If all goes well, a determined investigation will ensue, with an eventual answer to a question. The question may be in flux, the final form delivered as part of the answer. What eventually constitutes an answer may be dog-tired familiar, or strangely incomprehensible.
The report is the first consensus of DoD, the intelligence community, and NASA that asserts:
- Human fallibility and sensor artifacts are not by themselves a sufficient explanation for the bulk of observations reported to the predecessor program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
- UAPs may constitute a threat to national security.
- Commitment to a response.
If the consensus becomes resolve, there will follow:
- Investment in analysis of historical and future report data.
- Investment in hardware, per future “UAP R&D Technical Roadmap.”
Resolve is new. In the past, resolve had enemies:
- From 1948 to recent, the USAF ran various tiny UAP (then called UFOs) programs, embarrassments to the mainstream, distractions from the problem of nuclear deterrence, which had not yet reached the formulaic perfection of MAD. The 50’s were a time of inter-service rivalry and cutthroat competition for congressional attention, when even pocket programs were viewed as threats by larger ones.
- Until recent, the only technology likely to record UAPs was radar, which remains notoriously vulnerable to atmospheric phenomena and flocks of birds. The few photographs are of questionable provenance.
- With an absence of good instruments, reliance on untrained observers, imaginative individuals, frauds and lies substituted for objective recording.
Since 1985, sensors have have evolved from bulky-insensitive-deficient-expensive to small-agile-marvelous — and even cheap. The initial requirement may be met by off-the-shelf commercial hardware. Even unmodified cellphones may be of use.
If resolve holds, an iterative experiment results:
- Design new sensors for data collection. See CNN) James Clapper on UFOs; Let’s do Hyperspectral Imaging.
- Deploy the sensors on airplanes, ships, and hot sites, a major job involving hundreds or thousands of platforms that may carry them.
- Analyze the data,. to narrow scope of explanations of UAPs.
- Based on the success or failure of the deployments, go to “Design” and repeat.
- When we’ve done enough of this, we have an outcome – or futility.
It’s traditional to anticipate the possible outcomes before we design the experiment. The report lists these buckets:
- Airborne Clutter
- Natural Atmospheric Phenomena
- USG or Industry Developmental Programs
- Foreign Adversary Systems, which includes “non-governmental entity”.
Luis Elizondo, former head of AATIP, has a category in mind that should not be lumped with “stealth Al-Qaeda drone”, or “Houthi hypersonic project.” There are many interviews of Elizondo on the web; see (CNN) Former Pentagon official: Real question is, what are we really dealing with?
Preliminary Assessment commits a category error of omission, by omitting the bucket “extraterrestrial.” Perhaps this is to be expected, since the authors replaced a four-letter word, UFOs with the polite equivalent, UAP.
Why did they engage in this travesty of a mockery of a sham? Ufology is historically a really trashy field. The authors are hoping for a fresh start. Ain’t gonna happen. They’ll be dogged by trash every step of the way.
Elizondo positions himself as close to ufology believer as one can without making the actual statement. From Project Sign in 1948 till 2007 AATIP inception, there are no collections that justify the vibe. Before modern sensors came along, the gold standard was an experienced pilot.
It is exceedingly hard for a well trained pilot to accurately judge relative position and velocity when some of the norms of a typical encounter are missing or distorted: size, shape, speed. The classics, belonging to the explainable category:
- Gorman dogfight, when a military pilot engaged a lighted weather balloon.
- Mantell Incident, when a military pilot likely engaged an extreme altitude Skyhook balloon, attempted to climb too high, ran out of oxygen, and died.
As with all sightings that lack sensor data, the explanations are probable, not factual. You have only what the pilot or controllers tell you, or the vague impressions of radar. Elizondo’s AATIP was the first to include optical sensors. Yet the press approach to Elizondo was classical; how did he come across? Quoting (Wikipedia) Luis Elizondo,
When in 2019 Elizondo was interviewed by Tucker Carlson, Elizondo stated that the government had fragments of a UFO, “then quickly invoked his security oath”.
In this and a couple other strokes, Elizondo trashed himself, trading the attention of the establishment for the favor of a Fox mob. Yet his legacy, AATIP, had sensors, and is poised to undergo elaborate resurrection. With the vast advances of sensor technology, this Question of the Age may finally escape paradox.
Life now seems so simple: deploy sensors, tabulate and analyze data, obtain answer. What could stop us now?
For that, you must wait for Part 2, shortly.