Government /

US Department of Defense Tracking Balloon Traveling Near Hawaii

The Department found no action needs to be taken against the balloon, which was first observed on April 28

The United States Department of Defense is tracking a high-altitude balloon that has traveled over Hawaii in the direction of Mexico.

The unmanned object was detected on April 28 by the DOD and the Federal Aviation Administration. The object is flying at approximately 36,000 feet.

A spokesman for the Department of Defense said the ballon did not fly over any critical or sensitive infrastructure.

“Although it was flying at an altitude used by civil aviation, it posed no threat to civil aviation over Hawaii,” said the spokesman according to Fox News.”Based on these observations, the Secretary of Defense concurred with the recommendation of his military commanders that no action need be taken against the balloon.”

The official did not say if the DOD had determined the nature of the balloon or to which country it belongs. The department is continuing to track its flight path although the balloon is no longer in Hawaiian airspace.

“U.S. Indo-Pacific Command responded to an unidentified radar signature Friday in the vicinity of the island of Hawaii. Pacific Air Forces launched three F-22s to assess the situation and visually identified a spherical object,” a spokesperson for the group told The War Zone on May 1. “We monitored the transit of the object and assessed that it posed no threat.”

“As a part of our normal daily operations, we closely track all vessels and aircraft in the Indo-Pacific area of operations through a combination of joint capabilities to protect the U.S. homeland, support our Allies and partners and secure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the spokesperson added. 

A spokesperson for the National Security Council reportedly referred NBC News to the Defense Department for questions regarding the balloon. 

The Biden administration was strongly condemned in February for not taking action to prevent a Chinses spy balloon from traversing the country after US intelligence agencies spotted the object before it reached Alaska.

Photos of the balloon floating above Montana went viral, prompting serious concern among the American public. The balloon was ultimately shot down by the Air Force after it had reached the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 4.

The House of Representatives unanimously voted to condemn China as a result. The Chinese government had said the object was a weather surveillance balloon that had been blown off course. 

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley called for the Senate Homeland Security Committee to investigate President Joe Biden’s response to the Chinese surveillance balloon. 

As members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), we have an obligation to obtain full understanding of the surveillance that the Chinese government is currently conducting in gross violation of U.S. airspace and to understand the Biden Administration’s baffling response thus far,” he wrote in a letter to Committee Chairman Senator Gary Peters. “China’s foray into American sovereign airspace is deeply disturbing and calls for an immediate investigation.”

*For corrections please email [email protected]*