The US Senate’s Interest in UAPs

The past year now has seen the Federal government developing a refined interest in the investigation of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). More recently, the Senate is growing impatient at the Department of Defense’s initiative to establish a governmental organization tasked with gathering hard tangible data concerning UAPs. The Senate’s Intelligence Committee in particular is specifically inclined toward the belief that UAPs represent a non-manmade, non-terrestrial national security risk, even though the definition of UAPs is broad include manmade, terrestrial vehicles like unmanned drones or experimental aircraft. These reports came from yesterday’s news article on The Drive:

“Members of the U.S. Senate are criticizing the Pentagon’s slow progress in setting up a new organization and reporting mechanisms, among other things, to address what they claim are ‘exponentially’ growing threats presented by unidentified aerospace and undersea phenomena. Those same legislators also want the U.S. military-led office now charged with investigating and studying these phenomena to focus on truly unexplained incidents rather than ones that have been determined to involve ‘man-made’ systems.

These comments were included in a report that Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who is the current chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, submitted on behalf of that committee on July 20. This document accompanied the latest draft of the Senate’s Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for the 2023 Fiscal Year.

In its current form, the Senate’s proposed Fiscal Year 2023 IAA includes a number of provisions related to unidentified phenomena in the air, in space, underwater, as well as so-called ‘transmedium’ ones that might be able to cross between more than one of those ‘domains.’ If passed and then signed into law, the legislation would further clarify the roles and responsibilities of a new U.S. military office centered on these issues – and rename it as the Unidentified Aerospace-Undersea Phenomena Joint Program Office – as well as impose new reporting and records-keeping requirements.”

The article notes that the Department of Defense had decided on changing the formal name of the aforementioned organization, from the Airborne Object Identification and Management Group (AOIMSG), to the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). As its name suggests, the “AARO” designation implies that its purpose is to investigate a wider variety of UAPs whose existences have more down-to-earth, no nonsense explanations. Of course, this is not to suggest that UAPs cannot be manmade or even non-terrestrial, and it seems like the latter that the Senate Intelligence Committee appears to be more concerned about. UAPs that are tangible enough to be considered manmade by the professionals, as the article itself mentioned, deserve far more attention because they represent technological breakthroughs by other nations. It is possible that such technological breakthroughs are likely to be from foreign governments with technical and economic clout to pursue such endeavors, such as Russia or China.

“The use of the term ‘man-made’ is certainly eyebrow-raising on its own, as this would seem to acknowledge the possibility of non-man-made phenomena. This is despite there being no hard evidence to substantiate the existence of anything that would fit this description, as well as senior U.S. military officials routinely pushing back against the idea that there is anything extraterrestrial or otherwise ‘alien’ in reports regarding unidentified phenomena of any kind.

Of course, the language in the draft Senate IAA for the 2023 Fiscal Year doesn’t preclude the possibility that still unidentified phenomena could eventually be assessed to be man-made, after which those reports would then be forwarded to other entities within the U.S. military or Intelligence Community. With that in mind, the language in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report may be intended, at least in part, to try to help reduce any stigma surrounding the reporting of encounters with unidentified phenomena in any domain. This is something The War Zone has highlighted as a key factor in actually addressing the real threats at play here.”

What the article does due diligence is when it states that the purpose of such inquiries is to provide a governmental framework to report serious UAP sightings by professionals. Such professionals can include civilian employees and government contractors working for DOD or any of the agencies within the US intelligence community.    

“In a similar vein, the current version of the Senate’s IAA includes a provision that would establish a ‘secure system’ through which uniformed military personnel or civilian employees, to include contractors, in the Department of Defense or elsewhere in the Intelligence Community could send reports directly to the Pentagon-led office handling these issues without having to consult their superiors and provides legal protections for anyone who does so. The clear idea here is to encourage individuals to report what could be serious national security risks by offering an avenue to do so that is free of any fear of facing ridicule or actual adverse administrative actions.”

Granted, one must be level-headed and unbiased when it comes to topics such as this. Just as how one should strive to go beyond the Political Left and Political Right, the same is to be expected for those “Believers” and “Skeptics” who think that this represents a step toward investigating the so-called “UFOs.” The article goes on to address why such thinking prevails inside of Congress on the topic of UAPs:

“At that same hearing, Moultrie had also pushed back at the idea of investigating various unsubstantiated anecdotes, including Cold War-era claims about UFOs disabling U.S. Air Force nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. ‘Individuals and groups that are putting information out there that could be considered somewhat self-serving… contribute to the undermining of the confidence that the Congress and the American people have that we are trying to get to the root cause of what’s happening here,’ the Pentagon’s top intelligence official added at that time.

So, there is a possibility that this language regarding reported unidentified phenomena that have not yet been determined to have been man-made reflects a belief among some in Congress that officials like Moultrie aren’t being as open-minded as they’ve pledged to be, or possibly even truthful, for that matter.

There are certainly some indications of this in the other half of Congress. The draft IAA that the House Intelligence Committee advanced last week included a provision that would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the Intelligence Community for any previous ‘efforts to track, identify, recover, transfer, or obfuscate’ unidentified phenomena or ‘efforts to recover or transfer related technologies to United States-based industry or [the Department of Energy’s] National Laboratories.’”

The most important lesson to take from reading that article is to understand that UAPs are not necessarily the same as UFOs. A UAP can just as easily be a naturally-occurring phenomenon at higher attitudes or even advanced aircraft from other nations. Keeping the definition open to encompass a larger variety of phenomena is reflective of the need to be open-minded on the subject. To automatically claim that something is non-terrestrial can be a great way to conceal what are otherwise technological breakthroughs. Whether such technological breakthrough signify a technical dead-end or the beginnings of something larger is always a looming question in the realm of engineering. For now, it would be best to approach this subject with the utmost caution, reserving all prior judgments until there is ample evidence to make a well-researched, well-articulated argument on the origins of this or that UAP.  

Categories: Politics

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