The Pentagon today formally announced the establishment of an “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force”. Here’s their official news release:
This move has been rumored for some time, and the task force was specifically mentioned in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 as existing within the Office of Naval Intelligence (see the previous blog entry), so there’s a debate to be had about how new this task force really is. There’s also a debate about the relationship between this unit and AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program), which is widely believed to have investigated UFOs, though the DOD has flip-flopped on this issue and is currently working on a statement clarifying the position on this.
There will be predictable controversy about the exact remit of the UAP Task Force, and use of the phrase “incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace” is doubtless designed to ‘spin’ the mission as being about people flying drones over military bases. But there’s no getting away from the fact that UAP is the term that the government, the military and the intelligence agencies use for what the media and the public commonly refer to as UFOs. It was a term we popularized in the Nineties at the UK Ministry of Defence, when I worked on this issue.
One of the task force’s first jobs may be to co-ordinate the response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request that the Director of National Intelligence submits a report on the phenomenon, consulting the Secretary of Defense and others. The Senate Armed Services Committee is also involved, and senators on both these committees have confirmed having received classified briefings on the issue.
I support this move and wish the task force every success with their mission. I know from personal experience how difficult such official research and investigation can be, given the skepticism of many people within the government when it comes to this phenomenon. But it’s important work and the DOD rightly categorize this as a defense and national security issue. Whether these mystery objects that have been penetrating restricted airspace and interacting with US military aircraft are from China, Russia, or somewhere else, we need to quickly ascertain the true origin, nature and intent of what we’re dealing with, and evaluate what threats or opportunities arise from the situation.