Close on the heels of the Pentagon establishing the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG), Congress wants a more rapid response on UFO reports. The Associated Press reported that lawmakers included in the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act requirements for frequent reports to Congress on the AOIMSG progress. Section 1652 of the House bill and Section 345 of the Senate version carry the language. Apparently, the Senate and House legislators have taken the reins of implementing actionable tasks the Pentagon did not include in its standing up of the AOIMSG.
To be fair, the Deputy Secretary of Defense memorandum did say that the defense staff would provide implementation instructions sometime in the future. Now with congressional encouragement, the Defense Department can do that more expeditiously. legislators mandated the five-sided building leadership form “Teams of Pentagon and intelligence community experts [that] would rapidly respond to military UFO sightings and conduct field investigation under newly unveiled defense legislation set to pass Congress.”
Congressional involvement resulted from a bit of a kerfuffle over how the AOIMSG looked to critics. In a headline for US News and World Report, Paul D. Shinkman claims, “New Pentagon Office Criticized as Effort to Control UFO Investigations, End Transparency.” Some might be confused by that complaint since most critics claim there never was any transparency. Whether there was or not, some folks are hopping mad. Shinkman explains:
“American officials and analysts globally are raising alarm about a new Defense Department that will handle the US government’s examination of unidentified flying objects, warning that the move indicates the military wants to end a brief spell of transparency and shove UFO reports back into a closet under lock and key.”
If all those “American officials and analysts” consider the unclassified report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) titled “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” evidence of transparency, the bar is very low. The ten-page report, nine if you don’t count the title page, was, to be generous, thin. The reader could sum up the content in three sentences:
- Lots of people, including 144 U.S. government sources, have seen flying objects that they could not identify or explain.
- At this point, after their extensive research for the report, the intelligence community cannot explain or account for the flying objects either, and the data gathered was “inconclusive.”
- As the report says, “Explaining UAP will require analytic, collection, and resource investment.”
Nothing has changed from Liberty Nation’s article, last June, “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Report Disappoints, as Expected,” which detailed the unsatisfying conclusions of the ODNI’s efforts.
Accusing the Pentagon of attempting to control the UFO investigations, however, may be an overreach and, more accurately, a misunderstanding of how a bureaucracy works. In an updated article on the subject, Shinkman explained the Defense Department’s rebuttal: “Pentagon spokesman John Kirby defends the creation of the office as necessary to provide uniformity to the reporting process and subsequent analysis.” Not only is the Pentagon going to provide “synchronization,” but uniformity. That should satisfy everyone. Yet, other Pentagon defenders believe that “accusations of a power grab and an attempt to run around congressional oversight amount to a misperception.”
The new congressional initiative has strong bipartisan support with the language currently sponsored separately in the House by Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and in the Senate by Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) with cosponsors Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). As reported by Military.Com:
“The bill requires all of the findings to be collected under a new joint UAP office and delivered to Congress in annual reports and biannual briefings to defense committees, marking the most significant UFO legislation ever passed in the US following high-profile encounters with unknown objects reported by the Navy.”
Despite congressional interest and criticism from inside the U.S. and out, an accurate understanding of UFOs or UAP will remain in the shadows. The reports that Congress has mandated will be classified. There may be unclassified annexes, but expect the work of the rapid response team in the Pentagon and among the intelligence community experts to be undoubtedly cloaked in an impenetrable bureaucratic process. And remember, the reports are only prepared on sightings within Special Use Airspace (SUA), where military aircraft frequently fly. So American Flight 123 flying over the plains of Nebraska encountering a UAP doing barrel rolls around the airliner may go unanalyzed by the AOIMSG. With the criteria for reporting limited to SUA, that close encounter is exciting but not reportable – not to the Pentagon anyway.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
~ Read more from Dave Patterson.