Over the past fifteen years, Congress has directed the Pentagon and intelligence community to investigate an eighty-year-old problem that is a potential threat to our national security. Whether this phenomenon is the same mystery that was once called Foo Fighters, Swedish Ghost Rockets, Flying Saucers, Green Fireballs, Unidentified Flying Objects and Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, many of today’s sightings mimic these past mystery objects that Congress has been told were not real. The question today is whether objects, more accurately labeled as “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (UAP), are a threat. There are enough cases to justify a serious inquiry into UAP origins. Many exhibit seemingly impossible flight characteristics, while witnessed visually by trained observers and seen on multiple, independent sensors. In fact, given the oath taken by each Member of Congress to “protect against all enemies”, this inquiry is mandatory. A significant number of reports show capabilities far beyond our advanced technology.
The data held by the four congressional national security committees support further study. However, the data reviewed by these committees is apparently not enough to make definitive conclusions about the source(s) of UAP. While the need to conduct this congressional review is necessary and appropriate, there are also other important considerations. At a minimum, the study of UAP raises three dilemmas. First, why was there a need for the recently approved second round of legislation in the 117th Congress? For reasons unknown, both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community (IC) have been uncooperative and slow in implementing UAP legislative priorities. Their first Annual Report, issued months after the statutory deadline, provided less information about UAP incidents than the initial report issued in June 2021. The motive for this conduct is perplexing but may explain the reticence to cooperate.
Second, how can Congress study the threatening capabilities of UAP without addressing the wider implications of what they may find? Whether the cause of these handful of extraordinary encounters with our military pilots is terrestrial or not, finding the source(s) will have profound impacts on this country. If terrestrial sources are eliminated as the original source of the phenomenon, the remaining answer will challenge many assumptions about our place in the Universe. This collection of Papers discusses these issues and makes substantive and procedural recommendations to consider during the legislative process that are beyond military and intelligence matters.
While initially needing to determine the threat potential of these objects, this inquiry may open doors and raise issues that do not have settled answers. There are no think tanks, dedicated academic institutions, or non-profit foundations that make public policy recommendations for addressing the implications of the disclosures that may come. The House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees have been plotting the direction of this inquiry without significant help of the agencies and service branches they oversee. It is apparent that what these national security committees have learned has been gathered solely in a classified setting. These issues are important, and their work should be publicly supported. Yet, these concerns will likely lead to larger questions. The manner in which this forward thinking, bipartisan group implements the current and pending legislation will have long term implications for significant issues related to the phenomenon.
Third, given the endemic secrecy surrounding the phenomenon, why are evidentiary public hearings being shoved aside? The American People have been kept in the dark about the phenomenon for eighty years. A majority of Americans believe the government is hiding something. Public policy decisions have been made behind closed doors for the length of the government’s interactions with this mystery, which gives rise to mistrust. A mystery that is created, in large part, because of the government enforced secrecy. This prevents citizens from being made aware of enough critical facts that help them to form opinions about how their government should set public policy on these vital issues. This congressional inquiry must include meaningful public hearings that help the public understand the meaning of any potential findings. Without public understanding during the process of congressional inquiry, Congress faces the real possibility of a public rejection of its ultimate determinations, regardless of what those findings entail.
In order to assist Congress in this endeavor, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Action Committee (UAPAC) was formed to address both substantive and procedural issues related to the government study of UAP. This first collection of papers discusses current issues related to congressional oversight and government study of UAP. The founders of UAPAC, while they have strong personal views about the sources of UAP, believe that any legitimate inquiry into the UAP threat potential should be conducted in a bipartisan manner without any predisposed assumptions, but based solely on the evidence. This process must include public hearings that inform the public of preliminary findings including trained eyewitnesses reports with supporting sensor data. The UAP provisions contained in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Appropriations Act will greatly assist the congressional oversight activities and the UAP program. However, while the inquiry is enhanced by their adoption, the investigatory process must recognize the need to include the public in the process, especially considering the lack of trust in the current official UAP policy.
UAPAC was founded by Robert Salas and James Lough. Its purpose is not to advocate that Congress make any specific determination as to the source of UAP. Instead, its purpose is twofold. To address the curious barriers being erected to impede congressional oversight of the UAP/threat issue. Second, to recommend policies that will help the Congress understand the extent of any threat in a way that keeps the American people informed throughout the process. Congress must do an independent, bipartisan review of the evidence and present an unbiased set of recommendations about the source(s) of UAP and their broader implications. Congress has a responsibility to do so in a manner that accurately informs the American people. Leaving the public out of the process will undermine acceptance of these efforts.
UAPAC Co-founder Robert Salas is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, class of 1964. He served seven years on active duty before separating from the Air Force in 1971 with the rank of Captain. While on active duty he worked as a Weapons Controller, flew target drones, commanded inter-continental ballistic missiles as a launch officer, and worked as an Air Force missile propulsion engineer on the Titan III program. From 1971-73, he worked as a safety and reliability engineer for Martin-Marietta Aerospace and Rockwell International on Space Shuttle design proposals. From 1974 until his retirement from government service in 1995, he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an aircraft structures certification engineer. From 1991-93, he served as an FAA attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, advising that government on aircraft certification. From 1998-2016, he worked as a mathematics teacher. In 2005, he published the book Faded Giant, with co-author James Klotz, which details his UFO incident while stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana in 1967. In 2013, he published Unidentified-The UFO Phenomenon, providing new details on his research into the phenomenon.
On September 27, 2010, he co-sponsored a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC where he and six other ex-military witnesses testified to the reality of the UFO incidents at U.S. nuclear weapons bases. In May 2013, he participated in the Citizen’s Hearing on Disclosure at the National Press Club, Washington, DC. On October 19, 2021, he organized another Washington DC press conference with three other ex-military witnesses on the connection between UAP and nuclear weapons incidents.
Mr. Salas has spoken at international conferences in over fifteen countries, including Norway, France, England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Switzerland, South Africa, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. He has been publicly speaking about his incident at UFO conferences, web podcasts, radio and television productions since 1996.
UAPAC Co-founder James Lough is a retired government attorney who advised California cities and counties on constitutional and general governance issues. He taught “Decision Making in Urban Communities” at the San Diego State University School of Public Affairs. He is also the author of the “UFO Briefing Book: A Congressional Guide to the UAP Phenomenon” (March 2021). Among his recommendations were the use of UAP-related secrecy agreements as evidence to find percipient witnesses; whistleblower protections to protect witnesses that come forward; and use of historical data as a comparison to today’s phenomenon. Lough also expected that the DoD and IC would “slow walk” information to Congress. Each of these issues are still facing Congress in its oversight efforts. Many concepts he raised in his book were incorporated into the recently adopted Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Appropriations Act .
UAPAC is dedicated to the preparation of policy analysis papers on UAP issues from a governing perspective. At present, UAPAC is not a registered lobbyist or political action committee. Its mission is to provide information about governance issues to Congress, the press and the public about government interest in UAP. UAPAC believes that Congress, in its traditional oversight role, should continue to investigate UAP in a strictly bipartisan manner, while holding public hearings to inform the electorate of the short and long term implications of this effort. This collection of six papers is the first in a planned series of policy papers meant to inform Congress, the press and public about UAP as a public policy issue.
February 1, 2023
Robert Salas James P. Lough
Founding Member Founding Member
UAPAC was formed to provide an outside voice focused on substantive and procedural issues that Congress faces when its four main national security committees (House and Senate Armed Services and Committees on Intelligence) conduct oversight into the phenomenon referred to as unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP). In the absence of think tanks, academic institutions and lobbying groups devoted to the subject, our intent is to provide independent policy analysis on the subject from a broader perspective than just the “threat potential” of these mysterious objects. While congressional oversight is being conducted by committees that normally work in a classified setting, the six papers presented on specific issues facing Congress emphasize the need for public hearings to inform the American People about the latest findings on a subject that has been historically treated with distain by the federal government. In conducting its oversight, the four national security committees need to be cognizant of this history and the well-founded reluctance of the public to trust official information about the phenomenon.
Since the first known official military incidents began circa 1942, UAP have been reported by trained military observers and captured by electronic sensors, showing consistent behavior to the present. From Foo Fighters shadowing military aircraft in World War II through modern incidents of monitoring aircraft carrier groups, the craft types and performance characteristics have followed a consistent pattern. One disturbing part of this pattern is the apparent interest in our nuclear assets. This pattern began with a 1945 UAP sighting by military personnel over the Hanford, Washington nuclear facility that produced the fissile material used in our first atomic weapons. Starting with multiple incidents during our missile development programs and continued over our intercontinental missile facilities, observation and interference of our nuclear missile launch facilities continues to this day. Civilian nuclear plants, nuclear weapons storage facilities, and nuclear- powered naval vessels are part of this continuing pattern of surveillance.
The response of the military (DoD) and intelligence community (IC) has also been consistent. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, both groups combined to implement policies that denigrated quality witnesses to the phenomenon and treated any discussion of the subject with distain. Sometimes using legally questionable tactics, the DoD and IC “debunked” quality sightings and treated them in a similar fashion to civilian hoaxes meant to capitalize on interest in the subject. Today, despite vague claims of transparency, the DoD and IC apparently still minimize the reality of UAP and focus resources on incidents with easier explanations. In response, Congress passed two rounds of legislation in the 117th Congress meant to require the DoD and IC to take this potential threat seriously.
These six papers address topics that will assist Congress in properly implementing the UAP legislation in a way that will result in true transparency. The first paper, ENDEMIC EXCESSIVE SECRECY IN GOVERNMENT (page 10), addresses excessive government secrecy that has been used as a primary tool to limit inquiries into the government’s handling of the UAP issue. Using 1967 UAP incidents witnessed by personnel from Malmstrom Air Base, in one specific instance, the paper shows how a record of an incident was altered after declassification to hide information about the incident witnessed by multiple personnel. Incidents such as the Malmstrom ICBM shutdown cases demonstrate how the Air Force can use a variety of means to preserve cover ups of troubling incidents of interest to Congress and the public.
The second paper, UAP BEHIND THE CLASSIFIED WALL (page 15), discusses the potential impact of the provisions in the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act authorizing a Government Accountancy Office (GAO) investigation into past UAP policy. One of the critical elements of this investigation is to determine what steps, if any, that the DoD and IC have contracted out study of UAP to defense contractors. To date, it is likely that the Congress and the UAP program (All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO)) are unaware of any federal contractors, past or present, who have or are attempting to design a craft based on the technical capabilities of UAP. The paper uses current information about a potential program that is hidden from the traditional defense procurement process. One lead that the GAO can consider involves information currently in private sector hands which may indicate the existence of a reverse-engineering program using material recovered from a UAP that was transferred to a defense contractor. As potentially high value federal property, the recovery of such property would be in the national interest. Using information discovered from former defense officials, the GAO could use this information to determine if such a program either existed or exists. The paper lays out steps that would help AARO recover said property or determine that no such program exists.
As part of the GAO investigation, it must study IC involvement “in any program or activity that was protected by restricted access that has not been clearly and explicitly reported to Congress….” (50 U.S.C. §3373(j)(2)(B)(ii)(I).) This provision is intended to uncover possible UAP development defense contracts shielded from Congress behind the classified wall. The goal is to give Congress access to programs they fund related to the phenomenon.
The GAO search also will look for activities of the IC about “efforts to obfuscate, manipulate public opinion, hide, or otherwise provide incorrect unclassified or classified information about unidentified anomalous phenomena or related activities.” (50 U.S.C. §3373(j)(2)(B)(ii)(III).) The third paper, UAP OFFICIAL DISINFORMATION (page 25), looks at IC policies intended to misinform the public about UAP. The main focus of this paper is a set of documents that claim to show a secret government program intended to manage the government’s response to UAP. These materials, known collectively as the MJ-12 documents, arrived mysteriously in the 1980s in the mailboxes of people close to the UFO research community. Photographic copies of alleged government manuals, code named Majestic-12, have been labeled hoaxes by the federal government. Over several decades, the UFO research community has argued among itself over the validity of these documents. Since the FBI never conducted any investigations into documents it labeled as “bogus”, it is difficult to place blame on any potential source. This included a failure to investigate a probable breach of the National Archives records system. Since there has never been a full and adequate review to determine, if hoaxed, who committed both the hoax and Archive breech? Considering the disruption caused among private researchers over the existence of Majestic-12, this paper advocates for the GAO to investigate these alleged documents to determine whether they were part of a deliberate disinformation campaign intended to distract from UAP issues and mislead the American People.
The fourth paper, THE UAP SECRET GROUP (page 34), keeps the focus on past policies of the DoD aimed at denigrating the entire UAP subject matter. In 1948, the Air Force Chief of Staff ordered all copies of an Air Force technical group “Estimate of the Situation” to be destroyed. The report analysis included the possibility of a non-terrestrial source. The destruction of the “Estimate” ended consideration of a non-terrestrial source of UAP that continues to this day. Even after significant advances in technology, the same gap between many of these mystery craft and today’s aircraft still exists.
The central premise of this paper is the dichotomy between the two contradictory approaches taken by the DoD from 1948 until the present. One is the public position on the nature of UAP as an unknown phenomenon under consideration and another reality that UAP are real and require intensive study in strict secrecy. Throughout the last seventy-five years, the public has been told one thing, yet the subject is treated with intense scrutiny behind closed doors. Even Congress is on the outside looking in. This paper advocates that Congress and the GAO seek information about this inconsistency that has been and continues to be government policy. The Air Force policy also maintains that no UAP has ever been a threat to national security. Recent interactions with Navy Carrier Groups seriously question this premise. (Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, June 25, 2021, pp. 3, 6.)
The fifth paper, UAP: A PUBLIC NEED TO KNOW (page 37), discusses the procedural setting of congressional oversight efforts into the DoD and IC response of the potential threat of UAP. Faced with pushback from the defense and intelligence communities, a remarkable bipartisan coalition of national security specialists have pushed through two rounds of legislation in the 117th Congress. The legislation is aimed at learning about the potential threat posed by the phenomenon and the reasons behind the “slow walking” implementation approach of the DoD and IC. While these legislative steps have been targeted at understanding both the “threat” UAP pose and the difficult to understand bureaucratic response, there are larger issues that will present themselves.
The structural process of these national security committees has been aided in the progress to date. Classified disclosures have educated committee members about the threat potential of UAP. The process has also helped this core group of legislators to quickly understand the institutional impediments to progress in a relatively short period. They have been able to recognize that the impediments are longstanding and contribute to the congressional lack of knowledge about the potential threat. Despite these roadblocks, these core national security members have the trust of rank-and-file members of Congress who have come to rely on the recommendations of likeminded members, trusting their classified knowledge. This has allowed a subject that has been ridiculed for decades to be treated with grudging respect. Regardless of the outcome of an evidence-based process, it is highly likely that a significant portion of the public will have trouble adjusting to the results of any inquiry into the origins and intent of those behind UAP. Since a majority of the public believe that the government is hiding information about UAP, it will take more transparency than is usually afforded by the typical national security committee process. Declassified records already show that there is merit to the majority misgivings about what the American People have been told about UAP. UAPAC recommends an open, bipartisan process to bring along the citizenry and help them adjust. A well-constructed public hearing process would bring evidence into the public that reflect the evidence-based conclusions developed through vetting by national security congressional staff, committee members, and AARO.
The sixth and final paper, 2022 UAP ANNUAL REPORT: TWO STEPS BACKWARD (p. 45), analyses the recently issued report. In comparison to the Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (Report or Preliminary Assessment) issued to Congress in June 2021, the 2022 UAP Annual Report provided even less analysis of sighting reports, using vague language and no real breakdowns of the type of craft seen or their specific performance characteristics. The first annual report, besides being filed two and a half months after the statutory deadline, has an unusual number of identified balloon sightings that make one question the result. The 2021 Preliminary Assessment identified one balloon out of 144 cases. The rest were of unknown origin. The 2022 Annual Report, released on January 12, 2023, found that 163 balloons were found to be the cause out of 366 reports. The 2022 Annual Report has no explanation for the exponential surge in balloon sightings. Since there has been no outreach from ODNI or AARO to explain how our military’s trained aviators are suddenly misidentifying balloons, one has to wonder whether possible changes in the program’s parameters have changed to explain this discrepancy. The opaqueness of the process raises questions about the Pentagon’s commitment to implementing two rounds of legislation or its commitment to destigmatize an issue that has long been the subject of official ridicule.
According to Air Force Captain Edward Ruppelt, the first director of Project Bluebook, after one year of analysis of existing reports on the UFO question the 1948 “Estimate of the Situation” concluded that UFOs were interplanetary vehicles. However, the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg refused to buy this conclusion and the report was rejected. If it is shown that the Majestic 12 group had its earliest beginnings in 1947 and its prime objective was to maintain secrecy on this phenomenon, as evidenced by the coverup of the Roswell incidents, then it is evident that the Air Force intended to maintain two realities. One was a public position on the nature of UFOs as an unknown phenomenon under consideration and another reality that UFOs were real and required intensive study in strict secrecy.
Today, seventy-five years later, the official public position of the DOD remains, unchanged and the USAF position is to remain mute on the subject. In fact, the calculus for the 1948 determination that UFOs were interplanetary vehicles remains the same. It is simply this: The speeds, maneuverability, operating characteristics of UFOs and their design technologies cannot be matched by any aircraft, from any nation, known to exist. Therefore, these objects cannot be from planet earth. Clearly, for seventy-five years the DOD/IC failed to confirm this obvious conclusion to keep this knowledge from the public. This fact further supports the on-going existence of a ‘secret group’ (cabal) studying the UAP within the structures of government.
As a step towards implementing this secrecy policy, the CIA organized the Robertson Panel in 1953. The Durant Report on the outcome and conclusions of this panel stated: “…reasonable explanations could be suggested for most sightings and by deduction and scientific method it be induced that other cases might be explained in a similar manner…The concept of a broad educational program integrating efforts of all concerned agencies was that it should have two major aims: training and debunking…The debunking aim would result in reduction in public interest in ‘flying saucers,’ which today evokes a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures, and popular articles…The panel took cognizance of the existence of such groups as the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO). It was believed that such organizations should be watched because their potentially great influence on mass thinking if widespread sightings should occur. The apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind.” These concepts may have established as guidelines for the continuing operations of the secret group that may have begun as MJ-12.
If such a group exists and has been able to maintain secret operations in the evaluation of information, act on that information, recover craft, assimilate new technology, transfer that technology, share information and cooperation with other nations, effectuate some mutual communications on UAP incidents in real time, it would be an organization with extensive capabilities and efficiencies. Such a secret group within government operations would need reliable funding sources, operate facilities and equipment to perform data collection and analyses, have liaisons with military and other intelligence agencies, and liaisons with civilian aerospace contractors. Each of the above organizational capabilities are certainly possible within our governmental structure.
In view of the historical give and take between governmental secrecy and the public quest for disclosure on the UAP, we could view this as a ‘zero-sum’ game. If we assign ‘disclosure points’ to this game, then the sum of the points would be government disclosure of the information that is being withheld from the public. These points would then be distributed to either the secret group or the public at any given time. If disclosure elements are positive points and secret elements are negative points, then the sum of the points held by both sides would always be zero. The greater the release of information in the form of valid witness testimonies and documentation, more points will accrue to disclosure advocates. If those holding the secrets have greater success in maintaining them, the secrecy group will maintain the advantage.
Of critical importance in the play of this game is public perception of the issue of the UAP. Given the predisposition of the public, widespread acceptance cannot be achieved by the American people unless it feels it is part of the process. Polling on this issue, although rare, indicates that the American people are evenly divided on the cause of UAP. A YouGov poll taken between September 9-12, 2022, shows that 34% of the public believes UFOs are controlled by non-terrestrial entities; 32% believe they have natural explanations; and 34% do not know the source. Considering the polling margin of error, the public is evenly split on the issue. In a 1996 Newsweek poll, only 20% believed that UFOs are controlled by aliens. The 2022 poll is a significant increase in those who believe in a non-terrestrial source. Another YouGov poll taken in July 2020 with over 8,000 respondents shows that 56% of the public believes that the government is hiding information about UFOs. 22% believed the government would tell the public if aliens were involved, while the same percentage (22%) did not know. In other words, more than half the public in a survey with a relatively large sample size and small margin of error (+/- 3%), do not trust the government to be honest about the subject.
The polling shows a small but distinct advantage for the advocates of disclosure. The new whistle-blower protections added to the new legislation will allow new testimonies. The truths told by the aggregate of experiences of witnesses could break the hold on secrecy if the public demands its government confront and act on the truth of this evidence. Ultimately, the basic tenet of the people’s need-to- know what their government is doing to meet their duties and responsibilities to reflect the will of the people will prevail, as it must.
In the U.S., the government has the absolute power to withhold information from the public. This power is derived from the preamble to the Constitution where it establishes the need for our government to “…provide for the common defense…and secure the blessings of liberty…” In other words, provide for our national security. Thus, maintaining secrets, which if divulged would give aid and comfort to any enemy of the United States is proper and necessary for our nation’s security. Therefore, the imperative of secrecy in government has a status of the highest priority. Our government will have its secrets.
The Constitution does not speak to how much secrecy is necessary or if excessive secrecy could be detrimental to our democracy. It does, however, embody the principle that “We the people” have established our government for the purposes of union, justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, general welfare, and the blessings of liberty. If we are to have those blessings in America, it is necessary that we the people must remain informed as to how our government is proceeding to accomplish those ends. To help protect us from the potential corruptions of government, including the abuse of secrecy, the first amendment to the Constitution establishes the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Every year the President receives a report from the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), the agency whose mission includes “ensuring that the government protects and allows proper access to classified and controlled unclassified information to advance the national and public interest.” In its latest issue of this report, the director stated the following: “I believe more than ever that Americans must have faith in their government’s honesty and openness… Fear and ignorance, the most corrosive and dangerous of all acids for a republic, will continue to eat away at the strength and resilience of our governing pillars if we do not neutralize them with candor and transparency.”
The 2021 ISOO Report identified the following deficiencies in security programs (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/reports/isoo-2021-annual-report-to-the-president-final.pdf, 2021 ISOO Report):
Because of the ‘tsunami’ of digital classified information being created daily, makes it likely that most of it will never be reviewed for declassification.
There are inconsistencies in creating and maintaining Special Access Programs (SAPs) and Controlled Access Programs (CAPs). There is little oversight of these programs to ensure agencies are appropriately establishing and administering them.
There is an urgent need to update the primary national security authorities (offices and individuals who have the authority to classify information) that govern the Classified National Security Information (CNSI) system.
ISOO was unable to determine the number of ‘derivative’ classification actions because of the varied approaches agencies use. They have therefore ended this requirement. Derivative classification is information that is classified due to its relationship to ‘original’ classification of information. For the same reasons, ISOO has dropped reporting requirements for the number of OCAs by agencies. [OCA – Original Classification Authority] Agencies have little incentive to complete requests for appeals on time, resulting in more appeals.
The DOD is responsible for 74% of the 2,116 total Security Classification Guides (SCG) used by federal agencies. It has taken ISOO two years to review 130 of these DOD SCGs. Their finding is that 26% were deficient in the listing the OCA. In 15% of those reviewed, the rationale for classification was not provided. In 21%, the fixed date for declassification was not provided as required.
ISOO points to a significant concern where 16 of the SCGs that include exemptions to the automatic declassification at 25 years, the OCA responsible for the SCG does not have the authority to apply an exemption. ‘SCGs are the primary means for OCAs to make classification decisions and are essential to the proper functioning of the classification system. They are also the fundamental tool used for derivative classification—that is, carrying forward the classification decisions made by OCAs—which accounts for the great majority of classification actions.’ Deficient or inaccurate SCGs leads to the proliferation of illegitimate classified information and enables information to be classified at the wrong level. In FY 2021, 16 agencies have designated 671 Top Secret level OCAs and 817 Secret level OCAs.
The DOD is responsible for inspecting and monitoring contractors, licensees, and grantees under the CNSI. This is the National Industrial Security Program. There are 39 agencies across the executive branch that have classified contracts. This program needs an overhaul as it is almost 30 years old and, according to ISOO, no longer supports our national security needs.
The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) was established as a means to conduct declassification reviews. Because Congress has been using the PIDB as a preferred vehicle for conducting declassification reviews without the expenditure of funds, the administrative cost burden has become significant on ISOO. ISOO cannot sustain their support with additional resources.
The defects stated above by internal government oversight have been persistent issues and therefore endemic aspects of the CNSI. It is, and has been, an essentially broken system for the insertion of secrecy in our government operations and allowing for review and removal of such secrecy in the interest of an informed public.
How do these ‘corrosive effects’ impact the disclosure of information on the UAP? First, it allows for the complexity of releasing information to severely impact the timing of those releases. Every facet of information will require review by the OCA and its concurrence that releasing it would not disclose sources and methods. And then it would require coordination between agencies to further validate its release. This could involve at least 16 other agencies!
The complex interaction of these issues was recently displayed by the failure of the ODNI to meet its requirement to issue an interim report for the UAP due October 31, 2022, per 50 USC 3373. Under that section of the law, a particular Office must be established to carry out eight specific duties to address the UAP. Those duties include the complexities of developing and standardizing the collection, reporting, coordination, and analysis of incidents across the defense and intelligence communities. In addition, these duties require the coordination with allies and partners of the United States.
Notwithstanding the gross deficiencies in the CNSI, the question is, whether individual officers, such as the President, members of Congress and other government agencies will allow the people to know what information they have in their possession that the public ought to know. And, if extreme secrecy will remain prevalent, will they take the actions needed to reform the system as they endeavor to assess the UAP?