PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. –
Statement from Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command:
“At the direction of the President of the United States and with the full support of the Government of Canada, United States fighter aircraft under U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) authority successfully brought down the PRC’s high altitude surveillance balloon at 2:39 p.m. EST, Feb. 4, 2023.
In accordance with the President’s direction, the military brought down the balloon within sovereign U.S. airspace and over U.S. territorial waters to protect civilians while maximizing our ability to recover the payload.
American and Canadian personnel from all three North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) regions tracked the surveillance balloon, and USNORTHCOM’s U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy service components integrated to successfully down the balloon and are working to recover the balloon and payload.
Active duty, Reserve, National Guard, and civilian personnel planned and executed the operation, and partners from the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration, and Federal Bureau of Investigation ensured public safety throughout the operation and recovery efforts.
Our U.S. Navy component is currently conducting recovery operations, with the U.S. Coast Guard assisting in securing the area and maintaining public safety.
I am proud of the exceptional professionalism the NORAD and USNORTHCOM team displayed throughout this operation, and the dedication they bring every day to defending our homelands.”