The 2022 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4350) has passed the United States House of Representatives. It is currently in the Senate and headed towards final approval. Under Section 1652 (ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE TO ADDRESS UNIDENTIFIED AERIAL PHENOMENA), the Bill requires the Pentagon to set up UAP program that has responsibility over defense UAP issues. This program will replace the Navy’s UAP Task Force as the program with overall Pentagon responsibility for the study of UAP. It will be required to issue annual reports to six congressional committees from 2022 until January 1, 2027.
This new program will have coordination responsibilities with other relevant branches of the federal government, primarily the intelligence community. The study and coordination parameters are roughly the same as those established by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2020.
One encouraging new aspect of this legislation is the language that adds the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the group of committees with oversight responsibilities for UAP/military study. Now, along with the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, the two foreign relations committees will receive briefings and annual reports from the Pentagon’s new UAP program. These two new committees will have oversight responsibilities, upon passage of H.R. 4350, of the UAP program’s coordination with our allies. This puts these two committees at the forefront of determining the source of a world wide phenomenon. The following is the text of a first series of letters to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee members about the need to take this responsibility seriously:
October 29, 2021
Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC 20515
Re: UAP Task Force Report: “UFO Briefing Book: A Guide to Congressional Oversight of the UAP Phenomenon”
Dear Hon. Rep. Ted Lieu:
Enclosed you will find a copy of the above-referenced guide previously sent to the House and Senate Armed Services and Select Intelligence Committees. Please use it as an aid in reviewing information supplied by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) in June 2021. The ODNI was asked questions by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about unidentified aerial phenomenon (“UAP”). The “UFO Briefing Book: A Guide to Congressional Oversight of the UAP Phenomenon” (“Guide”) was also sent to Senate and House leadership. Copies are being sent to the House Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee members who have not previously received the Guide but will now play a role going forward.
Upon the adoption of H.R. 4350 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022), currently pending in the Senate, your committee will be added to the list of congressional committees given access to these annual reports, including classified materials. Considering the findings of the ODNI’s Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (“Report” or “Preliminary Assessment”), the addition of the foreign affairs oversight committees is a necessary step to help address the implications of the phenomenon, be it of terrestrial or non-terrestrial origin.
While this remote possibility cannot be ignored, the Report found no evidence of a terrestrial source of the phenomenon. It also found that many of the unknown objects were recorded on multiple, independent sensors performing aerobatic feats considered impossible by current technological standards. Although the Report followed historic government patterns of downplaying any non-terrestrial possibility, the likelihood that these physical objects are not of terrestrial origin has substantially increased. This probability requires Congress to investigate diplomatic options necessary to address this potential challenge. Both terrestrial response coordination efforts and evaluation of potential diplomatic approaches to the controllers of these objects must be evaluated. Your committee is one of the best options our democracy has to begin this analysis.
The main purpose of this letter and enclosed Guide is to provide you with some basic information that was not contained the UAP Report. For this public policy issue, you will not be able to rely on normal public policy resources such as think tanks, special advocacy groups or academic institutions to assist you. While the Guide is far from the only outside source on this subject, it is the only detailed analysis of the questions asked by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Your committee can use it to consider issues directly relevant to exercise of congressional oversight authority for our response to the phenomenon, be it terrestrial or not.
One of the first things to remember is that the phenomenon predates the 21st Century incidents analyzed by ODNI. In fact, for over 75 years, this phenomenon has been fairly consistent in its movements and interest in our military assets. Since the World War II “Foo Fighters” mystery, little has changed in how we deal with the phenomenon. Our military and intelligence agencies have been repeating the same mistakes and treating each new incident as if it had no precedent. This pattern leaves us with no coherent strategy regardless of the phenomenon’s source. It leaves front line military personnel at a severe disadvantage. When they are confronted with this rare phenomenon, front line units lack the knowledge and training to react appropriately. Electronic data about the phenomenon is immediately removed from front line units, preventing personnel from learning lessons from their experiences. These de facto policies put our front line personnel at increased risk of harm.
The main concern of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was whether these objects constitute a threat to our military and the homeland. If an actual threat exists, the routine procedures of the military and intelligence community discussed above impede our ability to respond appropriately. Even if it isn’t a threat, front line units should not be kept in the dark about the phenomenon. Regardless of who controls these objects, our front line military personnel need appropriate training and foreknowledge of their capabilities to safely respond to future incidents.
For decades, we know that one worrisome pattern is their interest in our nuclear facilities, military and civilian. There have been reports of these objects near nuclear facilities beginning with the World War II-era sightings around nuclear processing facilities in Hanford, Washington. With the later deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles, highly credible military witnesses have reported flights (groups) of ICBMs going offline as these objects hover nearby. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTf5-TNASoI, October 18, 2021, Press Conference, National Press Club.)
Despite these long-term patterns, the Report reached its conclusions based on a narrow set of data from November 2004 onward. Because the Report’s data set was artificially limited, the Guide recommended measures that would bring more information forward. If Congress acts on the limited information supplied by ODNI, the actions taken could have tragic consequences.
As discussed in the Guide, another consistent historical pattern has been the lack of congressional involvement. Our legislative representatives have been missing in action for the length of this modern phenomenon. Despite decades of deferral to the military and intelligence agencies, it appears few, if any, answers have been forthcoming.
Yet, the subject matter has been jealously guarded, preventing congressional access to relevant information. With today’s modern technology, the mystery only deepens. Over time, a bipartisan mix of legislators have been denied information about the phenomenon. As a result, Congress has been prevented from performing meaningful oversight about the government’s response to this phenomenon.
Since the Guide was supplied to leadership and committee members who received the Report, public interest has increased exponentially, especially after a 60 Minutes broadcast. Yet, despite the availability of decades of publicly known data, the Report ignored past incidents by credible military and civilian observers. The Report’s focus was on recent Naval aviator videos, providing a mystery but no real answers. Given the history of our response to the phenomenon, this scenario was to be expected. As I wrote on April 28, 2021, it was unlikely that Congress would hear the full story from this Report:
Initially, we will get partial disclosures. We will learn that there are a series of incidents that fit the same profile as the Nimitz and Roosevelt incidents. They involve all service branches. There will be no credible information pointing to a terrestrial source. They will promise further briefings and to begin a review of information across service branches and the intelligence community to gather information for most of the questions that were generated by the Senate Intel committee. In other words, I foresee the Report, due June 25, 2021, “slow walking” information to Congress. If the Congress does not object to the pace of information they are receiving, the supply of information will remain the same or dwindle. Congress will have to be aggressive to be able to learn enough of the picture to consider legislative amendments or changes in funding priorities in a reasonable period of time. (Welcome to jplufo.com (Stop UFO Secrecy) – JPL UFO.)
As stated throughout the Guide, the military and intelligence community will continue to “slow walk” information to Congress. Information from similar past experiences of military personnel will be ignored. Yet, there is no real difference between the GOFAST.wmv video taken by a pilot from the U.S.S. Roosevelt and World War II encounters. Relying on only recent data misrepresents the true nature of the phenomenon and gives Congress a false sense that the phenomenon is of recent origin. This false premise could lead to a military-only approach for a problem that must have diplomatic options.
In order to prevent a repeat of past mistakes, Congress needs to peel back the layers of information about this mystery. Without active oversight, Congress will be making long-term policy without the critical facts at its disposal. Congress will need to continue to ask questions about our response to this phenomenon and not let selectively orchestrated disclosures keep information out of the hands of our elected representatives.
While most of the work on this issue has been conducted by the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, the membership of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs/Relations Committees will soon be part of the mix. Regardless of the source of the phenomenon, interactions with foreign governments are a necessary element moving forward. Our response should include consultation with allies and, ultimately, diplomatic efforts with the sources of the phenomenon. Delaying these preparations will not make the need to engage diplomatically go away.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions. Best wishes on your approach to this subject.
James P. Lough
Enclosure: “UFO Briefing Book: A Guide to Congressional Oversight of the UAP Phenomenon”