The case of the errant aerostat continued this week with recovery operations, a call for an investigation into the incident, and also an appearance by Harford Campaign for Liberty on a nationally-televised news program.
On Friday night, during The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, a screenshot of The Dagger’s preview of the Oct. 27 Harford Campaign for Liberty meeting, which included an agenda item regarding the JLENS blimps on the agenda, was used in a discussion about the warning the group had offered.
In the words of host Rachel Maddow:
“It’s interesting, a local tea party group in Maryland had been sounding the alarm for months about that blimp; that giant military blimp spying on people. Just this week they’d given a public talk about that military blimp being ‘zombie program.’ And then, the day after they gave that talk, look what happens. You can’t say nobody warned you, America.”
The video clip is posted below:
MIKULSKI CALLS FOR THOROUGH INVESTIGATION OF DETACHED J-LENS AEROSTAT
From the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced that in a letter to U.S. Army Secretary John MuHugh and U.S. Northern Command Commander Admiral William Gortney, she has called for a thorough investigation of Wednesday’s incident where a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (J-LENS) aerostat stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground became detached from its mooring and drifted into rural Pennsylvania.
Senator Mikulski’s letter to Secretary McHugh and Commander Gortney follows:
October 29, 2015
The Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
U.S. Department of Defense
101 Army Pentagon, Room 3E700
Washington, DC 20310-0101
Admiral William Gortney
U.S. Northern Command
Peterson Air Force Base
Colorado Springs, CO 80914-3808
Dear Secretary McHugh and Admiral Gortney:
I am deeply concerned that the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) aerostat, stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, became detached yesterday. I request a thorough investigation of this incident.
I understand that the Army already initiated a Failure Review Board to begin the investigation of this incident. As this process gets underway, the Army must:
1. Investigate the danger this incident posed to communities and determine what action needs to be taken to ensure this never happens again; and
2. Determine whether operational testing for JLENS should continue.
Thank you for your prompt attention to my request.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
Recovery Operations for JLENS Aerostat
From NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND Public Affairs, Headquarters, North American Aerospace Defense Command
Oct 29, 2015 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – This morning, recovery operations commenced for the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) fire control radar system aerostat.
Wednesday, at approximately noon EDT, the aerostat detached from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. Around 4 p.m. EDT the aerostat grounded itself in a rugged, wooded area in northeast Pennsylvania. The aerostat landed in two separate but nearby sections; the tail and main body are separated by a quarter-mile. JLENS personnel in conjuction with Pennsylvania Army National Guard and Pennsylvania State Police secured the site, while a technical recovery team of military and civilian experts from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, deployed to the site.
After the fire control radar system aerostat detatched, the surveillance aerostat was immediately lowered and secured as a precaution.
An emergency operations center has been established in Pennsylvania and the crash sites are being assessed. Recovery efforts are underway.
The Army has initiated an investigation to determine the cause of the incident. There is no indication that it may have been cyber or terrorist-related. The investigation will look at every aspect of how this incident occurred.
For questions regarding the recovery process contact the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) at 850-283-8080. For general questions about the incident contact North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Public Affairs.
JLENS is a supporting program of the Army and Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense, providing persistent, over-the-horizon radar surveillance and fire control quality data on Army and Joint Networks. It enables protection from a wide variety of threats to include manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, and surface moving targets like swarming boats and tanks.
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.