With the Passage of the IAA, Will We Get A UFO Dump From the Pentagon?

Article by Jazz Shaw                                              December 31, 2020                                             (hotair.com)

• Back in June, some big UFO news focused around a provision that was inserted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence into the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) that directed the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force to produce an unclassified report on what they know about UFOs. It directed that this report be released to the Senate committee within 180 days of the enactment of the IAA. Well, the IAA was included in the $1.4 trillion government funding package that was passed on December 27th along with a $900 billion COVID-relief fund. So the 180 day clock is ticking. So what can we expect to see when that clock runs out?

• Christopher Mellon is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and former staff Director of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee. Mellon played an integral role in the development of the committee’s UFO legislation. He points out that the UFO phenomenon enjoys the support of both parties in both Houses of Congress, and therefore it is more likely that some sort of report will be released. Any expectations of revelations of UFO incidents or discoveries under current investigation, however, are more unlikely.

• First of all, the Pentagon can respond by saying that they’ve not being given enough time and will need to postpone it – for a very long time. Second, this report specifically pertains to unclassified material. All of the juicy stuff will no doubt be deemed ‘classified’. Thirdly, back in September, after the Pentagon’s verification of the existence of the UAP Task Force, numerous reporters were contacting the Pentagon’s one and only spokesperson to handle UAP questions, Susan Gough. Gough began issuing a boilerplate refusal to any and all questions regarding details of UAP incidents under investigation. To wit: “To maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to our adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examination of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.” You can rest assured they have zero intention of starting to discuss it publicly now. Short of the President ordering specific documents from the UAP Task Force declassified (document that they somehow already know about), it seems obvious that the Pentagon intends to keep a lid on all of this.

• The military and the intelligence community routinely overclassify information, covering virtually every area of interest, not just UFOs. And once they lock something down it requires a herculean effort to bring it back to light. I can’t see those channels in our government sweeping away more than 70-years of obfuscation and deception with one sweep of a new broom. While cautiously hopeful about the pending release of this report, I’m definitely not getting my hopes up.

 

A lot of news came out of that massive COVID relief bill with bazillions of dollars in other spending wrapped up in it. One item that didn’t draw nearly as much attention was the fact that the annual Intelligence Authorization Act was rolled in as part of that mess. The IAA is obviously a necessary bit of housekeeping that Congress has to take care of on a regular basis, but this year’s version was of particular interest to people in the ufology community. I wrote about this when the measure was drafted back in June, specifically focusing on the provisions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that made it so interesting to the saucerheads. It dealt with internal communications challenges for the UAP Task Force (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) and directed the UAPTF to produce an unclassified report on their progress within 180 days of when the measure was enacted. Well, now it’s enacted. And as The Debrief pointed out this week, that means that the clock is ticking. But what should we really expect to receive when that clock strikes midnight?

“Now, with the recent passing of the Omnibus, the clock has officially started ticking, and The Pentagon’s

          Christopher Mellon

UAP Task Force has 180 days to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee with their unclassified report detailing The Pentagon’s current investigations into UFOs.”

“The newly enacted Intelligence Authorization Act incorporates the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report language calling for an unclassified, all-source report on the UAP phenomenon. This was accomplished in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill,” says Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and former staff Director of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee, who played an integral role in the development of the legislation.”

“Consequently, it’s now fair to say that the request for an unclassified report on the UAP phenomenon enjoys the support of both parties in both Houses of Congress,” Mellon told The Debrief in an email.”

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Will Biden Cede Space Preeminence to the Chinese?

Article by Douglas MacKinnon                                December 12, 2020                                   (thehill.com)

• On December 9th, Vice President Mike Pence addressed an assembly of the National Space Council, and to introduce the NASA astronauts selected for the Artemis Program’s return of humans to the Moon. During his speech, Pence made mention of the growing threat posed to the United States by China’s militarized space program. “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” said Pence. “As the world witnessed, China recently landed an unmanned craft on the moon and, for the first time, robotically raised the red flag of Communist China on that magnificent desolation.”

• “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” said Pence. “In four short years (ie: Trump’s administration), America is leading in space once again.” The reality is that China emerged as a serious competitor well over a decade ago, becoming the preeminent space-faring nation on Earth. The Trump administration has been forced to play catch-up after the setbacks in the space program enacted under his previous administration. And now that Joe Biden may be assuming the White House in January, China knows that the US is could to slip further behind.

• Virtually every incoming President has tended to scale back or dismantle the space policies enacted by his predecessor. When Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush, his administration oversaw the shutdown of America’s ability to send astronauts into space on US spacecraft. We came to rely on the Russians to get Americans to the mostly U.S.-built International Space Station – at a cost of $90 million per astronaut.

• The political and military leadership of China are thrilled that an incoming Biden administration, which despises Trump, would put Trump’s space policies – such as the Space Force, the return of American astronauts to the Moon, and the very existence of the National Space Council – squarely in the crosshairs of Team Biden. Much of Biden’s NASA transition team is led and staffed by Obama-era retreads who have made it abundantly clear that they favor redirecting NASA and Space Force dollars toward domestic programs and fighting climate change.

• Such stated goals are music to the ears of the People’s Republic of China. Every US tax dollar directed away from the American space program is a victory for China and their ultimate endgame. China understands its greatest competition, and its greatest threat, is the United States. They look for any opportunity to create an advantage over the US to further its goal to dominate the cislunar theater from Earth to the Moon. Recent news of the Chinese government seeking to compromise certain US politicians is evidence of China’s long-term strategy to usurp American power.

• You can be sure the Chinese leadership is hopeful that Biden will not only dismantle all that Trump has done regarding space, but will relegate the US space program to a back burner. In this case, historic precedent is on the side of the Chinese.

 

This past week, Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as chair of the National Space Council, addressed a meeting of that group at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although his speech was rather generic and filled with too much partisan praise of President Trump, he did manage to briefly address a critically important topic: the growing threat posed to the United States by China’s militarized space program.

But, as they say in the news business, even with that warning, Pence still managed to “bury the lead.” In remarks that stretched almost two hours, he spoke about the threat from China for only one brief paragraph.

Said Pence: “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space, just as they are in other areas of the global economy and to the strategic interest of the United States. As the world witnessed, China recently landed an unmanned craft on the moon and, for the first time, robotically raised the red flag of Communist China on that magnificent desolation.”

The political and military leadership directing China’s space program must have burst out laughing when they heard or read Pence’s assessment that “China is increasingly emerging as a serious competitor in space,” or when, later in the speech, he declared: “In four short years, America is leading in space once again — it’s true.”

In fact, China “emerged” as a “serious competitor” well over a decade ago.

China knows it is the preeminent space-faring nation on Earth, and that the United States may be about to slip much further behind them with the coming change in presidential administrations.

For all those in the United States who understand the critical need for the United States to have robust civilian and military space programs, almost every presidential election becomes a recurring nightmare realized.

The main reason is that virtually every incoming president tends to scale back or dismantle the space policies enacted by his predecessor. The fact that the “predecessor” in this case will be Donald Trump, who is despised by much of the incoming Biden administration, puts Trump’s space policies and programs squarely in the “cancel it” crosshairs of Team Biden — policies such as the Space Force, a return of American astronauts to the moon, and the very existence of the National Space Council itself.

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Trump Leaves a Lasting Mark on Space

Article by Miriam Kramer                                           December 15, 2020                                         (axios.com)

• President Trump put the American space program front-and-center during his tenure. Building upon years of work by the space industry, the Trump administration helped open up new commercial opportunities in orbit. But some question whether those gains are sustainable in the long term.

• “I think the space program is in better shape now than it was when he took office,” says John Logsdon, the founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. Trump consistently prioritized NASA funding in his budget proposals and relaunched the National Space Council which holds agencies accountable for their work with space. His administration extended the reach of commercial partnerships in space, outsourcing that work to private companies in a trend that is likely to continue far into the future. And Trump created Space Force.

• Most of the criticism of Trump’s space policy is due to the political rhetoric accompanying them rather than the substance. Trump consistently politicized NASA’s wins, claiming credit for the Obama and Bush-era policies, and framing NASA’s accomplishments as ways to “make America great again,” Logsdon said. That has put off some space allies, including Russia, which has yet to sign on to NASA’s Artemis Accords’ plans for the exploration of the Moon.

• The Trump administration moved the ball forward for the US space enterprise, to be sure. But credit also goes to those in the space industry who went before and did years of ground work. Commercializing space with private rockets and spacecraft has taken time and funding from a number of previous administrations. The Space Force was an idea long before Trump took office.

• Some experts are also concerned that some of the progress made in commercializing space may not be sustainable. Landing people on the Moon is an entirely new level of difficulty for any private company. Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about whether a human lander built by private companies would be as safe as one built by NASA. And the market for space services may be limited to government customers, at least for the foreseeable future, as the private market for those kinds of missions isn’t clear.

• Biden will need to decide what his administration will build on when it comes to Trump’s space policies. Some suggest the new administration should continue with the Artemis Moon missions, commercial opportunities, and Space Force while changing the rhetoric around space accomplishments.

 

President Trump put the American space program front-and-center during his tenure, defining priorities in orbit and beyond that will outlast his four years as president.

The big picture: The Trump administration helped open up new commercial opportunities in orbit, building on years of work by the space industry. But some question whether those gains are sustainable in the long term.

What’s happening: “I think the space program is in better shape now than it was when he took office,” John Logsdon, the founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, told me.

• Trump consistently prioritized NASA funding in his budget proposals and relaunched the National Space Council, which aims to hold agencies accountable for their work with space.
• The Trump administration also extended the reach of commercial partnerships in space. Instead of NASA building a human-rated lunar lander, for example, the agency is outsourcing that work to private companies in a trend that is likely to continue far into the future.
• “[Space] may be one of the least controversial areas of his legacy,” Michael Gleason of the Aerospace Corporation told me.
• And perhaps his biggest move was standing up the U.S. Space Force.
“While some of the Trump administration’s space policy decisions and initiatives have generated criticism, that is more due to the political rhetoric accompanying them than the substance.”
— The Secure World Foundation, in a briefing document

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