Slow progress in new Pentagon UFO office annoys legislators

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

When we last checked in on the Pentagon’s new UFO investigative office, the AOIMSG (Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group), the congressionally ordered office was supposedly on the way to being up and running. Their target for full operational status is next month. They’ve been collecting the old UFO data from AATIP and the UAP Task Force, along with new reports coming in from our various military branches and other intelligence agencies. They were also tasked with providing fresh classified briefings to the members of the appropriate committees in the House and Senate, generally, the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, though others are involved. Those briefings have been taking place as required and the few hints we’ve received from those familiar with the matter suggest that the members of Congress have been seeing some amazing things.

But not everyone is happy with the pace of this process or with the thoroughness of the intelligence reports they are receiving. At Politico, Bryan Bender has been speaking with staffers for some of the key legislators driving this effort and some of them are publicly expressing frustration with the perceived lack of progress. All of the actual data they are being shown remains classified, of course, but the members asked for more information than just more reports of individual encounters.

Lawmakers receiving the latest secret briefings on UFOs say national security agencies still aren’t taking seriously the reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin violating protected airspace.

Members of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees received classified progress reports in recent weeks on a series of new data collection efforts the Pentagon and spy agencies are now required to pursue to more rigorously investigate reports of UFOs, three people with direct knowledge confirmed.

But some leading sponsors of recent legislation want more analysts and surveillance systems dedicated to determining the aircrafts’ origin — and not just more reports of their existence.

One of the legislators who are particularly interested in seeing a greater sense of urgency from the intelligence agencies and the military is New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. As you may recall, she was the author of what came to be known as the Gillibrand Amendment to the Defense Authorization Act which spurred the creation of the new office and outlined its goals and methods. One of her aides told Politico that Gillibrand “believes that the DoD needs to take this issue much more seriously and get in motion.” She also insisted that they also need to demonstrate that they are prepared to deal with the UAP issue “in the long-term.”

Gillibrand is one of the members who has been in on all of the classified briefings and whatever it is that she’s been shown, it has instilled a sense of urgency in her. She has been riding herd on this project, going so far as to assign a nominee for a new Inspector General position homework, telling him he would need to come up to speed quickly if if he expected to receive her vote for his confirmation.

One of her primary complaints, shared by other leaders in this effort including Marco Rubio and Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee, is that the updates they have been receiving are primarily just more individual sightings. Having already been convinced that the UFOs exist, the committee members want to see more data of different types, including increased satellite monitoring time and radar returns, along with video and human intelligence and have that data correlated.

They want the Pentagon to determine where these objects show up most frequently and determine more about their operational characteristics. That’s in keeping with the mandates included in the law that created the new office. One of the more shocking aspects of the law essentially ordered the creation of a UFO reverse engineering program.

Overall, it sounds like progress is being made, but it’s good to know that Congress is staying on top of this and cracking the whip. There are still concerns that some in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies are not being as fully forthcoming as they need to be. That may have included former Director for Defense Intelligence Garry Reid, who was recently removed from his position. That may have been at least in part because of his reluctance to deal with the UAP issue, along with various other problems. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates as they become available.