BRUSSELS (AP) — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs said Tuesday that the first U.S. missile fired at an unidentified aerial object over Lake Huron missed the target and “landed harmlessly“ in the water, but that the second one successfully hit.
The acknowledgment by Gen. Mark Milley of the errant strike comes amid questions about whether the shootdown of aerial objects that military officials say didn’t pose a threat is creating unnecessary risk.
Milley said the military went to “great lengths” to make sure the strikes over U.S. soil did not put civilians at risk, including identifying what the debris field size was likely to be and the maximum effective range of the missiles used. He also said in each case the Pentagon works to make sure that the air space is clear, and to evaluate the potential debris field, before embarking on such a strike.
“We’re very very careful to make sure that these shots are in fact safe,” Milley said, to “make sure we minimize collateral damage.”
The object taken down Sunday was the third in as many days to be shot from the skies. The White House has said the objects differed in size and maneuverability from a Chinese surveillance balloon that U.S. fighter jets shot down earlier this month, but that their altitude was low enough to pose a risk to civilian air space.
Milley was in Brussels with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on additional weapons and defensive needs for Kyiv in advance of Russia’s anticipated spring offensive.
Fox News was the first to report the missed missile strike.
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