On Aug 14, 2020 the US Dept of Defense issued the following press release concerning a new UFO Task Force …
On Aug. 4, 2020, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF). The Department of the Navy, under the cognizance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, will lead the UAPTF.
The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.
As DOD has stated previously, the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern. The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.
Well yes, they did not use the term UFO, but instead went with Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). Their term refers to exactly the same thing.
I get why they ducked the “UFO” term. It carries a lot of cultural baggage and immediately brings to mind the idea of “aliens”.
Is the Department of Defense Alien hunting?
As a brief bit of recent history, the DoD released three unclassified Navy videos on April 27. In response to that the Senate Intelligence Committee voted in June to require U.S. intelligence agencies and the DoD to compile an unclassified report covering all data collected on “unidentified aerial phenomenon,” … hence this task force.
What the DoD is truly interested in is this …
- Instrumental “funnies” in new sensory technology.
- Interference by hackers messing with military sensory technology.
- Documenting unintended exposure of highly classified operations
- Documenting intrusion into our airspace by foreign powers
- Use of the UFO mythology to camouflage and mask classified operations
There are very good reasons to document and investigate sightings that have nothing to do with “aliens”.
What do we know?
Our culture is crammed full of UFO lore and mythology. We are awash with many claims, yet we also lack any solid evidence.
There are a few rather telling observations regarding it all.
What the public claim and describe appears to keep pace with fiction. The “flying saucer” concept appears within the fantasy artwork of the 1930s pulp science fiction magazines. A decade later people start claiming to have actually seen them. The first was the highly publicized sighting by Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947.
Over the decades the reports have evolved, the nature of it all has been changing. It keeps an uncanny pace with the progress in human observation and detection technologies. Older variations fade just as new technology become available to create solid robust proof, and new variations instead pop up to replace them to exactly match something that is just beyond the limits of our ability to robustly document.
Our Pattern Seeking Engine
Sitting between your ears is a pattern seeking engine. If anybody is going to truly claim “alien” then they really do need to robustly eliminate other possibilities such as aircraft from an odd angle, experimental military aircraft, balloons including sky lanterns, satellites, and astronomical objects such as meteors, bright stars and planets. There are of course also hoaxes to contend with.
It is perhaps part of the human experience for some things to find a natural balance between being convincing enough to persuade those that believe, but just not enough to persuade those that do not believe.
For example miracle claims. Vague and elusive subjective cures abound, for example back pain. Something truly dramatic such as growing back a missing leg never happens. Rinse and repeat for many other claims such as ghosts, bigfoot, psychic abilities, political claims such as QAnon, conspiracy claims such as 9/11, and of course UFOs.
Talk to a true believer and you will encounter an individual who is sincerely and truly convinced. Explore the evidence that convinces them and what you will find is something that is just not robust, but instead often falls apart when examined. “Ah but there is lots of other evidence” you might be advised. “Show me the very best most convincing“, you ask. What you then get is more of the same vague stuff usually unverifiable and just a step over the horizon. The aroma of this might indeed convince a true believer, but for the unpersuaded, who prefer to suspend belief until there is a good reason to believe, it is simply not enough.
The key to it is the term “unidentified”. Something was seen, we don’t know what it is, it has not been clearly identified. If in the end we fail to identify what it was then the default answer is not “aliens”, but rather is the far simpler but unsatisfying conclusion that we don’t know.
It perhaps tells us a great deal about human psychology, and not very much about what is actually real.