Suspicion is rising between Canada and the United States as they question the effectiveness of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad). This came after Norad lost track of the mysterious object that was shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday. Jamil Jaffer, executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University in Virginia, believes an overhaul of Norad is necessary. He is unsure if the challenges posed by the recent flurry of overhead encounters are due to a lack of capability, a lack of attention, or a combination of both.
Three objects have been destroyed in the sky in as many days, with U.S. officials claiming it was a Chinese surveillance balloon that floated across the continent two weeks ago. U.S. and Canadian recovery teams are struggling to retrieve debris from the frozen Arctic Ocean, a remote stretch of Yukon, and the depths of the Great Lakes. According to military officials, the object shot down over Lake Huron was first detected above southern Alberta before radar operators lost contact somewhere over Montana.
Canada and the U.S. are discussing and working on upgrading Norad, which is a badly outdated system. This was discussed during the meeting between Defence Minister Anita Anand and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, the same day U.S. fighter jets engaged a flying object off the north Alaska coast. However, there has been no information on when the upgrade will be complete or if a more modern Norad would be better equipped to detect unmanned, slow-moving, high-altitude interlopers.
CNN reported that the object shot down over Yukon appeared to be a “small, metallic balloon” with a tethered payload that ventured near “sensitive sites” in the U.S. Jaffer believes that new capabilities are needed to deal with this old or modern threat.
A Canadian Coast Guard vessel, a drone team, and RCMP investigators have been dispatched to assist in the Lake Huron search. The Royal Canadian Air Force has also deployed aircraft to support efforts to recover the debris over a 3,000-square-kilometre area. Norad commander U.S. Gen. Glen VanHerck confirmed that Norad has recalibrated to better detect smaller, slower-moving objects.
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