Open Letter to Representative Gallego
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Dear Representative Gallego:
I am writing as an admirer and supporter who deeply shares your concerns about the UAP issue.
In 2017, I was shocked to learn that U.S. Navy pilots had been encountering UAP in restricted U.S. airspace on a regular basis and nobody was reporting it much less doing anything about it. Senior DoD and intelligence officials, Congress, and the American public were all totally unaware.
I therefore worked with Lue Elizondo of the USDI staff to try to get this extraordinary information to Secretary Mattis. We knew that almost anyone below that level would likely shunt the issue aside and quash if we revealed it to them.
After a number of months, we realized we were not going to be able to inform Secretary Mattis. After some deliberation, we decided this was simply too important to ignore. Lue resigned from OSD in protest and shortly thereafter I delivered two authentic but unclassified DoD UAP videos to the New York Times. Another video I provided later accompanied an op-ed I wrote on UAP for the Washington Post. Since that time, Lue and I have done a History Channel TV docuseries, 60 Minutes, and innumerable interviews to help raise awareness.
I was therefore thrilled when I heard you had offered an amendment to establish a permanent DoD focal point for the UAP issue. My excitement grew further when I read the Gillibrand amendment. As a former SASC, SSCI, and OSD staffer, and one of the two people most responsible for alerting Congress, I hope that you will consider the following observations:
There is no contradiction between your bill’s language and Senator Gillibrand’s amendment. The Gillibrand amendment leaves it to the Administration to decide where this new capability will reside.
Regardless of the new office location, many Gillibrand amendment provisions are critical if we are to make headway understanding this phenomenon. The Gillibrand amendment:
Authorizes already appropriated space defense and intelligence funds to be used for UAP-related activities. Hence, while OSD continues ineffectually shuffling paper as they have been for years, action-oriented organizations with funding, contracting authority, and technical expertise can begin working. Is the OSD staff going to identify the most telling UAP signatures for DoD and IC systems to search for? Clearly not, that expertise resides in organizations like NRO and the SSDP. This authority gives DoD and its components much-needed flexibility so they don’t have to wait another year to get moving.
Requires the development and implementation of a plan for collection and analysis. The current approach is equivalent to saying, “Let’s monitor Chinese weapons development by ensuring any random detection of Chinese missiles or aircraft is duly reported." This is obviously a passive, ineffectual approach. At a minimum, Congress should require any successor to the UAP Task Force to develop the science and collection and analysis plans called for by the Gillibrand amendment. That simply needs to be done.
The Gillibrand amendment would maintain the requirement for unclassified UAP reporting, a huge plus for transparency and accountability. It would be shameful to retreat from the recent progress that has been made in providing sunlight and transparency for the taxpayer. Visibility ensures accountability.
The Gillibrand amendment builds bridges to the scientific community. This is a win-win for science and DoD.
It directs the UAP Task Force or its successor to examine closely related technical issues such as non-combustion propulsion and the physical effects that can result from close proximity exposure to UAP. These efforts can contribute substantially to our understanding of the phenomenon.
As a former OSD staffer myself, I'm shocked that the DepSecDef would assign the UAP function to an oversight staff with no UAP funding, line authority, contracting, command or technical capabilities. Indeed, the inability of USDI to engage effectively on the UAP issue is why so little has changed or been accomplished since 2004.
However, this is a great opportunity for you to lead, to incorporate the best of the Gillibrand amendment, and gather the Senate behind you with legislation that can ensure genuine progress and possibly an enormous breakthrough in the months and years ahead.
Many thanks for your leadership and your consideration of my views. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
Sincerely and respectfully,
Christopher K. Mellon