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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Mellon

Statement For the Press and Public Regarding Recent UAP Shoot-downs

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

It is important for the public to understand the larger context of the events of the last 10 days involving the shoot-down of unidentified objects over U.S. and Canadian airspace.

These reported UAP incidents are only a small part of a much larger failure on the part of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Consider the following:

On October 4, 2017, Luis Elizondo resigned his position on the staff of the Secretary of Defense in protest over the failure to report or investigate UAP violating restricted U.S. airspace. This occurred after we had spent months working to alert senior officials and get them to take action regarding UAP violating restricted military airspace. Most of these incursions were not slow, high-flying objects, but craft operating at much higher speeds at much lower elevation in much closer proximity to U.S. forces and facilities. Notably, many of these objects appeared to exhibit performance characteristics that are far more impressive and concerning than any of the objects recently downed by the U.S. Air Force.

In his letter, Elizondo stated:

“Despite overwhelming evidence at both the unclassified and classified levels, certain individuals in the Department remain staunchly opposed to further research on what could be a tactical threat to our pilots, sailors, and soldiers, and perhaps even an existential threat to our national security.”


Frustrated and concerned that this vital information was being ignored, and not knowing what else to do, I contacted the New York Times and provided them the now Famous “Flir” and “Gimbal” videos as well as introducing the reporters to Mr. Elizondo. To my mind, what was occurring was reminiscent of elements of both Pearl Harbor and September 11, 2001: Unidentified aircraft were being detected but no warning information was being sent up the chain of command. At the same time, it was clear that each of the services and many of the intelligence agencies had UAP information they were not sharing with one another (e.g. NRO, DIA, CIA, NGA, NSA, Army, Navy, Air Force, DOE, etc.).

When the New York Times story of Dec 16, 2017 failed to enervate Congress to engage on the issue, I contacted some former colleagues on the staff of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, introducing them to Mr. Elizondo. Subsequently, we facilitated introductions to a handful of brave U.S. Navy aviators willing to speak out, including Cmdr. Dave Fravor and Lt. Ryan Graves and Lt. Alex Dietrich, who were able to provide compelling first-hand testimony about the extent of the UAP issue. The Navy was notably helpful while the Air Force remained notably unhelpful, if not hostile, to inquiries on the subject.

The extent of the UAP activity over restricted military airspace revealed by Navy aviators was staggering. Lt. Graves indicated that he and his colleagues encountered UAP nearly every time they conducted training in restricted airspace off the East Coast of the United States, not far from major U.S. population centers and the National Capitol Region. The activity was so prolific that signs were posted at one Navy base warning aviators of the potential for mid-air collisions with these unidentified aircraft. Indeed, there was a near mid-air collision with a UAP that was formally and officially reported. Information subsequently provided to Congress acknowledges 11 near mid-air collisions with UAP by military aircraft since 2004.

Discussions with the Intelligence and Armed Services committee staff led to a request by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for a formal DNI report on the UAP issue. The resulting preliminary assessment delivered in June of 2021 identified 143 military UAP incidents since 2004. More than half the incidents were validated by multiple sources. Although a striking number, it was but a fraction of the actual total. Fearing it might damage their careers, reporting UAP encounters was until very recently always the exception rather than the rule among military personnel. Even among the civilian populace, we know that 90% of the time UAP sightings are not reported. Notably, USAF F-22’s were operating in the same training areas as the Navy aviators, yet, despite having superior sensor systems, they were not reporting UAP that must have been detected by their radars. In fact, the preliminary assessment provided to Congress was almost completely devoid of information from the U.S. Air Force despite the fact that the Air Force (as a department which also oversees U.S. Space Force) has far more aircraft and sensor systems than the Navy as well as the responsibility for supporting NORAD. It is my understanding that NORAD did not include in the ODNI report any of the thousands of “Uncorrelated Tracks” that its radars identify each year over North America. To be sure, most are flocks of geese or private planes with malfunctioning transponders etc., but there are also more serious cases that the Air Force did not report, including, it now seems, cases where U.S. and/or Canadian Air Forces scrambled fighter aircraft to intercept UAP.

By last May, when the House Intelligence Committee held an open public hearing on the UAP issue the number of official UAP reports had climbed to 400. More recently, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence submitted a new unclassified report on UAP indicating that it had succeeded in characterizing 195 of 510 UAP incidents. However, the residual number of unexplained UAP incidents remains in excess of 300, again not including NORAD uncorrelated targets or undersea anomalies or anomalies in space. Many of us researching the UAP issue believe the government has data regarding UAP in the oceans and space that it still has not shared with Congress or the public.

As the oversight committees in Congress began to hear from more witnesses and dutifully investigate more leads, their concerns increased. So much so that last year Senators and Congressmen from both parties, in both the House and Senate, united in passing truly extraordinary legislation in last year’s defense bill. It is to their great credit that the members did so on a fully bipartisan basis despite the lingering stigma and mockery surrounding the topic of what we once called UFOs.

This is arguably the biggest story mainstream news organizations have ever failed to cover. Among other things, this fully bipartisan legislation:

1. Provides greatly enhanced authorities and resources for the ‘All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office’ or ‘(AARO),’ which now reports directly to the leaders of the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community. The organization’s unusual name is intended to clarify that its purview extends to anomalous objects regardless of their location (i.e. land, air, undersea, or space).

2. Mandates a review of all intelligence documents involving UAP from 1945 to the present.

3. Requires DoD, DHS, and the IC to identify any non-disclosure agreements related to UAP and provide those to the new AARO office.

4. Directs the new AARO office to develop a UAP science plan to assess the sometimes mysterious and mind-bending capabilities being reported as well as a collection plan to leverage America’s vast technical intelligence apparatus to determine where these objects are coming from and their capabilities and intent. This aggressive UAP investigation, using America’s unparalleled intelligence capabilities, is precisely what is needed to solve the UAP mystery.

5. Provides a secure process for anyone who has signed an official U.S. government secrecy agreement related to UAP to come forward and reveal that information to AARO and to Congress, regardless of the level of classification, without fear of retribution or prosecution. This provision is intended to determine the veracity of longstanding allegations indicating that the U.S. government has recovered extraterrestrial technology and perhaps even extraterrestrial beings. How is that not newsworthy? The alleged UAP crash in 1947 near Roswell, New Mexico, offers the most famous example, but there are many others.

If it seems unbelievable that Congress would pass such legislation, it is only because of the paucity of reporting on the UAP issue by leading news outlets. The facts were evidently sufficient to cause members of both parties in Congress to join together to support these unprecedented provisions. Members of Congress do not take such actions lightly. The lack of media coverage of the UAP issue and Congressional UAP legislation is now causing many to view the incidents of the last few days as something sudden, new and different, perhaps even shocking, when in fact Congress, to its great credit, has been keenly aware of the issue the last few years and has been taking extraordinary steps to get the Intelligence Community and DoD to reveal what it knows and diligently investigate these prolific intrusions into some of the nation’s most sensitive restricted airspace (e.g. test ranges, airbases, nuclear facilities, etc.)

I very much doubt any of the objects recently brought down by the U.S. Air Force have an extraterrestrial connection. Most are probably balloons. However, the object that reportedly interfered with U.S. fighters over Alaska is highly unusual and may prove to be a Russian or Chinese electronic warfare or spy platform. Or perhaps, albeit highly unlikely, a probe placed by an alien species. Although most UAP likely have conventional explanations, some demonstrate capabilities that seem inexplicable without reference to a more advanced nation or civilization.

As astonishing as the extraterrestrial hypothesis may seem, the idea of intelligent machines plying the oceans of space is neither new nor surprising to many scientists. I have the pleasure of supporting Harvard’s Galileo Project for example, led by Dr. Avi Loeb who argues in his book Extraterrestrial that the unusual properties of the interstellar object Oumuamua are best explained by the hypothesis it was a piece of alien hardware, perhaps an interstellar probe.

As long ago as the 1950s, the brilliant scientist John Von Neumann postulated that advanced civilizations might dispatch intelligent, self-replicating probes to explore the galaxy. With billions of potentially habitable planets basting in a soup of organic molecules and energy for over 10 billion years, there is certainly ample opportunity for numerous advanced civilizations to deploy intelligent machines that would not care how long it took them to reach distant star systems.

In conclusion, since WWII, there have been hundreds of thousands of civilian reports of UAP and hundreds if not thousands of military reports as well. It is also a global phenomenon, as John Kirby recently acknowledged at a White House press briefing.

There have long been credible reports of anomalous objects in the air, and if our government had loosened the radar filters five or ten years ago we might well have seen as many strange things in our skies as we have the last ten days. Moreover, drones and UAVs are playing an increasingly critical role in the war in the Ukraine as they did in the victory by Azerbaijan over Armenia. We cannot responsibly ignore these trends. We must start looking more broadly and investigating UAP more diligently. We have already had one unpleasant discovery, and we may have more to come, but we are better and safer for it.

The good news is that awareness is rising regarding the UAP issue and we have not yet suffered any acts of kinetic aggression or hostility from UAP. The public should be more relieved than alarmed as we are finally taking the steps necessary to more effectively defend and control U.S. airspace. If one or more of these UAP ultimately do prove to be alien, that revelation could also actually work to the advantage of our species. As Ronald Reagan once opined in front of the UN General Assembly:

Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps, we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?”

This may prove to be a Sputnik moment for America. Sputnik led to the space race and ultimately our landing on the moon. It also eventually led to cooperation in space among the world’s leading powers. Accelerating our efforts to uncover the true nature of UAP is long overdue and once again it has the prospect to lead to breakthroughs that benefit mankind.


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