The ufology community is all abuzz this week about some news out of Washington, and for good reason. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence just released their Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Much of it is the standard housekeeping dealing with appropriations, structural changes to departments in the CIA and some rearranging of the deck chairs in various departments inside the intelligence community. It also includes directions for reports to be generated on the activities of Russia, the Chinese Communist Party and other adversaries of interest. But buried back on pages 11 and 12, there is one section of the report that set the UFO community off like a 4th of July fireworks display.
The title of that section is “Advanced Aerial Threats.” Buckle up, campers. Things are about to get wild. Here’s the introductory paragraph with emphasis added by yours truly.
The Committee supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force at the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize collection and reporting on unidentified aerial phenomenon, any links they have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations. However, the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat. The Committee understands that the relevant intelligence may be sensitive; nevertheless, the Committee finds that the information sharing and coordination across the Intelligence Community has been inconsistent, and this issue has lacked attention from senior leaders.
There’s a lot going on in that introduction. First of all, the Senate Intelligence Committee just confirmed the existence of the multi-department program in the Pentagon that investigates incidents involving UFOs. (Or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” if you insist.) And they gave it a name with all capitalized letters. The Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. This is the program that Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Gough shockingly dropped a reference to earlier this year when fielding UFO questions from journalists. This is about as close to total government confirmation as you could hope for and it speaks to the reality that the AATIP program never really ended as they previously claimed. It just had a new name assigned to it and the organizational structure was shifted around and broadened.
The committee also acknowledges the potential threat that these UAP could post to our military assets. This is what Luis Elizondo and the folks from TTSA have been screaming from the rooftops for more than three years. And it sounds like at least some folks in Congress have been listening.
But wait… there’s more. The committee is calling for an official report on what we know about the UAPs so far. They want the report by the end of the year and (wait for it…) they want the report to be made public.
Therefore, the Committee directs the DNI, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of such other agencies as the Director and Secretary jointly consider relevant, to submit a report within 180 days of the date of enactment of the Act, to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees on unidentified aerial phenomena (also known as ‘‘anomalous aerial vehicles’’), including observed airborne objects that have not been identified.
The Committee further directs the report to include:
1. A detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting collected or held by the Office of Naval Intelligence, including data and intelligence reporting held by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force;
2. A detailed analysis of unidentified phenomena data collected by:
a. geospatial intelligence;
b. signals intelligence;
c. human intelligence; and
d. measurement and signals intelligence;
3. A detailed analysis of data of the FBI, which was derived from investigations of intrusions of unidentified aerial phenomena data over restricted United States airspace;
The list of information the report must contain goes on at length. But basically, the committee is saying that there are too many chimneys that UAP reporting falls into and no central collection channel to coordinate it all. They want this situation addressed and a responsible person identified who will collect all of this data for analysis and coordinate communications between the different agencies that are part of the task force. And the instructions finish with this gem: “The report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.”
The inclusion of all this UAP stuff was almost certainly driven by Mark Warner. He’s been briefed on the UAP situation with the Navy in the past and has said he wanted more information and for non-sensitive material to be made public.
So is this it? Is this the beginning of the “Big D” government Disclosure on UFOs that so many of us have dreamed of for so long? While it’s an encouraging signal, I would advise everyone to not get their hopes up too much. There’s a big difference between organizing military reports of unknown objects in our airspace and finding out what, if anything, has been going on in the deepest bowels of the military and intelligence communities. But it’s a start if nothing else. Getting Washington to publicly admit that they’ve been tracking strange things in our skies for a very long time and that they have no idea what some of them are is a huge leap forward. I’m sure they want to make sure that the Tic Tacs aren’t something cooked up by the Russians or the Chinese and there may be information on advanced drones (of human origin) that can’t be released to the public. But at least we’ve finally got them talking on the record. And that’s a whole lot better than nothing.