Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane argued the traversing of a Chinese spy balloon across the United States last week along with the revelation that there were multiple lesser breaches by other balloons in the past is “very serious” and reveals Beijing’s strategy.
During a Tuesday Fox News interview with Keane — who served as acting chief of staff and vice chief of staff of the Army — host Martha MacCallum showed a map of 10 locations the Pentagon says it was able to determine Chinese spy balloons have likely surveilled.
They included in the vicinity of the home bases of the U.S. Navy Atlantic and Pacific fleets in Norfolk, Virginia, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, respectively; along with U.S. military installations in Guam; San Diego, California; Florida; Texas; and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, where American intercontinental nuclear weapons are housed.
“This is serious because we are talking about systems that have penetrated U.S. air space. Not for very long, but that’s quite irrelevant. They succeeded. They penetrated U.S. air space and were not detected,” Keane said.
“Why does that matter?” he asked. “Because what China has developed is a hypersonic glide vehicle, delivered by a fractional orbital bombardment system.”
In simpler terms, the Chinese have developed a missile that flies much lower and faster than traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles, making them harder to acquire and take down by missile defense systems.
The U.S. has also successfully tested hypersonic missiles.
Keane recounted that in July 2021, the Chinese fired a hypersonic missile that circumnavigated the globe and returned to China from the southern hemisphere.
Referring to the map that MacCallum had displayed earlier in the interview, the military expert said, “All of those balloons, by and large, are in the south. And our nuclear systems that are going to detect Russia’s nuclear bombers or Russia’s nuclear missiles and the same thing with China’s, where are they? They’re tracking them from the east and west and coming over the globe” from the north.
So Keane argued, it’s clear that China is using these balloons to probe U.S. detection systems coming from different directions in order to determine where the American defenses are most vulnerable.
“And they know if they’re not detected because there’s no aircraft up, no jamming of their system, and they say, ‘Okay, this is a path we can follow,’” he said.
“I think this is very very serious what is taken place here,” Keane contended.
A future attack could be with a nuclear weapon or perhaps the atmospheric blast of an electromagnetic pulse designed to destroy the nation’s electrical grid.
Keane said in an earlier interview on Fox Business Network Tuesday, “This is a Cold War that we’re in and we have to develop comprehensive strategies to counter China.
“And I think the president should be a lot clearer with the American people in terms of what this relationship really is.”