The government is to review an air defense system established after the September 11, 2001 attacks to determine whether the costly program is still necessary, the New York Times reported Friday.
The review is expected to include a complete reassessment of the threat of a terror attack by air and will consider the cumulative effects of various security measures taken since the 2001 attacks.
“The fighter force is extremely expensive, so you always have to ask yourself the question ‘How much is enough?'” Major General Pierre Forgues, the Canadian who currently serves as director of operations for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, commonly known as Norad, told the paper.
The Times notes that US “Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., the head of Norad and Northern Command, ordered the review in response to criticism this year by the Government Accountability Office that the command had failed to conduct ‘routine risk assessments.’ General Renuart expanded the scope of the review ‘to refine how we allocate and request resources today,’ said the commands’ spokesman, James Graybeal.”
The program currently involves keeping dozens of military aircraft and hundreds of air crew on alert to respond to any threats, though air patrols of US cities ended in 2007.
The review of the program, expected to be complete by next spring, will look at the likelihood of terrorists hijacking a plane or piloting their own aircraft into US or Canadian airspace.
It will try to assess whether the air defense program is necessary in light of various security measures, including airport screening, passenger tracking and secured airliner cockpits, that were implemented after the 9/11 attacks.
“The ability of terrorists to do what they did on 9/11 has been greatly curtailed,” Forgues told the Times.
However, he warned that the outcome of the review was not predetermined and the program could be maintained at current levels or even scaled up if deemed necessary.
Norad statistics show that there were 1,000 incidents of suspicious air activity last year, with 400 requiring a Norad response and 200 prompting jet fighters to be scrambled, the Times said.
Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action
Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.
Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.
Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.
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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.
Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.
The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.
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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."
Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.
"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"
"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.