Updated: Jul 20, 2021
The Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) welcomes the June 25, 2021 publication of the “Preliminary Assessment on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as a first step towards a more comprehensive approach by the federal government to understanding unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). We note that the assessment defines UAP broadly, including phenomena that both can and cannot be identified by conventional means, while that term (and its historical predecessor, “UFO”) is traditionally reserved by researchers exclusively for phenomena that cannot be identified with conventional means. This categorical difference between the broad understanding of UAP used in the assessment and the more rigorous understanding used by both the SCU and our partner organizations is a methodological point of departure that we hope can be resolved in future reports. Nevertheless, we are pleased to have confirmation of multi-sensor data, such as “radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapons seekers, and visual observation” on reported unusual UAP flight characteristics. According to the assessment, the federal government is in possession of such data from 80 of the 144 referenced UAP reports. These data can help corroborate similar UAP descriptions by U.S. military witnesses, such as speed, angle of bank, and acceleration, that are stated in our forensic studies on the 2004 USS Nimitz and 2013 Aguadilla UAP events. The SCU is disappointed by the omission of an unclassified, summarized description of these data related to at least some of the 80 referenced cases, and we reiterate our call for the release of these data in a manner that does not compromise national security so that the scientific community can better understand these phenomena. We applaud the recognition that additional scientific knowledge, including more advanced methods of data analysis and increased funding for scientific research, is required to better understand UAP.
Finally, we note the dramatic shift in perspective on the role of science in the study of UAP since the publication of the Condon Report in 1968, which was tasked with assessing the value of scientific UAP research. That report concluded that “…further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.” Although vastly different in scope and purpose, the ODNI “Preliminary Assessment on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” sends a very different message regarding the role of science in UAP research; “Although most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis, we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize some of them.”
The SCU remains open to collaboration with the federal government as part of the larger scientific community in our mission to seek scientific answers to UAP questions.