Geopolitical Insights

SITREP – Surveillance Balloon Shot Down

February 4, 2023




What has Happened:

  • The Chinese surveillance balloon that crossed over the U.S. this week was shot down by a U.S. F-22 on Saturday afternoon.
  • The spy balloon was about six miles off the coast of South Carolina and flying at an altitude of between 60,000 and 65,000 feet when it was shot down.
  • U.S. officials are now closely watching China’s reaction and whether the Chinese military will retaliate against American assets in any way.
  • U.S. efforts to recover pieces of the balloon and its sensor payload are currently underway.

Why it Matters:

“Congratulations to our U.S. military for shooting down the Chinese spy balloon over U.S. territorial waters.  The U.S. DoD spokesman said that NORAD tracked the balloon since it entered U.S. airspace at Alaska. Another option could have been to shoot it down when it first penetrated the U.S. air defense identification zone. Secretary Blinken did the right thing by cancelling his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister. Actions speak louder than words and calling off the talks sends a message that the U.S. will not stand for China’s continued military aggression. Deterring China is the nation’s primary and growing national security threat and it will take a determined focus that uses all elements of national power. The Chinese tested America’s strength and will with this provocative incident.” – General Robert Walsh


“With regards to timing, the goal was to shoot down the balloon over the ocean. I am 100% sure that there is a recovery team executing exploitation. It is a huge payload and I am certain that they will bring all of it back to the U.S. and we will hear more. I have heard that there is a similar balloon over Brazil so China’s line that it is an errant weather balloon is not accurate. The Secretary of State was correct to cancel his China visit since this is one of many recent surveillance episodes by China. They are watching multiple U.S. military bases to see U.S. tactics. The Chinese are watching Marines closely as they assume Marines would respond to a Taiwan fight. This is ill timed for China and will fuel bipartisan support against China at home.”General Frank Kearney