Tag: Congress

Navy: No Release of UFO Information to the General Public Expected

by Paul Sonne                  May 1, 2019                   (washingtonpost.com)

• In recent news, it was revealed that the U.S. Navy has drafted a procedure to investigate and catalogue reports of unidentified flying objects coming in from its pilots. (see article on new Navy UFO guidelines here) But the service doesn’t expect to make the information public, citing privileged and classified reporting that is typically included in such files.

• Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, said in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons. “Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew,” Gradisher said. “Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations.” “Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected.”

• The Navy’s new UFO reporting guidelines follow the revelation that in late 2017 the Pentagon ran a secret, 5-year, $22M “UFO” office to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats”. It was known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The program resulted in the release of video footage from the cockpit cameras of Navy aircraft, which appeared to document oval-shaped vessels that resemble flying Tic Tacs. (see NY Times article from Dec 2017 here)

• Reports of curious sightings from military aircraft aren’t new. During World War II, Allied military pilots witnessed unexplained objects and fireballs that they dubbed “foo fighters”. A number of official government investigations looked into such phenomena during the postwar period.

• Even though the Navy has indicated it has no plans to release any UFO data, unclassified portions of the information or broad overviews of the findings could come out, according to Luis Elizondo, an intelligence officer who ran AATIP before leaving the Pentagon. “If it remains strictly within classified channels, then the ‘right person’ may not actually get the information. The right person doesn’t necessarily mean a military leader. It can be a lawmaker. It can be a whole host of different individuals,” Elizondo said. Even if the information isn’t made available to the public, it could be reported to Congress.

 

The U.S. Navy has drafted a procedure to investigate and catalogue reports of unidentified flying objects coming in from its pilots. But the service doesn’t expect to make the information public, citing privileged and classified reporting that is typically included in such files.

Joe Gradisher, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, said in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons.

“Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew,” Gradisher said. “Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations.”

He added, “Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected.”

The Navy’s recent decision to draft formal guidelines for pilots to document encounters with unexplained aerial phenomena comes after the revelation in late 2017 that the Pentagon ran a secret “UFO” office that spent $22 million over five years to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats.” Funding for the office, known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, officially ended in 2012, though operations continued.

Among other things, the program resulted in the release of footage from the cockpit cameras of military aircraft, which appeared to document oval-shaped vessels that resemble flying Tic Tacs.

Reports of curious sightings from military aircraft aren’t new. During World War II, Allied military pilots witnessed unexplained objects and fireballs that they dubbed “foo fighters”— a term that later inspired the name of the eponymous 1990s rock band. A number of official government investigations looked into such phenomena in the postwar period.

Now, the Navy has agreed to a more formalized process for cataloguing and investigating reports from pilots, a decision welcomed by former U.S. officials who want the military to take the matter seriously and remove the stigma in the armed forces of reporting such incidents.

Even though the Navy indicated it has no plans in the imminent future to release the data, unclassified portions of the information or broad overviews of the findings could come out, according to Luis Elizondo, an intelligence officer who ran AATIP before leaving the Pentagon.

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Buzz Aldrin: It’s Time to Focus on the Great Migration of Humankind to Mars

by Buzz Aldrin                  May 1, 2019                   (washingtonpost.com)

• In a Washington Post opinion piece, former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin says that America should take the lead in a global effort to go to the moon and to Mars. ‘When Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and I went to the moon 50 years ago this July, we did so with… America’s can-do commitment to space exploration,’ wrote Aldrin. ‘More of that is needed now.’ ‘The United States should… offer itself as a willing team leader.’ Aldrin added that ‘Mars is waiting to be discovered… by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women.’

• ‘[M]embers of Congress, the Trump administration and the American public must… make human exploration missions to Mars a national priority. I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty. ’ ‘It is time we get down to blueprints, architecture and implementation, and to take that next step — a sustainable international return to the moon, directly charting a pathway to Mars.’ ‘The United States… should focus on… the great migration of humankind to Mars.’

• ‘The next step would build on our early lunar landings and establish permanent settlements on the moon. In the meantime, preparations for permanent migration to the red planet can be made. All of this is within reach for humans alive now. …The nation best poised to make it happen is the United States.’

• [P]otentially, the ultimate survival of our species demands humanity’s continued outward reach into the universe. …Put simply: We explore, or we expire. That is why we must get on with it.

• ‘[T]he Trump administration and this Congress would be remembered decades forward for putting humans permanently on the moon and Americans on Mars — for making human footprints in red dust and subsequent migration possible.’ ‘I thank President Trump and the vice president for their commitment. But my eyes drift higher, to the red orb that, even now, awaits an American flag and plaque that reads: “We Come in Peace for All Mankind.”

[Editor’s Note]   What Buzz Aldrin is cleverly advocating here is transparency. There are already secret bases on the moon and colonies on Mars and elsewhere. President Trump’s public foray into space will reveal that, over the past seventy years, governments and corporations have secretly built a vast breakaway civilization within our solar system. It is time the world learned the truth.

 

Last month, Vice President Pence announced that we are headed back to the moon. I am with him, in spirit and aspiration. Having been there, I can say it is high time we returned. When Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and I went to the moon 50 years ago this July, we did so with a mission. Apollo 11 aimed to prove America’s can-do commitment to space exploration, as well as its national security and technological superiority. We did all that. We also “Came in Peace for all Mankind.” More of that is needed now.

Today, many nations have eyes for the moon, from China and Russia to friends in Europe and Middle East. That is all good. The United States should cooperate — and offer itself as a willing team leader — in exploring every aspect of the moon, from its geology and topography to its hydrology and cosmic history. In doing so, we can take “low-Earth orbit” cooperation to the moon, openly, eagerly and collegially.

Meanwhile, another looming orb — the red one — should become a serious focus of U.S. attention. Mars is waiting to be discovered, not by clever robots and rovers — though I support NASA’s unmanned missions — but by living, breathing, walking, talking, caring and daring men and women.

To make that happen, members of Congress, the Trump administration and the American public must care enough to make human exploration missions to Mars a national priority. To be clear, I do not mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars on a few hijinks or joy rides, allowing those who return to write books, tweet photos and talk of the novelty. I mean something very different.

The United States’ eyes — and our unified commitment — should focus on opening the door, in our time, to the great migration of humankind to Mars. Books aplenty have been written about how to do this, and they have inspired government and non-government leaders to make lofty plans. But plans without a detailed architecture, and without that “next step” into the future, are just fantasy.

Americans are good at writing fantasy, and incomparable at making the fantastic a reality. We did it with Mercury, Gemini, Apollo — and in thousands of other ways. It is time we get down to blueprints, architecture and implementation, and to take that next step — a sustainable international return to the moon, directly charting a pathway to Mars.

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Just Don’t Call Them UFOs

by Marina Koren                     April 27, 2019                      (theatlantic.com)


• Apparently, enough incidents have occurred in “various military-controlled ranges and designated airspace” in recent years to cause members of Congress to ask questions and to prompt military officials to establish a formal system to collect and analyze the unexplained phenomena. The U.S. Navy is drafting new rules for Navy officials and pilots to report such sightings. The Navy is trying to assure its pilots that they won’t be laughed out of the cockpit or deemed unhinged if they bring it up.

• While the Navy indicates it’s willing to discuss the taboo topic, it is loath to make any reference to “UFOs”. Instead, they’re called “unexplained aerial phenomena,” “unidentified aircraft,” “unauthorized aircraft,” and, perhaps most intriguing, “suspected incursions.” This is peculiar since it was the military that came up with the phrase “unidentified flying objects” in the first place.

• Government programs dedicated to investigating UFO sightings in the late 1940s treated UFO sightings as a big joke. As a rule, officials dismissed and debunked any reports as hoaxes and hallucinations. The military created Project Blue Book to investigate claims of strange objects in the sky. Its director, Edward Ruppelt, introduced the term ‘unidentified flying object’ sometime around 1953. The definition carried no hint of extraterrestrial life.

• Edward Ruppelt probably didn’t imagine the journey his three-letter abbreviation would take over the years. Military reports were careful to avoid any mention of the dreaded ‘UFO’. In 1955, Ruppelt wrote: “… facts have been obscured by secrecy and confusion, a situation that has led to wild speculation on one end of the scale and an almost dangerously blasé attitude on the other.”

• Notwithstanding, UFOs infiltrated the public consciousness. They sailed into Hollywood with stories about aliens, from friendly creatures to nightmarish monsters. The lines between fiction and reality blurred. People told harrowing stories of nighttime abductions. UFOs became the focus of conspiracy theories about government secrecy. The people who believed in UFOs and aliens were regarded as ‘crazies’, a lasting stigma surrounding UFO truthers.

• After two decades in operation, Project Blue Book eventually concluded there was “no evidence that [UFOs] were intelligently guided spacecraft from beyond the Earth.” They attributed most sightings to clouds, weather balloons, and even birds. And any project that studied UFO was deemed a waste of time and money.

• Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and Bush administrations and an advocate for UFO study, has said service members worry that reporting UFOs puts their careers at risk. They also worry that staying silent could threaten national security, in case one of those mysterious objects turns out to be a new form of aircraft from a rival country. “Nobody wants to be ‘the alien guy’ in the national-security bureaucracy,” Mellon wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last year. “Nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue.”

 

Pilots are about to receive a new memo from management: If you encounter an unidentified flying object while on the job, please tell us.

The U.S. Navy is drafting new rules for reporting such sightings, according to a recent story from Politico. Apparently, enough incidents have occurred in “various military-controlled ranges and designated airspace” in recent years to prompt military officials to establish a formal system to collect and analyze the unexplained phenomena. Members of Congress and their staffs have even started asking about the claims, and Navy officials and pilots have responded with formal briefings.

The Washington Post provided more details in its own story: In some cases, pilots—many of whom are engineers and academy graduates—claimed to observe small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic Tac–shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind and no exhaust.

The Navy knows how this sounds. It knows what you must be thinking. But the fact stands that some pilots are saying they’ve seen strange things in the sky, and that’s concerning. So the Navy is trying to assure pilots that they won’t be laughed out of the cockpit or deemed unhinged if they bring it up. “For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report,” the Navy said in a statement to Politico.

Yet even as the Navy indicates it’s willing to discuss the taboo topic, it’s also shying away from three notorious little letters. UFO carries an airport’s worth of baggage, bursting with urban legends, government secrecy, and over-the-top Hollywood movies. The statements and quotes that the Navy provided to news outlets are devoid of any reference to UFOs. Instead, they’re called “unexplained aerial phenomena,” “unidentified aircraft,” “unauthorized aircraft,” and, perhaps most intriguing, “suspected incursions.”

The message is, if you see something, say something, but for God’s sake, lower your voice. Don’t call it a UFO. Which is funny, since the military came up with the name in the first place.

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