No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public

Despite Pentagon statements that it disbanded a once-covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, the effort remains underway — renamed and tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, where officials continue to study mystifying encounters between military pilots and unidentified aerial vehicles.

Pentagon officials will not discuss the program, which is not classified but deals with classified matters. Yet it appeared last month in a Senate committee report outlining spending on the nation’s intelligence agencies for the coming year. The report said the program, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, was “to standardize collection and reporting” on sightings of unexplained aerial vehicles, and was to report at least some of its findings to the public every six months.

While retired officials involved with the effort — including Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader — hope the program will seek evidence of vehicles from other worlds, its main focus is on discovering whether another nation, especially any potential adversary, is using breakout aviation technology that could threaten the United States.

Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is the acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told a CBS affiliate in Miami this month that he was primarily concerned about reports of unidentified aircraft over American military bases — and that it was in the government’s interest to find out who was responsible.

He expressed concerns that China or Russia or some other adversary had made “some technological leap” that “allows them to conduct this sort of activity.”

Mr. Rubio said some of the unidentified aerial vehicles over U.S. bases possibly exhibited technologies not in the American arsenal. But he also noted: “Maybe there is a completely, sort of, boring explanation for it. But we need to find out.”

In 2017, The New York Times disclosed the existence of a predecessor unit, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Defense Department officials said at the time that the unit and its $22 million in funding had lapsed after 2012.

People working with the program, however, said it was still in operation in 2017 and beyond, statements later confirmed by the Defense Department.

The program was begun in 2007 under the Defense Intelligence Agency and was then placed within the office of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, which remains responsible for its oversight. But its coordination with the intelligence community will be carried out by the Office of Naval Intelligence, as described in the Senate budget bill. The program never lapsed in those years, but little was disclosed about the post-2017 operations.

The Pentagon program’s previous director, Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official who resigned in October 2017 after 10 years with the program, confirmed that the new task force evolved from the advanced aerospace program.

“It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” Mr. Elizondo said. “It will have a new transparency.”

Mr. Elizondo is among a small group of former government officials and scientists with security clearances who, without presenting physical proof, say they are convinced that objects of undetermined origin have crashed on earth with materials retrieved for study.

For more than a decade, the Pentagon program has been conducting classified briefings for congressional committees, aerospace company executives and other government officials, according to interviews with program participants and unclassified briefing documents.

In some cases, earthly explanations have been found for previously unexplained incidents. Even lacking a plausible terrestrial explanation does not make an extraterrestrial one the most likely, astrophysicists say.

Mr. Reid, the former Democratic senator from Nevada who pushed for funding the earlier U.F.O. program when he was the majority leader, said he believed that crashes of vehicles from other worlds had occurred and that retrieved materials had been studied secretly for decades, often by aerospace companies under government contracts.

“After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Mr. Reid said in an interview.

No crash artifacts have been publicly produced for independent verification. Some retrieved objects, such as unusual metallic fragments, were later identified from laboratory studies as man-made.

Eric W. Davis, an astrophysicist who worked as a subcontractor and then a consultant for the Pentagon U.F.O. program since 2007, said that, in some cases, examination of the materials had so far failed to determine their source and led him to conclude, “We couldn’t make it ourselves.”

The constraints on discussing classified programs — and the ambiguity of information cited in unclassified slides from the briefings — have put officials who have studied U.F.O.s in the position of stating their views without presenting any hard evidence.

Mr. Davis, who now works for Aerospace Corporation, a defense contractor, said he gave a classified briefing to a Defense Department agency as recently as March about retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

Mr. Davis said he also gave classified briefings on retrievals of unexplained objects to staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 21, 2019, and to staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee two days later.

Committee staff members did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.

Public fascination with the topic of U.F.O.s has drawn in President Trump, who told his son Donald Trump Jr. in a June interview that he knew “very interesting” things about Roswell — a city in New Mexico that is central to speculation about the existence of U.F.O.s. The president demurred when asked if he would declassify any information on Roswell. “I’ll have to think about that one,” he said.

Either way, Mr. Reid said, more should be made public to clarify what is known and what is not. “It is extremely important that information about the discovery of physical materials or retrieved craft come out,” he said.

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We are the change the world has been waiting for! Have you witnessed an unidentified flying object? You are not alone. Whether you think UFOs are black projects, extraterrestrial craft, something else altogether, or just don’t know, again: you are not alone!

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2 thoughts on “No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public”

  1. The prospect that an intelligent extraterrestrial species has visited here seems highly likely to me now, if you include the entire 4.5 billion years of the earth’s existence. Now, if you accept that, then it’s a matter of choosing when it occurred. That is highly subjective considering we look at this in a near vacuum of objectivity.

    It’s generally agreed that most planets in our galaxy formed earlier than ours. The distances, though, are incredible by our standards: An average of 1200 light years between stars of our galaxy? You shouldn’t, therefore, be ashamed for being skeptical about contact by our standard of technology. But we now generally accept that red dwarves are common, and may often harbor planets like ours. Some other star designations are now seen as promising.

    If you accept that it’s possible and even likely in the vast sequence of time that there are others in our galaxy, what then is the motivation for coming here. I say — if for no other reason — a nuclear test on the otherwise dark side of the earth at 5:29 am. any day in 1945 would be a startling revelation. It lit up the dark skies with the brightness of the sun. What primitive creatures using chalk, blackboards and slide rules so irresponsibly did that?

    Assuming we’re observed for the same reason we would observe other worlds, why wouldn’t it be of of the utmost significance (even accounting for lag time of 20 light years) to investigate that, if someone is at all able! And might it not be considered threatening to them?

    Imagine the immense advance of computers for any species more advanced than us. Maybe any suppositions on its part would include a computer simulation that would see us as dangerous future competitors or reckless conquerors. Perhaps those who first noticed us sensed that because they first sensed it in themselves and they’ve known living examples. We are a product, after all, of the seeds of the same stars, probably not unlike those cast elsewhere among the fertile rows of the cosmic pinwheel. What grows there may be a similar crop, and seen to thrive elsewhere, with the same violent and competitive pressures.

    We also now have real photographic, video and radar evidence fully publicized by credible witnesses, not just hacks or pranksters. With other admissions on the way from credible authorities, why doubt it anymore? (We still must remain scientific and cautious.) But the cat’s out of the bag.

    However, I believe that if you accept that we are evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence all by ourselves, then you must accept that over the broad expanse of time that we are at the beginning of the cycle. Others are probably ANYWHERE in an evolutionary stage MORE more advanced than ours. The odds support it! Think about that. It’s a line starting at the left, going for miles to the right with a big arrow on the end. We just emerged from the forest. As soon as you are willing to compare to a proposed species of any kind, you must accept that the odds support exceptional advancement by our standard over ours!

    Yes, after a full scale 360 degree transition in philosophy (from when I was a gullible child), I now believe they’re here. Do I believe in all the species conspiracies, the probing, the abductions and the pulp fiction? What would they need with primitive tools, headlamps, and theatrical noises? No.

    But in accepting the possibility, there’s a fear, also. What can be considered altruism and what can be considered hostility to a species potentially thousands of times more advanced? If they are that advanced do they care at all? Frankly, I think the potential danger is more from those within a couple hundred years of our development, if they can reach us. Like us, they may have advanced toys to play with, but lack the appropriate maturity.

    My specific fear, like that of others, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, etc. , is that not all motivations may be trustworthy. What rights do we have to remain unmolested? By what means of enforcement can they be measured objectively and fairly, if at the mercy of conquistadors when are we inferior tribes? What might be done with us, and by what standard? Can we assume like Star Trek, there’s a Federation of Planets. If not, what might have already been done in subtle ways, if they’ve been here for a long time already? We could never know.

    We have to make this entire question open and honest, but know that we are powerless.


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