Oversight leaders want answers on runaway blimp

Oversight leaders want answers on runaway blimp
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The chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform want proof the Army blimp that broke free from its mooring this week is worth the money spent on it.

“This event raises serious questions about the value and reliability of JLENS,” Reps. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Dems seek to make officials feel the pain Lawmakers contemplate a tough political sell: Raising their pay Top Utah paper knocks Chaffetz as he mulls run for governor: ‘His political career should be over’ MORE (R-Utah) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget On The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls House Oversight Committee requests information on reported Trump plan to send TSA employees to border MORE (D-Md.) wrote in letters to the Defense and Transportation secretaries, using an acronym for the research program the blimp is part of, the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.

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On Wednesday, the blimp caused a social media sensation when it traveled 200 miles north to Pennsylvania while being chased by two F-16 fighter jets before being shot down in the woods.

The Pentagon said Thursday it was investigating why the blimp broke free.

The blimp, formally known as an aerostat, was part of a three-year research project for JLENS.

The system, developed by Raytheon, cost an estimated $2.8 billion.

Chaffetz and Cummings asked Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for all contracts associated with JLENS, all documents about JLENS’s deployment timeline, documents about the deployment timeline of other systems meant to mitigate aerial threats and documents on the reliability of JLENS.

They want the documents to “understand whether JLENS is a worthwhile investment of taxpayer dollars,” they wrote.

They asked for the documents by Nov. 12 and also asked committee staff to be briefed by Thursday.