Cubs defeat Dodgers, 5-0, to advance to World Series for first time since 1945

John Breaux

How a $2.7 billion air-defense system became a 'zombie' program

How a $2.7 billion air-defense system became a 'zombie' program

Unknown to most Americans, the Pentagon has spent $2.7 billion developing a system of giant radar-equipped blimps to provide an early warning if the country were ever attacked with cruise missiles, drones or other low-flying weapons.

After nearly two decades of disappointment and delay, the system — known as JLENS — had a chance to prove its worth on April 15.

That day, a Florida postal worker flew a single-seat, rotary-wing aircraft into the heart of the nation's capital to dramatize his demand for campaign finance reform.

JLENS is intended to spot just such a tree-skimming intruder, and two of the blimps were supposed to be standing sentry above the capital...