As the Federal government spends billions of dollars to expand the surveillance and monitoring of U.S. citizens with electronic eavesdropping devices and drone aircraft, it has decided to shut down a surveillance system that protects the southern border and coastline against low-flying aircraft and missiles and assists U.S. Customs and Border Protection in interdicting illegal border crossings and smuggling.
The Administration of President Barack Obama is shutting down the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) that uses moored balloons hovering at about 15,000 feet to watch for incoming aircraft and missiles that may penetrate U.S. air space. NORAD, the U.S. Air Force and customs all rely on the system.
According to an email to employees of Exelis Systems Corp., the company that built and maintains the system, the government has requested the program be shut down on March 15. Following is the text of the email:
Subject: TARS Contract Update
Tuesday, 15 January 2013, we received a government request for a proposal (RfP) to de-scope and close the TARS program by the end of the fiscal year. The government indicated that it does not intend to exercise the final two option years for the TARS contract. In the RfP, the government also indicated its intent that aerostat flight operations will cease on March 15, 2013, and that the remainder of the fiscal year will be used to deflate aerostats, disposition equipment, and prepare sites for permanent closure. We are currently reviewing all the details of the RfP and evaluating the possible impacts on the program and our workforce. We continue to communicate with the government on this matter, and we will have more information in the coming days and weeks.
The TARS program provides a critical capability to the U.S. government and we should remain focused on providing that service in an uninterrupted and robust manner.
The best thing we can do right now is to continue to provide the outstanding TARS support that has become the Exelis hallmark, while allowing the company and the government time to continue discussions on how to best support the customer, the program, and our workforce. We will provide regular updates as we know more. Should you have a specific question, please address them to Tim Green, Program Manager.
Tim Green, PMP
Tethered Aerostat Radar System
Exelis Systems Corporation
The Air Force’s website states: “(T)he system is capable of detecting low altitude aircraft at the radar’s maximum range by mitigating curvature of the earth and terrain masking limitations. TARS provides a detection and monitoring capability along the United States-Mexico border, the Florida Straits, and a portion of the Caribbean in support of the Department of Defense Counterdrug Program… In addition to its counterdrug mission, TARS surveillance data also supports North American Aerospace Defense Command’s air sovereignty mission for the continental United States.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Exelis employee told Texas GOP Vote this about the announced closure of the TARS sites:
“Not only will this closure mean hundreds of people will be out of jobs, but it also means our borders will not be safe, especially along the remote U.S. Mexico Border like in Texas. These defense radars detect low flying aircraft infiltrating our borders. Without these defense radars, low flying aircraft will go undetected. It will be open season for any drug/gun/slave smugglers, terrorists flying in with nukes, low altitude missiles, or even a full scale low elevation invasion/attack against America.”
Since he’s been in office, Obama has seemingly done all he can to make the southern border as unsafe as possible. He’s allowed guns to flow unimpeded across the border with Mexico through Operation Fast and Furious, he’s tied the hands of border patrol agents and now he’s abandoning the whole of the Southern United States to airborne attack. And he’s violating Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution in the process.
The grounds for charges of treason continue to mount.