Biden also promised to create an accessible inventory of unmanned aerial objects in U.S. airspace, improve capacity to detect objects that enter U.S. airspace, update rules and regulations for launching and maintaining objects, and work to establish global norms for “this largely unregulated space.”
It remains unclear whether the new parameters — and Biden’s decision to speak publicly about them — will appease lawmakers who have urged the administration to be more transparent about the flying objects.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted during an interview on Fox News Thursday morning that this month’s events mark the first time the U.S. military has shot down an object in American airspace since NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, was established 65 years ago.
“I do think that merits the president directly addressing why those things were shot down and what we know up to this point,” Rubio commented. “Nothing they’ve talked to us about with regards to those three should be classified, because it’s really not the type of thing you classify.”
During his remarks, Biden also defended his handling of the initial Chinese surveillance balloon. Republicans, and even a handful of Democrats, argued the government should have shot down the balloon before it had the chance to traverse sensitive military sites.