Biden's Plan For Stopping The Next 9/11? - Balloons - Be Afraid, Very, Very Afraid.
In the early days of the Cold War, before spy satellites, the U.S. Air Force launched high-altitude balloons carrying cameras and let them drift over the Soviet Union snapping pictures. This was judged a safer alternative to flights by manned aircraft. Ninety percent of the balloons either crashed or were shot down by the Russians. It wasn’t the most efficient way to gather intelligence.
Nevermind. The Biden administration’s new plan for monitoring the Taliban and making sure all those terrorist groups it harbors don’t prepare another attack on the United States?
“October 7, 2022
Release Number 20221007-04
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAMPA, Fla. – U.S. Central Command hosted an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance summit, Oct. 5-6, 2022, at USCENTCOM headquarters. The technology innovation discovery event focused on long-endurance alternate airborne ISR capabilities to solve continuity gaps across the USCENTCOM area of responsibility…
The summit was intended to identify and accelerate warfighter capabilities by providing awareness and understanding of a cross-section of innovative and emerging technologies, including hands-on demonstrations on cutting-edge ISR technology. The event was held at a classified level and was not open to the public or the media.”
“Continuity gaps” – for those of you who don’t speak Pentagonese would translate roughly to “We have no idea what is going on. We are blind. They could be building an atomic bomb in Afghanistan, and we would not know.”
When asked about what kinds of solutions to these “continuity gaps” were presented, Army Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM’s spokesman, said, “There’s lighter-than-air technology, a balloon or a blimp or a kite, that kind of thing,” Bucchino told The War Zone.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has been working with this concept for a variety of applications for some time. A company called Raven Aerostar has developed high-altitude balloons called Thunderheads that supposedly can hold stationed in the same general area almost indefinitely. The Army has been working with balloons that can launch swarms of unmanned aircraft. There are even proposals for balloons that will literally rain sensors that land and then report back on what they detect.
In regard to the problem of collecting intelligence on Afghanistan, the basic idea seems to be this. The balloons would carry sensors that monitor the ‘Cyber-Electromagnetic Environment,’ locating and tracking radio communications from Wi-Fi, cellphones, and military communication systems. Based on this data the military would then use its long-range weapons to reach out and destroy the targets identified.
All of which might work really well for tracking and destroying a Russian motorized rifle regiment, but is likely of only marginal utility against terrorists planning an attack.
Afghanistan is a very big place. Much of it is extremely remote with limited infrastructure. Virtually, every major Islamic terrorist group on the planet has a presence there now courtesy of the Taliban. Training camps are spread throughout the country and operate with impunity.
The facilities necessary to train terrorist groups are extremely primitive. An open dirt field is a facility for all kinds of training. A rifle range may be bare dirt in front of a low ridge. An explosives training range could be virtually anywhere.
The number of individuals involved in any particular operation may be extremely limited. The amount of money and equipment involved may also be minuscule by Pentagon standards. Al Qaida probably spent less money on 9/11 than the military does on Powerpoint slides in a month.
Every terrorist group on the planet knows American technical capabilities. They understand the principles of compartmentation and limiting access to critical information. It took us ten years to find Bin Laden because he cut himself off from the internet, communicated via couriers, and told only a chosen few where he was hiding.
The point is that high-altitude balloons drifting around in the stratosphere sucking up radio signals and snapping pictures of barren hillsides are going to tell you next to nothing about what Al Qaida and ISIS and other similar organizations are planning. A lot of defense contractors will get rich, and a whole bunch of folks in DoD will keep busy processing data, and we will not be any safer than we were before.
When we fled Afghanistan we went blind and we gave our mortal enemies the time and space they needed to regroup and begin to prepare for what is next, attacks on the homeland. Our capacity to put assets on the ground inside Afghanistan to collect on what is being planned is now effectively nil. DoD-sponsored summits and conferences will not change that. We need human sources on the ground and we do not have them.
Biden’s plan for keeping you safe? Balloons. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.
We are ridiculous.
>>We need human sources on the ground and we do not have them.
And (purposely?) we gifted the Taliban the biometric data that would identify human sources that might have been available to us.