Kevin Sood is Today News Africa foreign policy correspondent based in Riverside, California. Kevin earned his bachelor’s in political science from the University of California and his master’s in political science from California State University. He focuses on the State Department, U.S. government and U.S.-Africa ties.
Friday, the Pentagon released its anticipated Preliminary Assessment on Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon: a ground breaking report detailing its surveillance of UAPs by military personal. Initially the Pentagon released two reports: a classified version intended only for congress and a shorter unclassified version intended for the public. The report is being heralded as the U.S. government’s acknowledgement that there are indeed aerial vehicles that are not operated by it, or any know foreign advisory known in existence. Although pundits are claiming the report does not reveal anything of real significance, one must look at the findings in greater detail to truly understand the gravity of the findings.
What does the report say?
The real crux of the report lies in the fact that it is the government’s acknowledgment and admittance to the public of Unidentified Flying Phenomenon; so this raises the question: what does this mean? Although it is not uncommon for the U.S. government to talk out of both sides of its mouth, when one looks at the actual document line by line, one can narrow down the scope of possibilities as to what the Pentagon is saying.
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1) The government acknowledges the existence of UAP occurrences from 2004 to 2021.
This is significant for a number of reasons. Although the public discourse has been riddled with claims of extraterrestrial phenomenon since the famed Roswell crash of 1945, the United States government is acknowledging that UAP phenomenon ranging from the years 2004 to 2021 are indeed legitimate. This includes the famed Nimitz case off the cost of California in 2004. Individual claims tend to be highly subjective, and information from such sources are hard to corroborate since they are based from the storytellers themselves. This has given birth to a zeitgeist of extraterrestrial phenomenon ranging from the common sighting to the downright absurd. Almost never are these accounts verifiable. However, the claim that the U.S. government has made is that between the years of 2004 to 2021, UAP contacts are indeed verifiable.
2) The U.S. government is using objective military instruments to track and report UAP occurrences.
This is highly significant for a number of reasons. For one, the United States military has some of the most sophisticated technology in human existence. Military instruments and assets of war tend to be 10 to 20 years ahead of the civilian market. The report acknowledges that the U.S. military is indeed using its state of the art radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers and visual observers to track UAP phenomenon. The Pentagon also acknowledges that UAPs do in indeed represent physical objects that may pose a challenge to national security. This concludes that these objects aren’t just aerial anomalies. They are indeed verifiable hardware that are out-pacing, out-maneuvering, and out-smarting the U.S. military.
3) 143 out of 144 incidents could not be explained.
In order to categorize what the U.S. military is observing, they set up five “explanatory categories.” These explanatory categories were 1) airborne clutter (birds or airborne trash), 2) natural atmospheric phenomena (natural fluctuations in air temperature), 3) US military industrial developments (possible black projects the U.S. military has not disclosed yet), 4) foreign adversary systems and 5) an “other” catchall bin. When one reads the list of possibilities in explaining UAP sightings, they may feel deflated by the range of possibilities that can account for these extraterrestrial findings. However, also in the report it stunningly claimed that out of 144 sightings that were recounted for, only 1 was debunked with “high confidence” as being a deflated balloon. That means that for the range of possibilities that could account for UAP occurrences, 143 did not fit into 4/5 of the categories used by the Pentagon. For those occurrences falling into the catchall bin, the U.S. government acknowledges it needs more scientific data to better explain its findings.
Why you should not believe it is Russia or China.
One claim that has been circulating as to what UAP’s are is that they could be breakthrough technology from Russia or China. The report even acknowledges this, and commentators and pundits of this story have even pleaded with the public to take this into consideration. However, within in the pages of the report, it claims that the U.S. government has not garnered any intelligence that Russia or China possesses such capabilities. In fact, the U.S government states that “we currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential advisory.”
Although human behavior can be sporadic and unpredictable, state behavior is usually not. In fact, a whole discipline has emerged to analyze state behavior which is the study of political science. According to political science, states seek to aggrandize their interests through any means necessary. Since 2004, there have been numerous skirmishes and disputes between the U.S. government and foreign advisories. In 2015, Russia annexed Crimea; and China has been making steady inroads into the South-China Sea ever since then. In both instances, it can be safe to assume that the U.S. government garnered no intelligence that these objects were aggrandizing Russian or Chinese interests. Both countries are ambitiously inclined to topple America’s position in the world. There is no doubt that if any of these advisories had developed a breakthrough in technology such as a UAP; they would be using it to aggrandize their interests at the U.S.’s expensive.
So what’s in the classified report?
Political pundits and conspiracy theorists alike will no doubt say that the proof of real extraterrestrial occurrences are in the classified version: the longer, more secretive version intended for congress. In effort to avoid societal collapse, they will say, the government has hidden the more extraordinary accounts from the public to protect us from ourselves. However, in the book Making Contact, journalist and former civil servant of the British’s Ministry of Defense, Nick Pope, details the interests of governments when approaching the UAP phenomenon. For one, governments are rarely concerned about “societal collapse” in the face of UAP discoveries. Instead, they seek to keep pertinent findings and details about surveillance systems and classified military technology hidden from advisories. If the classified version is ever made public, most likely it will be a technical version of the unclassified report, detailing instruments and methods used by the U.S. military to track UAPs that it wishes to keep secret from the world.
Nevertheless, it has also been rumored that the classified report details an account where UAP phenomenon were captured by satellite imagery. If the classified version is ever leaked, it should be interesting to see what it says; although, its contents may not be all that much different from the original unclassified version made available.
So What Comes Next?
It is likely that UAPs are here to stay. Given that the military has been witnessing UAP occurrences for 17 years now (maybe even longer), it can sure that after the publishing of this report, sightings involving UAPs will be likely to grow.
The report petitions congress for more funds to allocate to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force (UAPTF). UAPTF seeks to develop a collection strategy, an R&D technical roadmap, and a program plan to sharpen its research skills in this endeavor. The report also details the UAPTFs interest in setting up data points to use in algorithmic systems to discover patterns in UAP phenomenon. UAPTF also expressed efforts to begin collaborating with civilian agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to track occurrences across the globe.
To conclude, the U.S. government is at a loss in explaining UAPs. In effort to avoid outrage, ridicule, and possibly even weakness, the Pentagon has kept its cards close to its chest when detailing its findings. If there is anything of extreme importance that can be gleaned from this report, it is that for the first time in human history, there is an intelligent source outside the scope of human existence operating advanced technology. Since man’s migration out of Africa nearly 1.8 million years ago, the human race has been the only source of intelligent life that the world has ever known. Now, we are pushing up against the boundaries of another intelligence, (worldly or not). In the coming years, we as a species may have to grapple with the fact that we are truly not alone in the universe and never have been.