Obama and Biden did terrible damage to our defense. Obviously, one Trump term was insufficient to fix all.

Michael
Michael
1 year ago

Why doesn’t Joe have his eyes fixed so he can be fully Chinese.

Barb
Barb
1 year ago

We have slightly improved the situation on the Hill. It is time for them to act. The last thing Biden will request is anything related to our military. He is full-on this green insanity…

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Democrats have long viewed the Defense budget as a piggybank they could raid, through cuts to the Department of Defense budget and then re-allocating those funds elsewhere, to fund new and existing social welfare programs in order to garner votes. This attitude has existed in the Democrat Party long before Bill Clinton was President. Look at the various Democrat Presidents going all the way back to FDR to see where they all stood on defense spending before world events forced them to change course to battle a foe they had previously chosen to ignore.

I’m not saying the Department of Defense should be given a blank check, because the bureaucracy within the Pentagon does have a history of bone-headed decisions when it comes to spending money in foolish ways if left to their own devices. There needs to be constant oversight and a deep understanding, beyond just looking at the budgetary numbers, of what the Department of Defense is investing in. That means people with more practical understanding than most members of Congress have to assess the validity of some of these programs and investments.

As an example, the Pentagon wasted billions of dollars on a stupid premise known as the Littoral Combat Ship program. An engineering money pit that ultimately had to be unceremoniously decommissioned. The Department of Defense also has a habit of killing advanced weapons programs needed to fight our potential adversaries, who have upped their capabilities substantially, in favor of buying more of what was used 20 or 30 years ago against far less advanced military opponents. Now we are in a race to catch up on multiple fronts to technologies we have no defenses against.

Bottom line is ANY Democrat President is going to view the Defense budget as something to be raided to buy votes. The default mode of most Democrat Presidents is one of appeasement of our enemies, which is why military conflicts tend to erupt under Democrat administrations. Our adversaries around the world sense the inherent weakness of most Democrat administrations and take full advantage of it for their own personal gain. In general, the American people need to look beyond what freebie some Democrat will promise them and instead realize that if they keep electing Democrats, one of these days the next Chinese balloon or so-called piece of Chinese space junk that sails over our nation won’t have spy systems hanging from it. Instead, it may have something far more lethal like an EMP. Then you won’t have to worry about the MSM or whether you can pay your utility bills, because virtually everything based on modern electronic technology will be rendered completely inoperable and we will be living in the stone age. At which point our adversaries can just stroll in here and just take whatever they want.

George L
George L
1 year ago

In the current situation, Pentagon needs sufficient funding for all programs, especially missile defense. I remember how by the end of W Bush’s term, the media attacked JLENS. It could be LATimes and Washington Post that claimed it was a scheme to drain taxpayers’ funds.

Those whom we elected should defund Biden’s waste and redirect to such programs. Yes, JLENS could protect us even against EMP because it will be a missile if deployed. Therefore multi-layer defense system should be a priority, not idiotic global warming. I am glad AMAC discusses the missile defense system. Nothing is more essential for us now.

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
1 year ago

We have two more years of Biden with a 50-50 possibility of the next administration ruled by Democrats. You just might want to start learning the skill sets of your grandparents and great grandparents how they lived before electricity. Moreover, learning how to speak a little Mandarin Chinese might come in handy. Since we longer possess the intestinal fortitude that our forebears had when they pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, I see little change from the path we’re on. To put it in the vernacular, the wheels are coming off this bus. The Republicans are doing too little too late to stop it and the deck is stacked.

Mike Hahn
Mike Hahn
1 year ago

Worthless liberals need to live in these dumps stay create. Yet we have over 100 billion dollars we spent on Ukraine seems democrats must be making a lot of money in that country.

Gregory Stearman
Gregory Stearman
1 year ago

After we elected them, we had a resolution on Ukraine. Who needs it?
President Trump stripped the Chinese of the privileged status granted by Clinton. But the biggest mistake was our business moving manufacturing to China and allowing their military firms to raise funding here. Trump partly fixed it, but Biden some of these bans removed.
Our military budget should be the priority and needs to reach Cold War levels.
As for the Chinese, I would not overestimate them and would not portray them as organized or acting according to plan. It is the perception they want to enforce on others. But the last pandemic shows they are chaotic and under pressure – even dangerous for themselves. They did not fight any battles since Vietnam, even clandestinely.
I am optimistic because Biden is making the financial mistakes that Carter did. He has already increased state programs so much that taxes will need to go up for everyone. Our economy, and global economies, will worsen due to persistent inflation. Fed has already said they would need to raise rates for longer.  The rates alone will not lower inflation. Economic growth and investment are required – but high taxes and high inflation will push into recession. If that happens, and I can’t see any reason that situation would change, the ideological programs or even show trials will not help Democrats.

Ron
Ron
1 year ago

Does anyone remember what Rush said about the Obama’s presidential program: I want him to fail? He tried to promote our Conservatism, saying that we love people and want to be happy, not resent or complain like the Left. Rush knew that Obama’s decision would damage us terribly. Unfortunately, it happened. 

It may be enough to wish Biden more achievement for the same reason. Someone should stand up and say that we want Biden and his cohorts to fail. Biden is ideologically reshaping our country according to the idea he cherished: statism. He is reversing all economic policies Reagan introduced.
It would require Trump to cut welfare by at least two-thirds and repeat to our youth: a job is the most effective welfare program. Finally, our part in Congress should treat immigration as a threat to our national security. Under Biden, it deteriorated to this point.

Jay
Jay
1 year ago

Obama folk is a majority of Biden’s administration. They represent Obama’s mindset that the U.S. should apologize to the world and share the same goal: to humiliate the American people. Their favorite city is Paris, where Obama’s wife traveled for vacation with her dog in a separate aircraft. It is also worth remembering. Nobody was made accountable for these scandals. The truth about Obama’s presidency has never been revealed. Our media were also too shy except for some talk show hosts, mostly Rush.
This article shows that repairing this mistake is a necessity.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
DICTATOR Beijing biden has not only SOLD OUT the UNITED STATES but commits TREASON every day.
Committed ELECTION FRAUD in 2020.
He opened OUR BORDERS for ILLEGAL ALIEN TERRORIST INVASION letting in CRIMINALS and TERRORIST EVERY DAY, GAVE TERRORIST $86 Billion in U.S. Military Weapons and Airbases in Afghanistan getting 13 U.S. Marines Killed and Abandoned AMERICANS over there, let’s Communist China SPY Ballon’s FLY ALL OVER U.S. for 2 WEEKS before taking action while waiting on POLLS and there are MORE Communist China SPY Ballon’s flying over U.S., Signing Deal with Wuhan Health Organization giving them CONTROL over OUR Medical Care VIOLATING U.S. CONSTITUTION and SOVEREIGNTY, Gives the Cartel CONTROL of our Southern Borders PUMPING IN FENTANYL, DRAINS our U.S. Strategic Oil Reserves for political purposes and SELLS OUR OIL to Communist China while KILLING OUR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, and the list keeps growing each day he is in WH ILLEGALLY and UNCONSTITUTIONALLY.
Last but least…DICTATOR Beijing biden has Given ALL Of OUR AMMUNITION to Ukraine so the U.S. is UNABLE TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM ANY KIND of ATTACK or ACT of WAR. Which Communist China committed an ACT of WAR by RELEASING THEIR China Virus UPON the WORLD with Fauci and DICTATOR Beijing biden’s blessing.
And let’s add ALL the ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL
LOCKDOWNS, MASK, and VACCINE MANDATES including all the
Executive orders and Bills he signed passed by FASCIST liberals in control of Congress and Senate at time which a LOT of THEM COMMITTED ELECTION FRAUD and
TREASON themselves with their Communist Party.
Let’s not forget that DICTATOR Beijing biden wants to put China Virus Vaccine into OUR FOOD when we HAVE NATURAL IMMUNITY.
And he DESTROYED our FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS and FARMERS abilities to GROW FOOD.
And his Green Energy SCAM for Electric Vehicles and making everything else totally electric when you NEED OIL and NATURAL GAS and COAL to produce ELECTRICITY.
His solar power SCAM is just that…A SCAM. Like everything else he’s done…A SCAM.

Luke
Luke
1 year ago

Those who said that Biden must fail are correct.

This fact described in this article should be brought to the attention of all American people. I hope our radios will talk about it.

I am glad AMAC publishes articles on Strategic Defense Initiative, this our Ronald Reagan’s The Great idea.

Marty
Marty
1 year ago

Lol, in the above photo Biden is asking Obama, “What should I do next boss?”

spitfire?1940
spitfire?1940
1 year ago

Clinton,Obama and Biden should all be put on trial for treason and when,not if,found guilty,given the appropriate sentence for that crime which,if I am not mistaken,is death by hanging.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

So we can’t count on the government to figure out what’s flying over our airspace before shooting it down. What’s next, a heatseeker for Santa at Christmas?

Andre Bixby
Andre Bixby
1 year ago

So, after this balloon from China, has completed it’s assigned task, it is destroyed. By a missile, which cost the taxpayers almost $400,000.00. Since it was a balloon, could it not have been brought down more or less in one piece so the intelligence community (PUN) could better analyze it’s gathering capabilities. Maybe if the pilot had been instructed to shoot it down with guns instead of said missile, we could have a better handle on what “secretes” have been sold by the biden administration and his now woke military.

Ziggy
Ziggy
1 year ago

I agree we have a Bumbling Bafoon in office now as well as in the past, but what has happened to OUR Alphabet Soup agencies “SPY” Satellites”. They can read a License Plate from Miles up so why and how did we not ID ANY of the Balloons??

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

No telling what we have over China. Theres the caught and the uncaught. Kyle L.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

And a P.S. As long as them silos have been there,m China oprobley’s knows within 2 feet whereb they are located. Kyle L.

Bob Allen
Bob Allen
1 year ago

It’s sad how Obama and Biden refuse to see how truly dangerous this world really is becoming.
And how vitat it is to have strong military forces.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Where is & what does SPACE FORCE do at the current time? Trump formed a new branch called SPACE FORCE when he was in office & I have not heard much about them since. Seems like the China Balloons would have involved this branch , any comments on this branch & what they do.

Jackie
Jackie
1 year ago

It seems that the President is still guilty of not doing his job!! I think his administration is slipping on the “safety and security of the American citizens” portion of his oath!! The borders are more open than ever allowing millions to cross the border illegally without any method of keeping track of them!! So it also seems that no one in his administration has had their eyes on the sky in our air space or directly over the land mass!! This balloon debacle now has many people worried even more about China and its future intent!! Maybe, Joe, you should be trying to run the country and stop trying to take over the country and ruin it!!!!

pete
pete
1 year ago

In the ‘Red October’ war games, the Swedish Grippins get missile lock of F-22’s and F-35’s. They say plainly it’s the programming not the radar. According to that, anything made of metal will show up, it just depends on how the radar is set up.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

DICTATOR Beijing biden still hasn’t BANNED TikTok, a Communist Chinese Espionage app. being constantly used against the United States to SPY ON and BRAINWASH
OUR CHILDREN TO HATE AMERICA by Promoting LOSER WOKE GARBAGE.
Then, why would he, when he’s in Communist China’s back pocket and continues to DESTROY the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and OUR CHILDREN’S LIVES
any way he can.

Neal M Christensen
Neal M Christensen
1 year ago

It was said that the balloon had “limited” maneuvering capability. So, it could be maneuvered somewhat by the Chinese to obtain the intelligence they wanted.

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