A Permanent U.S. Government Office of UAP Investigations?

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Welcome to this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief… in this edition we’ll be looking at 1) The Debrief team’s recent appearance at the 30th annual International UFO Congress, 2) why Congress is looking at establishing a permanent office of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) investigations, and 3) why past government studies of UAP have failed, and what will be required in order for future efforts to produce more meaningful results.

Before we dive into things, here’s a quick look at what we’ve been covering in recent days. Although Sonny White left NASA in 2018, taking his Warp Drive theories with him, now, he’s given The Debrief an exclusive interview about his work. Elsewhere, Candy Chan gives us a primer on The Top 3 Things From Space That Are Probably Going to Kill Us, and as always, you can get a complete roundup of recent articles at the end of this newsletter.

That said, recent developments related to our ongoing coverage of the U.S. government’s interest in unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) took center stage during a recent panel discussion with the Debrief team, along with buzz surrounding the forthcoming establishment of a permanent government office of UAP investigations… let’s dive in.


The Debrief Lands at the 2021 International UFO Congress

In recent days, The Debrief team made an appearance at the 30th annual International UFO Congress for a panel discussion on major events related to unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in 2021. “The annual UFO Congress was established in 1991 for the dissemination of information related to UFOs,” the event’s website reads, adding that it “features presentations given by scientists, academics, authors, researchers, experts, and those who have experienced paranormal or anomalous phenomena from all over the world.”

government office of UAP

The Sunday afternoon panel, introduced by event organizer Alejandro Rojas and hosted by our very own Chrissy Newton, addressed much of The Debrief’s original reporting on events since last December, beginning with Tim McMillan’s extensive analysis of information on classified briefings and intelligence reports which offered an early look at The Pentagon’s investigations of UAP prior to the release of a preliminary assessment by the Navy’s UAP Task Force in June.

More recently, we have provided coverage and analysis of the UAP Task Force assessment, as well as developments regarding the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022, Pentagon confirmation of the provenance of leaked Navy footage of UAP, government officials that have gone on the record about “devices of unknown origin,” and why the release of the UAPTF report in June has galvanized some in the scientific community who would like to see broader access to government data on UAP, and attracted interest from the FAA and aviation professionals with regard to possible threats UAP could pose for air travel.

However, among the most significant recent developments the team addressed during last weekend’s panel involved the recent revelation about a proposed permanent government office that will examine UAP.


Project Blue Book 2.0: A Permanent U.S. Government Office of UAP Investigations?

It was also learned in recent days that legislation contained within the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act recommends the establishment of a permanent government office to address UAP on an ongoing basis. If it comes to fruition, this will mark the first time the United States has had such a dedicated effort to study UAP since the closure of Project Blue Book, a long-running systematic study carried out during the 1950s and 60s by the U.S. Air Force.

“Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence, shall establish an office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense to carry out, on a Department-wide basis, the mission currently performed by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force as of the date of the enactment of this Act,” a portion of the proposed legislation reads.

As Tim McMillan recently reported about this new development, “the Armed Services Committee’s proposed legislation would replace the current temporary Task Force with a permanent office solely dedicated to performing DoD-wide investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena.”

While the newly proposed government office of UAP studies may represent the most significant indication to date that the United States is taking the issue seriously, success is not guaranteed by government involvement alone. In fact, a look to the past shows that similar efforts decades ago resulted in few conclusions about the nature of mysterious aerial phenomena. In light of this, is it reasonable to expect that similar efforts in the years to come might be any different?


Days of Future Past

If any future office is to produce meaningful results with its study of UAP, understanding why past government studies have failed to resolve the issue is of key significance. One obvious reason for past failures has to do with the complex nature of the phenomenon being studied. Even after several decades, there is still far too little data about UAP available to aid in making conclusions about what it is, or what its origins are.

However, another reason has to do with the attitudes of scientists who, at the time, had been tasked with assessing what data the government did manage to collect during the Project Blue Book years. These scientists not only had a significant influence on Blue Book’s leadership at the time, but also produced conclusions that were not only premature in their assessments about UAP but were also riddled with biases.

“Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby,” reads a portion from Section One of the report of the University of Colorado UFO Project, a study sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and led by physicist Edward U. Condon. “It has been argued that this lack of contribution to science is due to the fact that very little scientific effort has been put on the subject,” the report read.

“We do not agree,” the report’s authors stated.

“We feel that the reason that there has been very little scientific study of the subject is that those scientists who are most directly concerned, astronomers, atmospheric physicists, chemists, and psychologists, having had ample opportunity to look into the matter, have individually decided that UFO phenomena do not offer a fruitful field in which to look for major scientific discoveries.”

Edward U. Condon
Edward U. Condon, who led the University of Colorado UFO Project in 1967-68.

Obviously, plenty of scientists during and since the 1960s have continued to look at the UAP problem, though obviously not to the extent that we have seen in just the last few months. If scientists in various fields had already concluded “that UFO phenomena do not offer a fruitful field in which to look for major scientific discoveries,” as the Condon Committee concluded in 1968, it would be truly puzzling trying to understand why several scientists in recent days have declared having an interest in the subject. This, in addition to the fact that the U.S. government may be on the cusp of establishing a brand-new office which, like Project Blue Book, will be dedicated to investigating the problem, and maybe providing a fresh perspective on it.

Granted, while the Condon Committee’s report seemed to have been largely dismissive of the data the U.S. Air Force had collected about UFOs, the study’s leader Edward U. Condon himself later said that “contrary to popular belief, we do not rule out all future study,” and that future efforts to understand UAP might be worthwhile with the advent of new technologies and other advancements.

Obviously, now seems to be as good as any time to begin the kind of renewed efforts toward studying UAP that Condon once envisaged. However, if any forthcoming efforts are to succeed, one thing that will certainly help will be for scientists and government officials who are working on the problem not to prejudge whether it is one that is of significance to science, like Condon and his coauthors seem to have done.

In short, looking back on the Condon Committee’s assessment with recent events in mind, perhaps the best way to summarize the opinion of The Debrief, as well as that apparently held by current government officials who are looking at the subject, and even some members of the scientific community in recent days, is to simply paraphrase the Condon Committee’s own retort from 1968: We do not agree.

This time around, let’s hope that a more open-minded, less biased assessment will be allowed to proceed… indeed, whatever results may be forthcoming in the days ahead could turn out to be quite surprising.

That concludes this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief. You can read past editions of The Intelligence Brief at our website, or if you found this installment online, don’t forget to subscribe and get future email editions from us here. Also, if you have a tip or other information you’d like to send along directly to me, you can email me at micah [@] the debrief.org, or Tweet at me @MicahHanks.

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