Thursday, July 29, 2021

The recent SIGMA2 3AF French report on UAP

 The SIGMA2 technical commission of L'Association Aeronautique et Astronautique de France, (3AF for short) is a learned body of the aerospace industry in France. It recently published an important report on UAP, which the French refer to as Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena. This French publication was largely overlooked by the global UAP research community, due to the release of the U.S. Office of the Director of National intelligence report to the U.S. Congress.

On the 3AF website, can be found a 19 page English language summary of the much longer (377 page) French language report. To obtain a copy of the fuller French language report, click here. 

SIGMA2's mandate



"1. Undertake desk research and the creation of a database for investigators of data and documents whose authenticity has been established and quality assessed.

2. Build a scientific and technical network with first, building links with recognized institutions in the field of UAP, starting with CNES-GEIPAN.

3. Establish a selection of case studies from available databases to conduct technical investigations.

4. Initiate a reflection on the physical manifestations of these phenomena and their links with the physical sciences.

5. Establish an inventory of the means and techniques of observations and, starting from a physical analysis, make recommendations on the improvement of observation techniques."

What's in the report?

History of French data

"Regarding French data, SIGMA2 identified the origin of the surveys of UAP in France. They date back to 1951 with the opening of the MOC (Mysterious celestial objects) file by the Air Force Scientific Research Office, followed in 1954 by Ministerial Directive 267/EMFA/A/BS/ DR on MOC."

The report summary then provides details of recent U.S. initiatives, and the pre-release discussion of what would be in the UAOP Task Force report to Congress.

U.S. private groups?

"However, at the end of 2017, SIGMA2 questioned itself on the 3AF/SIGMA2 site about this shift in American communications  policy and its purpose. Was it the work of private groups?...Are these completely unknown phenomena, are they foreign incursions?"

U.K. report

Referring to the U.K. Department of Defence report, Project Condign, the French report summarizes the U.K. report's conclusion as:

"The work concludes that there are no proven risks, particularly for air traffic and defense,  by emphasizing the possible origins of these phenomena in connection with atmospheric plasmas of natural origin."

China

SIGMA2 notes that the People's Republic of China (PRC) responded to the Pentagon's report, by describing "...a similar observations of regular incursions into Chinese airspace..."

Contacts

SIGMA2 has established links with CNES-GEIPAN; French Air and Space Force; the Service Historique de la Defense; the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Ephemeris Calculation of the Paris Observatory (who have a network of cameras networked with HF receivers); the Chilean CEFAA; and private U.S. groups NARCAP and the SCU; plus the Argentinian CEFAE.

SIGMA2 also jointly organized a November 2020 symposium on the theme "IR-radar cross views of UAP."

Case selection

SIGMA2 is particularly interested in cases with physical data; and selected cases from the GEIPAN database; the U.K. Ministry of Defense files, and American archives.

Regarding the 2004 U.S.S. Nimitz case:

 "...we were unable to conduct a study due to lack of data, as the IR video is insufficient without context data, or distance measurements. We have made an inventory of technologies studied by the U.S. Navy to explain, according to some, the IR and radar video recordings of objects moving at high speeds. These are, for example, filament plasma lasers or UAVs carrying jammers. According to the available data and our analyses, these advanced technologies cannot explain the observed nature of the kinematics and radiation observed at great distances."

Physical elements

Part of the SIGMA2 study in this area concluded:

"...a summary was drawn up by a doctor, part of the SIGMA2 commission in order to establish a parallel between certain cases of UAP identified and knowledge on the effects of ionizing radiation or not on living beings. The inventory includes, for example, the effects of microwaves on tissues, heart rate, memory etc depending on the types and level of radiation."

"We also conclude to the possibility of buoying plasmas that exist in the atmosphere, similar to certain types of ball lightning or Earthlights related to seismic activity...However, according to our analyses the displacement of these plasmas cannot explain the cases of UAP observed with high speeds and accelerations..."

Recovered materials

Studies by SIGMA2:
"...in the documents identifying the analysis of supposedly recovered materials raise several  questions. What are the ejecta of metals in the liquid state? What would their function be? Would they play a role in the propulsion system using nuclear energy?"

Observations

SIGMA2 took a look at systems that monitor air traffic and space.

"Observations of UAP is not a taboo for the French Air and Space Force, which has proceeded to identify cases and provide the data to GEIPAN, when saved...The Air and Space Force is open to provide data but many missions to complete and case UAP observed are almost non-existent..."

The way ahead

"...new technologies and means of observation are gradually being deployed and giving rise to hope for new data collection."

"Likewise, it is necessary to involve physicists in order to compare the analytical data and the physical hypotheses..."

"Assuming increase scientific interest and a willingness to share data, holding an international scientific workshop on type D PAN cases would be desirable."

 In conclusion

The report concluded:

"It seems that some cases are beyond known science and may prompt research into extensions of known laws or lead to other discoveries, confirming alternative theories now qualified as speculation."

Monday, July 19, 2021

Did the U.S.S. Bainbridge have an encounter with a UAP in 2017? - ship deck logs checked

The Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies presentation

In an August 2019 presentation to the SCU, U.S. researcher Rich Hoffman mentioned that there had been two earlier alleged UAP encounters involving U.S. Naval ships. These ships were the U.S.S. Boxer, in 1998, and the U.S.S. Bainbridge in 2017. 

Other mentions of this was made on reddit/ufo; where a comment stated that "Note this was confirmed by Elizondo in this interview today" with another comment stating "Also note, that Elizondo acknowledged that he had heard of these encounters but did not confirm any details regarding said encounters."

Follow up

In March 2021, in attempting to follow up details of either ship's encounters, I contacted Rich Hoffman. I asked if he had any further details on the two events he cited, but he advised that he did not. He stated that the original source of his scanty information had been Luis Elizondo. 

I decided to see if I could locate relevant deck logs for the more recent Bainbridge encounter. But for what date in 2017?  U.S.S. Bainbridge (DDG-96) is a guided missile destroyer, with a home base of Naval Station Norfolk on the Atlantic coast of the U.S.A.


Deck logs

I reasoned that as all other U.S.N. ship encounters had been during training exercises that I would focus on those times for 2017. A search of the internet led me to choose three months of 2017, namely, June, July and October when the ship was definitively on exercises. So, in March 2021, I submitted an FOIA request to the U.S.N. for the Bainbridge's deck logs for those three months. 

On 17 July 2021, I received a final decision response to FOIA request DON-NAVY-2021-004939, and was granted copies of the deck logs with certain redactions (of the names of U.S.N. personnel.)The deck logs consisted of 760 pages. As you can imagine it took quite some time to comb through 760 pages looking for relevant details, such as whether or not observations of UAV/Drones etc. were recorded, or whether or not SNOOPIE teams were called out to make observations. 

What was the result?

I found no trace of any recording of the observation of UAV/UAP etc. in the deck logs. There were, however, numerous instances where the ship's SNOOPIE teams had been called out. I list these below:

1. 7 June 2017, 1745 hrs local time. "Away snoopie team away port side." However, this was during the time the ship was involved in a search and rescue and a yellow flotation device was observed.

2. 24 July 2017. 1500hrs. "Away snoopie team away port side."

3. 25 July 2017. 1413hrs. "Away the snoopie team: Gold team. MAN SCAT."

4. 26 July 2017. 1606hrs. "Away snoopie team (Blue team) VTBDVIDE."

5. 27 July 2017. 1437hrs. "Away snoopie team Gold team. Stbd. side."

6. 28 July 2017. 1213hrs. "Away snoopie team Gold team STBD side."

7. 29 July 2017. 1733hrs. "Away snoopie team away port side."

8. 20 October 2017. 1111hrs. "Away snoopie team stbd side."

9. 22 October 2017. 1825hrs. "Away snoopie team: Port side."

Summary 

In short, if there was a UAP encounter by the U.S.S. Bainbridge in June, July or October 2017, the deck logs for June, July and October 2017 provide little information about it. Of course, if an encounter did happen during 2017, it might simply have been during one of the other nine months of the year. 

What we really need is further data on the event, starting with at least the month; then the relevant month's deck log could be FOId, as I already did for three months in 2017. Has any reader, any additional information which could assist us? The same goes, for the U.S.S. Boxer event, said to have happened in 1998. We lack the month it happened. To my knowledge no one has submitted an FOIA request for the Boxer's deck logs to see if the event can be confirmed. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Australian Department of Defence - what assets might detect UAP?

Freedom of Information Act request

On 16 June 2021, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Australian Department of Defence (DOD.) My request asked:

"I wish to obtain copies of emails generated by the Australian Department of Defence, between 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021, which refer to the terms "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object;" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena."

My rationale for submitting the above FOIA request was that, earlier in June 2021, I had submitted a series of UAP related questions to the media section of the Australian Department of Defence. Their response was: 

"Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena/unidentified flying object sightings."

My FOIA request, simply aimed to see if there were indeed internal communications about such phenomena, which the media section had been unable to obtain.

Preparation before submitting FOIA

While I was preparing my FOIA request, I examined the organisational structure of the Australian Department of Defence, looking to find out where the most likely sections were, which might encounter "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified drones;" "Unidentified objects;" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena."

I identified the most likely area to be the "Surveillance & Response Group." This includes the Headquarters  Surveillance & Response Group (RAAF Williamtown.) Here we find Headquarters No. 41 Wing (Williamtown); Headquarters No. 42 Wing ( (Williamtown;) Headquarters No. 44 Wing (Williamtown) and Headquarters No. 92 Wing (Edinburgh.)

HQ No. 41 Wing has under it:

* No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU) (Edinburgh)

* No. 3 Control & Reporting Unit (3CRU) (Williamtown)

* No. 114 Mobile Control & Reporting Unit (114MCRU) (Darwin)

* Surveillance & Control Training Unit (Williamtown.)

HQ No. 42 Wing has under it:

* No. 2 Squadron - (Williamtown) 

* No. 10 Squadron (Edinburgh) RAAF Martime patrol squadron

HQ No. 44 Wing has under it:

* No. 452 Squadron (Darwin) - Air traffic control unit

* No. 453 Squadron (Williamtown) - Air traffic control unit

HQ No. 92 Wing has under it:

* No. 11 Squadron (Edinburgh) - Maritime patrol squadron

* No. 292 Squadron (Edinburgh) - Martime training squadron.

Taking a closer look at some of the above is illuminating, and provides detail of Australian RAAF surveillance capacities, over land, over sea, and in space.

No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit 

No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (IRSU) is based at RAAF base Edinburgh in South Australia. Its role is radar surveillance and Space Situational Awareness. It does this via a range of sensors;

1. JORN is  collection of three over-the-horizon radar systems, proving a coverage of between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometres from each radar site. It monitors the air and sea to the north of Australia. It is designed to detect air targets equal in size to a BAE Hawk - 127 aircraft, and a sea surface object 56 metres, or longer. The three transmission stations are located near Longreach, Queensland; near Laverton, Western Australia; and near Alice Springs in the Northern territory.



2. C-band radar.  This is located at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station, in Exmouth, Western Australia. It commenced operation in 2017, and is the first southern hemisphere low earth orbit sensor system as part of the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. It is a joint Australian, U.S.A.F. initiative. It operates in the microwave frequency of 4-8 GHz. In 2017 the Australian Minister of Defence stated that the C-band system "...can accurately track several hundred objects a day and identify space debris and satellites."  

https://www.afspc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1457949/c-band-holt-radar-one-year-on/

3. The RAAF Space Surveillance Telescope (SST)

https://news.defence.gov.au/capability/keeping-eye-space-traffic


The SST became operational in July 2021, and is also located at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station, Exmouth, Western Australia. It is designed to look at any objects in earth orbit up to geosynchronous orbit. It has an aperture of 3.6 metres. It is a joint initiative of Australia and the U.S. Space Force. 

In 2020, the Chief of the RAAF, Air Marshall Leo Davies, "...said the telescope would increase the capacity to detect and track objects in order to manage threats, including space debris and predict and avoid potential collisions." 

As can be seen from the above, the Australian Department of Defence has a variety of very sophisticated sensors which can reach out to long distances to Australia's north; and into Earth orbit up to geosynchronous distances, 36,000 kilometres above the Earth.

In a USAF Peterson Air Force Base fact sheet titled 1RSU Space Systems, I found the following:

"1RSU is the only operation unit charged with enhancing the ADFs Space presence and Space Situational Awareness (SSA). This is achieved with the C-band radar, Space Based Infrared System - Australian Mission Processor (SBIRS-AMP) and in future, Space Surveillance Telescope (SST)

Later, the fact sheet elaborates on the SBIRS-AMP. 

"SBIRS is a constellation of satellites containing Infra-red (IR) sensors to provide early warning and intelligence collection to achieve their missions. This constellation includes Defence Support Program (DSP) satellites, first launched in 1970. SBIRS Geostationary (GEO) satellites first launched in 2011 and SBIRS - Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) satellites. Downlinked data is processed via the SBIRS-AMP at 1 RSU."

Databases - air safety considerations

The other area which I though there might be some data available is in terms of DOD aviation safety. I determined from my Melbourne colleague Paul Dean that there were two relevant systems, namely the Defence Aviation Reporting System and the Defence Aviation hazard Reporting & Tracking System.  

The Department of Defence FOIA response

On 13 July 2021 I received a two page response from Group Captain, M. A. Kelton. Part of the response described the efforts that they went to to respond to my request. I quote from the DOD FOIA response.

"7. To ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken in this request, every practical avenue of locating the documents have been exhausted. Searches were conducted by 41 Wing (3CRU and 1RSU), 42 Wing, 44 Wing (452 and 453 Squadrons), and 92 Wing personnel who performed electronic searches for information matching the scope of this request, and no records were found.

8. Searches were made for emails bearing the words and/or phrases "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object" and "Unidentified aerial phenomena" for the period 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021. Email record searches on the Protected and Secret networks included those of Flight Commanders, Operations staff, Wing and Unit Air Safety Officers, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower staff, and Air Battle Managers on duty during this period. Particular emphasis was made in searching email databases at RAAF bases Darwin, Tindal, Amberley, Oakey, Edinburgh, Williamtown, East Sale and Richmond. Searches for emails matching the criteria were also made within the Defence electronic filing system (Objective) of Surveillance & Response Group. The search criteria was also entered into the Defence Aviation Safety System and the Defence Aviation Hazard Reporting and Tracking System."

"10. Based on the above, I am satisfied that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate the documents sought by the applicant. I am satisfied that the documents do not exist..." 

Paul Dean's earlier Australian DOD FOIA research 

 For anyone wishing to examine the results of earlier (from 2015) FOIA requests made to the Australia DOD, I would strongly recommend you take a look at:

The Royal Air Force's "Contacts of interest." 

Obtaining Actual "Contacts of Interest" from the  Royal Australian Air Force

Paul Dean was able to establish that the Australian parallel to the U. S. terminology of "uncorrelated targets" was "contacts of interest" and was able to obtain 41 Wing documents describing the "contacts of interest" process. 



In conclusion

As does the U.S.  Department of Defense, the Australian Department of Defence, via the sensor systems described above, has the ability to detect unusual or anomalous targets in its detection systems. If it does record such targets, then, based on my FOIA response these are not labelled "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft:" "Unidentified object" or "Unidentified aerial phenomena." 

Paul Dean's work showed that the JORN system picks up what the DOD label as "contacts of interest." Naturally, most of these will turn out, upon investigation, to be tracks of illegal aircraft bringing in drugs, or being used by people smugglers, or for other illegal activities. Aircraft entering Australian airspace for illegal purposes go from being "contacts of interest" to "Unauthorised aircraft movements" (UAM.)

It is possible that other, more anomalous targets might be picked up from time to time. However, for the moment, there is no direct evidence that the DOD has any interest in these. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

NASA and UAP - an updated official statement is available

Politico article 

On 10 June 2021 Politico published an article by Bryan Bender, which reported on an interview with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. One of the items discussed was UAP. I found the discussion of sufficient interest, that I reproduce that part of the article below.

"You have directed your top scientist to investigate military reports of unmanned aerial phenomenon.

A couple of years ago, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I was briefed on what those Navy pilots saw, and I have talked to the Navy pilots. They are quite convinced. And these are realistic folks. This isn't some UFO tin-foil hat kind. These are pilots who locked their radar on it. They tracked and then they saw it move so fast that they couldn't believe it. And then they went and tracked it again, locked their radar on it in a new position. So there's some phenomenon that we need to explain.

Why NASA?

NASA is a natural place. Part of NASA's science mission is the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI.) When we bring a sample back from Mars...what we'll be looking at is, are there any examples of fossils thagt might indicate that there were some kind of life, millions and millions of years ago.

Another example: We just had now a sample return on its ways from the asteroid Benna. In that sample, will we see anything in the elements that we get back that would indicate there are the composite elements that could have formed life?

So this is a serious effort by NASA, and it's been a mission of NASA. And therefore, me asking the top scientist here if he would focus some of his research on what might be the phenomenon that we are seeing - that the military pilots are -it all fits with NASA' mission for extraterrestrial intelligence.

How formal is your directive on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena?

It is formal  in the sense that the scientist that is the head of our science mission directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, I have had several conversations with him, most recently 10 minutes ago, about this very topic and about what he has been doing on SETI and now what he is further doing in an inquiry to see if we have any scientific explanation for some of this."

https://science.nasa.gov/about-us/leadership/Thomas-Zurbuchen


Current NASA statement on UAP

I searched the NASA website for any current statement about UAP that they might have made in recent times, given the above information from Bill Nelson. I found one that was updated as recently as 26 June 2021. The statement is headed: "FAQ: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs/UFOs.) As part of a series of questions about SETI is the following question and answer:

"Does NASA search for or study Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)?

NASA does not actively search for UAPs. However, through our Earth-observing satellites, NASA collects extensive data about Earth's atmosphere, often in collaboration with the other space agencies of the world. While these data are not specifically collected to identify UAPs or alien technosignatures, they are publicly available and anyone may use them to search the atmosphere.

While NASA doesn't actively search for UAPs, if we learn of UAPs, it would open up the door ro new science questions to explore. Atmospheric scientists, aerospace experts and other scientists could all contribute to understanding the nature of the phenomenon.

Exploring the unknown in space is at the heart of who we are."

Other recent NASA statements on UAP

I then looked around for any other recent official NASA statements on UAP. An 8 June 2021 article by Paul Scott Anderson, on EarthSky.org contained a quote attributed to NASA Press Secretary Jackie McGuiness were she said:

"There's not really a lot of data and scientists should be free to follow these leads, and it shouldn't be stigmatized. This is a really interesting phenomenon and Americans are clearly interested in it [so if] scientists want to investigate, they should."

In a 5 June 2021 article by Gabriela Miranda on USA today.com,  another statement was attributed to NASA Press Secretary Jackie McGuiness, which was:

"NASA press secretary Jackie McGuiness said Nelson has not assembled a task force to begin studying UFOs. However, researchers were directed to continue exploring and studying the topic as they see fit according to CNN."

Dr. Zurbuchen

Duncan Phenix in a 3 June 2021 article on mysterywire.com reported on a 2 June 2021 press conference held by Bill Nelson and other NASA leaders.  Bill Nelson was asked about UAP and in turn asked Dr. Zurbuchen is he wished to comment. Zurbuchen stated:

"Yeah, look, I mean, I'm happy to in the realm of science, we're all about unidentified issues, and objects and whatever before, that's what we do. We find something with our observatories, looking at the sky, looking at the Earth, and we go analyze it. We have, you know, history is full of examples of things that were identified, or were referred to as UFOs, you know, some types of clouds, you know, phenomena, better phenomena that way.

And, for me, personally think that as we look at the molecular, you know, and the bacterial level, which is what we are really using the tools of science for, the kind of questions which focus on life elsewhere,, are, are very much in the realm of what we do using the tools of science. So we will do whatever we can to move our understanding forward. In many cases, I I wanted to just say what we learned so far in the last few decades is people tend to underestimate nature. Nature is an amazing place where a lot of miracles happen. That, you know, once we understand, it's like, why didn't we think of that? But the point is, there's amazing science pout there that remains to be discovered. We're committed to continue to do that, especially as we take on new tools, whether it's Jams Webb, whether it's, you know, you know, the Dragonfly outer missions, to look at life in other in other worlds."

It will be very interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this directive of the current NASA Administrator, on UAP.  

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The USG and UAP - the way forward, and what it means to civilian UAP researchers

Background

In the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) Preliminary Assessment Report there is mention of a UAP Collection Strategy; a UAP Research and Development Technical Roadmap, and a UAP Program Plan. Scattered throughout the report, and elsewhere, are clues at to what each of these will entail.

https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/press-releases-2021/item/2223-UAP


UAP Collection Strategy

The report stated that:

"Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP."

Also that:

"Sociocultural stigma and sensor limitations remain obstacles to collecting data."

Solutions include:

"The UAPTF is currently working to acquire additional reporting, including from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and has begun receiving data from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA.)

"Although USAF data collection has been limited historically, the USAF began a six-month pilot program in November 2020 to collect in the most likely areas to encounter UAP and is evaluating how to normalize future collection reporting..." 

Comment: Although we were aware that the United States Navy had issued guidelines for reporting UAP, to its personnel; until this Report came out, we were not aware that the USAF was supplying data to the UAPTF.

"The FAA captures data related to UAP during the normal course of managing air traffic operations. The FAA generally ingests this data when pilots and other airspace users report unusual or unexpected events to the FAA's Air Traffic organization."

"In addition, the FAA continuously monitors its systems for anomalies, generating additional information that may be of use to the UAPTF. The FAA is able to isolate data of interest to the UAPTF, and make it available. The FAA have a robust and effective outreach program that can help the UAPTF reach members of the aviation community to highlight the imperative of reporting UAP."

Comment: The civilian National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP)  has been doing an excellent job of encouraging civilian aircrew to report observations of UAP. Their website is full of intriguing aircrew sightings; and technical reports analyzing the collected data. It is a pity that the UAPTF doesn't link in with NARCAP, to utilize their existing resources and links with the aviation industry.

"The UAPTF is looking for novel ways to increase collection of UAP cluster areas when U.S. forces are not present. One proposal is to use advanced algorithms to search historical data captured  and stored by radars. The UAPTF also planes to update its current interagency UAP collection strategy in order to bring to bear relevant collection platforms and methods from the DoD and the IC."

Comment: Until fairly recently, civilian UAP researchers could obtain radar data for the date/time of sightings, from such agencies as the FAA. However, there have been recent instances where civilian UAP researchers have been denied access to relevant radar data.

Finally, from the Deputy Director of Defense came a directive:

"All members of the Department will utilize the processes to endure that the UAPTF or follow-up activity, has reports of UAP observations within two weeks of an occurrence."

UAP Research and Development Technical Roadmap

"The UAPTF has indicated that additional funding for research and development could further the future study of the topics laid out in this report."

"The UAPTF has begun to develop interagency analytical and processing workflow to ensure both collection and analysis will be well informed and coordinated."

Speaking about analysis:

"The initial focus will be to employ artificial intelligence/machine learning  algorithms to cluster and recognize similarities and patterns in features in the data points."

Comment: Many years ago US researcher Jacques Vallee, laid out a plan to use AI to weed out IFOs from UFOs.  To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA) also revealed plans to use AI in conjunction with UAP collection processes. 

https://home.tothestarsacademy.com/#lp-pom-block-2561


UAP Program Plan

Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum dated 25 June 2021 which directed the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security "to develop a plan to formalize the mission currently performed by the UAPTF."

"The Plan should:

1. Establish procedures to synchronize collection, reporting and analysis on the UAP problem set, and to establish recommendations for securing military test and training ranges.

2. Identify requirements for the establishment and operation of the new activity, to include the organizational alignments, resources and staffing required, as well as any necessary authorities and a timeline for implementation.

3. Be developed in coordination with the Principle Staff Assistants, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretaries of the Military Departments, and the DNI and other relevant interagency partners."

Comment:

The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD(I&S) is a civilian position currently held by the Hon. Ronald S. Moultrie.

The USD(I&S) is a Principle Staff Assistant and Advisor on intelligence, counterintelligence, security, sensitive activities and other intelligence-related matters.

It should be noted that this is the same area of the DoD, where the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) lay. 

What it means to civilian UAP researchers

With the United States government taking a lead position regarding UAP, I have seen some civilian UFO researchers on such platforms as Twitter, suggesting that there is no longer a role for themselves, in investigating UAP. I would suggest that there is definitely a role for us, going forward.

1. With certain elements of U.S. Congress now calling for formal Hearings on the topic, U.S. researchers need to keep up the pressure on their elected members of Congress, to ensure that Hearings are held, particularly public Hearings.

2. The Japanese Defense Ministry, after meeting with a U.S. Official announced that they are taking the subject of UAP seriously. On the other hand the British Defence Minister recently announced, after a debate in the House of Lords, that the U.K. will not be  be taking a fresh look at the topic of UAP. I obtained a statement from the Australian Department of Defence that they also have no protocols for collecting or investigating UAP and don't look like introducing anything like the U.S. has done. UAP researchers in other countries could contact their respective Departments of Defence and obtain their views on UAP.

3. Civilian researchers could also better use their respective country's Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) to obtain relevant documentation. Despite there being hundreds of UAP commentators on such platforms as Facebook and Twitter, there still remains only a few dozen, at most, individuals actively pursuing information via the FOIA. 

In short, there is still a lot that civilian UAP researchers could be doing in future. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

U.S. Congressional Hearings on UAP - some history

 With all the current talk about the possible holdings of Congressional Hearings on the topic of UAP, I thought it might be useful to revisit some history.

1966 - First Hearing



The House Armed Services Committee convened a Hearing. At this Hearing, the Hon. L. Mendel Rivers, Chair of the Committee  introduced the session. This was followed by a statement from the Hon. Harold Brown, Secretary of the Air Force. Professor J. Allen Hynek, then a scientific consultant to the Air Force then spoke. Various statistics re sightings were discussed; there was mention of the USAF Project Bluebook; and discussion of selected sightings, with a focus on recent U.S. cases.

[5 April 1966. House Armed Services Committee (89th Congress, 2nd Session0 Committee Print No. 56. "Unidentified Flying Objects.]

1968 - Second Hearing

The House Science and Astronautics Committee held another Hearing, this time chaired by George P. Miller. The Hearing Chairman was J. Edward Roush. Speakers were Dr. J. Allen Hynek; Dr. James E. McDonalds; Dr. carl Sagan; Dr. Robert L. Hall; Dr. James A. Harder; and Dr. Robert M. L. Baker. Other scientists submitted statements for the record.

[29 July 1968. House Science and Astronautics Committee. (90th Congress, 2nd Session) Committee Print No. 7. "Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects.]

1990 - Thinking of Hearings?

C. Richard D'Amato was the counsel for International and National Security of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. He was also active in UAP research in the 1990's. 

UAP researcher Jacques Vallee, in one of the "Forbidden Science" volumes, in a diary entry dated 21 June 1990, wrote the following about a meeting with D'Amato:

"Are you thinking of new congressional hearings? I asked him."

"Not in the sense ufologists talk about Hearings as if they were a panacea. You can't set up such a process to find out the truth. In this town you must find out the truth first, and THEN you hold the Hearings."

1999 and 2005 - Planning for Hearings



In his 2011 book titled "UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities" John B. Alexander wrote:

"The ultimate god for many UFO disclosure enthusiasts is to have Congress hold hearings. There it is assumed the truth will suddenly pour forth and...unfortunately, this is a very naïve position, as most investigative Congress hearings go nowhere..."

Alexander then went on to describe attempts to hold Congressional hearings, which he was involved in, in 1999 and again in 2005. Neither managed to succeed. If you haven't read this portion of his book, I would highly recommend you find a copy and do so.

2017 - time for Hearings?

In their 21 December 2017, I-Team report titled "Pentagon UFO Study catching attention of Congress" journalists George Knapp and Matt Adam, reported that:

"Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid thinks it might be time to hold Congressional Hearings into the mystery surrounding UFOs."

2018  - We ought to have Hearings

On 12 April 2018 Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas of Politico hosted a panel discussion, which included Congressional Representatives Ami Bera and Randy Huleren, both members of the House Space subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The topics covered UAP. 

Ami Bera stated that he talked with Chairman of the sub-committee Brian Babin as well as Lamar Smith. "I said we ought to have a hearing on this."

2021 - call for a series of Hearings

In a 4 July 2021 article in "The Hill" titled "Dem Lawmaker calls for hearings on UFOs" journalist Celine Castronuovo writes about a call for Congressional Hearings. 

"Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind), Chairman of the House Intelligence sub-committee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counter proliferation, is calling on Congress to hold a "series of Hearings" on reported UFOs following last month's highly anticipated intelligence report on the subject. "My hope ...is that we will have a series of Hearings and possibly a public Hearing in the very near future..."

The article continued:

"If it is off-worldly, we have to take into account our advancements in terms of cellphone technology and why aren't these images being captured? Carson said. "We have to think about the nearly 4,000 satellites that are orbiting the Earth right now. Most of these satellites have cameras attached to them. Why hasn't any of that information been released?"

Monday, July 5, 2021

The UAP Task Force report - who has said what about it?

 Office of the U. S. Director of National Intelligence


On Friday 25 June 2021, the United States government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence, issued a release on their online "Newsroom." It was headlined, "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." The media release simply said:

"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence submitted to Congress a preliminary report regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) that relays the progress the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force has made in understanding UAP." 

The "Newsroom" provided a link by which anyone could download and read the report. 


 

A couple of initial pieces of information

Comment 1: The UAPTF itself was formally established on 4 August 2020 by Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist. The lead agency for the UAPTF was stated to be the Department of Navy, under the cognizance of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.  The mission of the Task Force was to "...detect, analyze and catalogue UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security." A Task Force is usually "stood up" to look at a specific topic; then to report its findings and then is "stood down."

Comment 2: This preliminary assessment report was to fulfill a request from the U.S. Congress. On 17 June 2020, in a report numbered Report 116-233, from the U.S. Congress Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, there was a direction: "...the Committee directs the DNI, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense...to submit a report...on unidentified aerial phenomena..."

Pentagon Press Secretary



Also on the same day, 25 June 2021, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby made a statement on unidentified aerial phenomena, titled "Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Assessment." It read:

"Today the Director of national intelligence delivered to congress a preliminary assessment on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and the progress that the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense UAP Task Force has made in understanding this threat." 

Comment 3: Note that the ODNI release speaks of the "...progress the unidentified Aerial Phenomena task Force has made..." whereas the Pentagon release speaks of "...the progress that the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense UAP Task Force has made..." as if the "Intelligence Community" and the "UAPTF" are two entities which has each made separate degrees of progress on understanding UAP.

"Analyzing UAP is a collaborative effort involving many departments and agencies, and the Department thanks the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for leading a collaborative effort to produce this assessment, as well as the other contributing departments and agencies.

"Incursions into our training ranges and designated airspace pose a safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges. DOD takes reports of incursions - by any aerial object, identified or unidentified - very seriously and investigates each one."

Comment 4: The above statement about incursions is almost an exact word for word phrase previously issued by DOD spokesperson Susan Gough, when contacted to comment about the topic. There has never been a clarification by the DOD as to how it has investigated each incursion, citing operational security as preventing them commenting.

"The report submitted today highlights the challenges associated with assessing UAP occurring on or near DOD training ranges and installations. The report also identified the need to make improvements to processes, policies, technologies and training to improve our ability to understand UAP.

"To that end, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks today directed the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to develop as plan to formalize the mission currently performed by the UAPTF.

"The plan will be developed in collaboration with various DOD components, including the military departments, the combatant commands, and with ODNI and other interagency partners. The plan will establish procedures for synchronizing collection, reporting and analysis of UAP; provide recommendations for securing military test and training ranges and identify requirements of the establishment and operation of a new, follow-up DOD activity to lead the effort, including its alignment, resources, staffing, authorities; and a timeline for implementation.

"You can find the ODNI UAP assessment report on dni.org."

Direction from Deputy Secretary of Defense 

Here is an image of the direction from the Deputy Secretary of Defense:

 


What is in the unclassified report which was released?

The report itself, is nine pages long, and is "unclassified." It is understood that there is a "classified addendum" to the unclassified report released. The full unclassified and classified report in total, has apparently been provided to Congress. Although there have been "leaks" of alleged portions of the contents of the classified segment, these have not been confirmed. I recommend that you read the entire unclassified nine pages, although I am going to provide my highlights and comments below.

1. The opening "Scope and Assumptions" refers to UAP as a "threat." This has been a common, consistent narrative coming out of the DOD. This use of the word 'threat" is to be expected by the DOD, as after all it is the Department of Defense - specifically set up to detect and challenge threats to U.S. national security.

2. "The Director, UAPTF, is the accountable official for ensuring the timely collection and consolidation of data on UAP."

Comment 5: The Director of the UAPTF, on 23 June 2021, was revealed to be an individual named  Brennan McKernan, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst. 

3. "...the ODNI National Intelligence Manager for Aviation drafted this report."

Comment 6: National Intelligence Managers (NIMs) are the DNI's principal advisors in their respective roles. It is therefore interesting to note that the Aviation NIM drafted the report, as opposed to the Director of the UAPTF. Presumably because it was the DNI who was asked to provide the report to Congress and so her organization drafted the report. A search for the name of the current Aviation NIM was unsuccessful.

4. "Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP."

Comment 7: Civilian UAP researchers have often commented about the abundance of data collected since 1947. Some have suggested that we should stop collecting data and get on with analyzing it. Others point out that what we really lack is high quality multiple sensor data, so it is noteworthy to read the following UAPTF statement:

5. "80 reports involved observations with multiple sensors."

Comment 8: Of course this high quality sensory data is not available to civilian researchers. 

6. "Some UAP appear to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion. In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings."

Comment 9: Although civilian UAP researchers have pointed out all of the above aspects, in the past, it is welcoming to see the UAPTF report making the same observations about UAP characteristics.

7. "The UAPTF holds a small amount of data that appears to show UAP demonstrating acceleration or a degree of signature management."

Comment 10: Again, nothing new here to civilian researchers, but nevertheless nice to see it stated.

8. "Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however, that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected."

Comment 11: So, at the moment, no evidence of the origin being U.S. entities.

9. "Some UAP may be technologies deployed by China, Russia, another nation or a non-government entity."

Comment 12: Shortly after statement 9 appears another one, 10: which says:

10. "We currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary." 

11. "UAP pose a hazard to safety of flight..."

Comment 13: NARCAP, a civilian UAP reporting system for aircraft flight crew has been saying this for many years and has some excellent examples of near misses between aircraft and UAP.

12. " The UAPTF has begun to develop interagency analytical and processing workflows to ensure both collection and analysis will be well informed and coordinated."

Comment 14: Coordinated collection is certainly a key, followed by centralized analysis of the data, and hopefully then public dissemination of that data.

13. "The UAPTF is currently working to acquire additional reporting, including from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and has begun receiving data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.)

Comment 15: It is crucial to collect data from both USAF systems and civilian air traffic personnel. and systems.

14. " The UAPTF has indicated that additional funding for research and development could further the future study of the topic laid out in this report. Such instruments should be guided by a UAP Collection Strategy, UAP R & D Technical Roadmap and a UAP Program Plan."

Comment 16: This bodes well for a further more in-depth program of UAP study by the U.S. government. But, let us not forget that there are vast civilian collections of information which are held. It would appear that the UAPTF or follow-up entity will broaden from collecting military only cases, to include civilian aircrew, and FAA radar observations.  

In summary

In my opinion, this Preliminary Assessment report on UAP, acknowledge the reality of UAP; shows there are unexplained characteristics of some cases; provides a road map for future USG research, and certainly does not rule out a more exotic explanation for some UAP. 

What has the response been to the report?

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson


The current Administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson who was formerly a U.S. member of Congress, has been quoted extensively on the topic of UAP in numerous mainstream media outlets, in recent times. However, here are a couple of comments attributed to him, following the release of the UAPTF report:

"NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Sunday said he does not think individuals on Earth "are alone" in the universe, following the release of a United States intelligence report that revealed that..."

 and:

"Nelson, who has reviewed the unclassified and classified versions of the report says he believes Earth is not alone in the galaxy."

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe



In a 27 June 2021 article by Jerry Dunleavy, that author wrote:

"Ratcliffe told Fox News host Dan Bongino for a Saturday episode of Unfiltered that UFOs are a matter of national security...and there are technologies that we don't have and frankly that we are not capable of defending against."

Senator Marco Rubio

A 26 June 2021 report by New Yorker journalist Gidean Lewis- Kraus included a comment attributed to Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida and on the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

"This report is an important first step in cataloguing these incidents, but it is just a first step. The Defense Department and the Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern."

Congressman Adam Schiff

In the above New Yorker article there was also a comment by Adam Schiff from California, who heads the House Intelligence Committee and is cited as saying:

"We should approach these questions without preconceptions to encourage a thorough, systematized analysis of the potential national security and flight safety risks posed by unidentified aerial phenomena whether they are the results of a foreign adversary, atmospheric or other aerial phenomena, space debris or something else entirely."

Senator Mark Warner

A Democrat from Virginia, and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner was quoted as saying:

"I was first briefed on these unidentified aerial phenomena nearly three years ago. Since then, the frequency of these incidents only appears to be increasing. The United States must be able to understand and mitigate threats to our pilots, whether they're from drones or weather balloons or adversary intelligence capabilities. Today's rather inconclusive report only marks the beginning of efforts to understand and illuminate what is causing these risks to aviation in many areas around the country and the world."

Astrobiologist Jonti Horner

In Australia, an online ABC Radio Adelaide article by journalist Malcolm Sutton appeared on 1 July 2021. It cited the views of Australian astrobiologist Jonti Horner, a professor at the University of Southern Queensland's Centre for Astrophysics, after reading the UAPTF report. 

 Speaking of sightings by military pilots:

"As soon as you take these out of the top-secret locker and make them public, you suddenly open them up to scrutiny of a much wider variety of people with very different expertise."

Citing the recent finding of upper atmospheric lighting known now as elves and sprites, as coming form pilot observations that weren't recognized at the time:

"Professor Horner said a similar skepticism had greeted reports of electrostatics phenomenon associated with meteorites and fireballs from the sky."

He went on to say that:

"So, I think that a release like this is a really positive thing; because it encourages people to view the things they see without feeling embarrassed about it..."

Update: 7 July 2021

Thanks to blog reader Ilja Leedulane,  we now know who the National Intelligence Manager for Aviation was in 2020:

"Maj. Gen. Marrs also serves as the National Intelligence Manager for Aviation and also as the Executive Director, National Aviation Intelligence Integrative Office under the auspices of the Director of National Intelligence."

Maj. Gen. Marrs retired on 1 January 2020 so someone else, currently unknown is in the position at the moment. 


Saturday, July 3, 2021

Undigitized UAP files in the National Archives of Australia

 Over the years, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) have made available, and digitized, close to 150 Australian government files dealing with UAP. For a list, click here.

A recent inspection of the NAA's database, RecordSearch, reveals that there are currently four relevant UAP files, undigitized. I will provide the details below, in case any reader wishes to pay the NAA to place them online for us all to read.



The newly available files

1. NAA file series C1342, control symbol 5/2/air part 8, titled "Unusual aerial sightings [RAAF Williamtown correspondence: box 3]. Held at NAA Sydney. Status - not yet examined. Barcode 24102990. Date registered 1 July 2020. Date range of file 1951-1987.

What is particularly interesting about this file, is that the date range commences in 1951. When the Disclosure Australia project ran between 2003-2008, seeking UAP files in the NAA, the earliest date range found was 1950-1955. This was NAA file series B5758, control symbol 5/6/Air Part 1, titled "Training Command HQ -report of unusual activity and aerial phenomenon." Status - open. Barcode 3083715. The NAA has a digitized online copy of this file.

The project found another early file, NAA file series PP474/1, control symbol 5/5/Air, titled  "RAAF Intelligence - Unusual Aerial Sightings - UFO." Held at NAA Perth. Barcode 1567731. Date range 1951-1957. The NAA Has a digitized copy of this file online.

So, given the scarcity of documents from 1951 it would be interesting to see just what early records are on this particular file.

2. NAA file series B610, control symbol 315/1/425 Part 1, titled "Airways Operations - Miscellaneous Rockets, Missiles, Space craft and UFOs, AO aspects." Status -not yet examined. Barcode 24947317. Date range 1979-1985. Registered in RecordSearch on 18 May 2021. Currently linked to agency CA8245 Department of Transport and Regional Development, Central office, and originally linked to Department of Transport, Head Office, agency CA1492.

3. NAA file series A9755, control symbol 23. Titled "RAAF Headquarters, 82 Bomber Wing, Amberley, Queensland, Unusual Aerial Sightings - Unidentified Flying Objects." Barcode 3533584. Date range January 1992 - April 1994. Status - open. Formerly file 5/113/Air part 11.

4. NAA file series A9755, control symbol 9. Titled "RAAF No. 92 Wing Headquarters, Edinburgh, South Australia. Unusual Aerial Sightings, Administration. Unidentified Flying Objects." Status - open. Date range January 1992 - April 1994. Barcode 3533451. Held at NAA Canberra. Formerly file 5/1/11 Air part 1. 

Project Galileo

Project Galileo Or to give it its full name, "The Galileo project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial...