Sunday, 21 February 2016

Significant Release Of Never-Before-Seen Australian Government UFO Policy.... 

And Get Excited.... Because Some Of It Is Still Classified 

Part 4   


I have been recently reporting on the release of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) policy material which concerned the cancelling of Australia’s official 40 year acceptance and study of UFO reports. My work can be found in three previous parts: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3. At the end of Part 3, I wrote:

“I could continue providing textual transcription and imagery of this significant piece of Australian DoD history, but this series needs to be finalized, and anyone who wants to study the records provided to me merely needs to ask. It is absolutely worth other researchers having a look at this material. I have taken much away from these records, and, if nothing else, it proves that the RAAF can locate and prepare 20 year old records with what appeared to me to be relative ease. Also, in regards to the redactions of text found in this release, on the 17th of January, 2016, I appealed the DoD’s FOI decision makers and asked for the blacked-out text to be released in full. I expect an answer by February’s end.”

And that is where, even considering my appeal for redacted (blacked-out), I believed the matter would probably end. Gut instinct told me, on this occasion, that the Department of Defence (DoD) and its Freedom of Information (FOI) branch, had provided me with what I wanted, and that the sections of redacted text would stay like that until I revisited the issue in years to come.

To my surprise, I was quite wrong.

The DoD have not only released most of the records with far fewer redactions, they’ve done so without cost and at an impressive pace.

First though, some brief background. In 1994 the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) official policy of accepting and investigating UFO sightings, or “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS), was downgraded to almost no policy whatsoever. I knew there would be a paper trail (beyond what was already released years ago) that accompanied this change in RAAF stance. In September, 2015, under the FOI Act, I submitted a request to the DoD for any such material. They issued me 42 pages of never-before-seen administrative records from that time. Now, as stated above, some of the portions they decided to redact, have been released.

On the 16th of Feburary, 2016, I received new copies of the documents I had secured last year, and I’d am happy to highlight the differences between them.  Wg. Cdr. Brett Biddington’s had written a draft discussion paper containing background information and suggestions. It contained background information on the RAAFs limited investigation of UFO’s, suggestions for the future, the implementation of the cancellation, etc. One of the heavily redacted sections of this draft document was Paragraph 4 on Page 2. I have used X’s to indicate redactions. It stated:

“4.  (S)  In the past, responsibility for UAS has allowed X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X   The most recent example known to me occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X”

Compare that to the substantially more released passage of text:

“4.  (S)  In the past, responsibility for UAS has allowed X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X  acting on  X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X to locate pieces of space junk of high intelligence interest. The most recent example known to me occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland on the lookout for pieces of X X X X X  that failed to achieve its correct trajectory. This work may become relatively more important in future if regional nations move to develop and acquire medium and long range SSMs.”

In my Part 1 of this series I stated that I believed that the redacted material probably related to the RAAF taking advantage of civilian UFO reporting to attempt to find manmade space junk that had re-entered and touched down on the Australian mainland. And it turns out I was right, but that clearly wasn’t the whole story, as we can see some interest in the nabbing of downed or errant “SSMs” (Surface-to-Surface Missiles) from neighboring countries. Despite this need, UAS policy was in the process of being cancelled, so the RAAF were obviously relying on other means to find landed missiles that may startlingly impact within our shores. Maybe I should submit an FOI request to them for an update on that little matter too. Also, the above newly visible text still contains two sections that are blacked out. I suspect that the first passages of still-redacted material may relate time-critical, rapid reaction advice the USA which could aid us in pinpointing where important space junk has come down. The section, small redacted text surely relates to a specific re-entry of a known space launch effort. The two pages that contain the above now–released text are imaged below.



In looking at the above image, there is another section that has been unredacted. Paragraph 7, Page 3, was originally furnished to me like this:

“7.   (S)  I think that an extra-terrestrial threat to Australian security is not likely to develop without some foreknowledge from astronomical and other surveillance systems. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X  The means by which such searches might be conducted are numerous and will vary with particular circumstances.”

Compare that to the now unredacted version:

“7.   (S)  I think that an extra-terrestrial threat to Australian security is not likely to develop without some foreknowledge from astronomical and other surveillance systems. It is not possible to determine how space junk of intelligence interest should be handled in future but the requirement to search for particular items in secrecy cannot be entirely ignored. The means by which such searches might be conducted are numerous and will vary with particular circumstances.”

I had, previously, postulated that the redacted text here related to Australia’s then new Jindalee Over-the-Horizon Radar Network (JORN), and, thus, a reference to it being able to track any incoming craft from space – however unlikely. I was wrong, as the now released text clearly shows. The most interesting issue to arise from this now readable passage is that the Australian DoD may still not have an official, probably–classified program that would be enacted should unknown or unexpected space junk land here. It is an issue I have looked at before. Currently, the Attorney Generals Department’s Emergency Management Australia (EMA) maintains the “Australian Contingency Plan for Space Re-entry Debris” (AUSCONPLAN-SPRED) for unforeseen events, especially when the offending debris is suspected be radioactive. Within AUSCONPLAN-SPRED the DoD, including the RAAF, does provide transport and logistical support to Australian Space Debris Emergency Search Teams (ASDEST). I am currently re–visiting that matter, which will be worthy of a full report.

Moving on to Wg. Cdr. Brett Biddington’s final draft, which was routed to the Chief of Air Staff, contains some of the same passages of text as the draft copy. As of my appeal, the final draft is nearly readable. Imaged below is Page 3, which mimics some of the above mentioned text and topics.


Finally, there is one more passage of formally redacted text that the DoD have mostly released. On Page 6 of Biddington’s final draft, we read this:

“….followed and cannot be sustained. In the past, UAS has provided evidence of human activities of interest to the RAAF X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Should unambiguous extra-terrestrial contact with earth occur (which may or may not be associated with UAS), however remote that possibility might be, levels of organization well beyond the RAAF will be interested and involved. Should the RAAF be required respond, how we do so will be defined not by extant UAS policy but by instructions from Government. It follows that there is no valid reason for the RAAF to retain a formal interest in UAS.”

The unredacted copy says this:

“….followed and cannot be sustained. In the past, UAS has provided evidence of human activities of interest to the RAAF and X X X X X our interest in particular events. Should unambiguous extra-terrestrial contact with earth occur (which may or may not be associated with UAS), however remote that possibility might be, levels of organization well beyond the RAAF will be interested and involved. Should the RAAF be required respond, how we do so will be defined not by extant UAS policy but by instructions from Government. It follows that there is no valid reason for the RAAF to retain a formal interest in UAS.”

See that?  “….interest to the RAAF and X X X X X our interest in particular events..” . They’ve released most of it, but the key word(s) remains hidden. What could such a line really say? I had thought the word “cemented” fits in there, which would translate that RAAF thinking had established that finding intact space junk was significantly important. This is not the first time such a notion has been seen, and can be found very briefly raised in RAAF UAS policy files from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Or, my inputting of the word “cemented” could be entirely wrong, and a different word with different connotations may be sitting under all that infuriating dark ink. I have imaged this page below.


Quite a lot can be taken from this FOI appeals exercise. Firstly, some of you will notice that the few remaining redactions faintly contain the FOI Act’s “s33(a)(ii)” exemption. This translates as “Documents Affecting the Defence of the Commonwealth”. Secondly, the success of this appeals process demonstrates that our DoD is prepared to fairly assess issues when they are raised. More importantly, the release of all this 1994 policy cancellation material indeed shows us that, as the 1980’s became the 1990’s, the RAAF’s weakening UAS investigative function had less to do with actually investigating UFO reports on a case–by–case basis, and more to do with closing down what was an already directionless effort. Also, continuing awareness about unexpected space junk events was obviously expanding to include foreign missile activity encroaching here too. One wonders if these issues made their way into dedicated and active projects or programs distinct from Emergency Management’s AUSCONPLAN-SPRED efforts. Finally, more can be learnt from these papers. There may actually be even more there. What box did these come from? How were they filed? It will be worth me asking Defence FOI some more pointed questions. Because you just never know……

Friday, 12 February 2016

United States Air Force Continues To Duck And Weave Over UFO Reporting


There are some new leads regarding the mysterious removal of special UFO reporting procedures from official United States Air Force (USAF) doctrine. In October, 2011 Lee Speigel of the Huffington Post published an article titled “Air Force UFO Rules Vanish After Huffington Post Inquiry”. The opening sentence stated:

“The military deleted a passage about unidentified flying objects from a 2008 Air Force personnel manual just days after The Huffington Post asked Pentagon officials about the purpose of the UFO section.”

As suspiciously coincidental as it sounds – and it is a bit coincidental for my liking – I’ll mostly focus on what we know, as opposed to what we suspect.

The deleted material in question is none-other than the good old “CIRVIS” instructions, or, “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings”. These are the very same procedural reporting guidelines that have been promulgated within the United States military since the 1950’s. CIRVIS reporting procedures demand the timely reporting of “Unidentified Flying Objects” by military and civilian pilots, as well as other members of the United States armed forces. In fact, the first procedural doctrine that CIRVIS reporting procedures appeared in was JANAP 146(A), or, “Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146(A)”. Ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) back in 1954, JANAP 146 continued to be promulgated and amended until 1975. By then, the publication was up to the “E” version, or JANAP 146(E), and it continued to contain the infamous CIRVIS chapter with “Unidentified Flying Objects” listed right there alongside, but distinct from, “Unidentified Aircraft”, “Missiles”, etc.

In May 1996, the JANAP 146(E) doctrine was replaced, partly, by a new set of guidelines titled “Air Force Manual 10-206 Operational Reporting” (AFM 10-206) The earliest version I have on file was disseminated by the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF) on the 7th of March, 2000. CIRVIS procedures are laid out in Chapter 5, pages 39 to 41, and, just in case there is any doubt, point 5.7.3. states “Report the following specific sightings.”. Point 5.7.3.3. states just three words: “Unidentified flying objects”. A newer version of the publication was disseminated on the 15th of October, 2008 and was upgraded to an Instruction, rather than a Manual. The title was, thus, “Air Force Instruction 10-206 Operational Reporting” (AFI 1-206) and, again, Chapter 5, CIRVIS reporting is laid out as clearly as ever. Then, in 2011, CIRVIS – and let’s not forget what it stands for: “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings” – vanished. A new version of AFI 1-206, dated 6th September, 2011, superseded the 2008 edition, but was massively reduced in scope and size, including the removal of CIRVIS procedures, and thus, a channel for reporting UFO’s. 

This raises somewhat pressing questions, even awkward ones.

As stated above, the timing of all this business was suspicious: The Huffington Post had just lined up a date with a USAF official at the Pentagon to discuss CIRVIS procedures, particularly UFO’s. It does seem rather extraordinary that the very week a media platform makes serious enquiries into a specific area of on-going controversy and airborne national security, the very material to be discussed is deleted from militarily critical USAF doctrine. On the other hand, I am very conscious of the fact that hefty changes to military publications take months or years from the end-to-end proposal stage to final implementation: There are commander’s briefs to be reviewed; administrative drafts of the new material have to be written; discussion papers and position statements are collated for evaluation, and so forth. In other words, the removal of an entire chapter of a current USAF Instruction should be achieved through procedural bureaucracy, which, by very definition, is slow. This would be a good argument that the USAF had not removed the CIRVIS procedures due to the Huffington Post baring down on them. 

Possibly more crucial are the questions of: Why have CIRVIS reporting procedures been removed? What, if anything, replaced them? And who ordered their removal?

This is where dogged British researcher David Charmichael stepped in. David and I have as many as twenty FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) being processed by branches of the US government at any one time. 2013 and 2014 were no exception. At this time, David submitted FOI requests asking for records regarding both the removal of CIRVIS from the Instruction, and actual reports of UFO’s submitted using CIRVIS procedures. In regards to raw CIRVIS reports, it is important to be aware that North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is the prime recipient when a CIRVIS report is made. Apparently, all CIRVIS reports end up there, or, are held briefly by regional Air Operations Center’s (AOC) on NORAD-dedicated systems as needed. Researchers have learnt that raw CIRVIS reports may not be kept anywhere on file for any longer than a few months, though we wonder if we are being told the truth on that little matter. Even armed with that knowledge, David took a punt on asking the USAF for actual CIRVIS reports, and of course was told they do not hold them. Simultaneously, David asked NORAD for copies of CIRVIS reports, and was giving the standard NORAD-exemption answer:

“NORAD as a bi-national organization is not subject to FOIA. No search of records will be conducted.”

While this charade was going on David was also submitting FOI requests to USAF Headquarters asking for records relating to the removal of CIRVIS from “Air Force Instruction 10-206 Operational Reporting” and it is here that some progress was made. Initially, the USAF came back with the worn out “No Records” response. How can the world’s most advanced Air Force not have any records related to a significant change in vital doctrine? Not one memorandum? Not one Commander’s brief? Hogwash. David appealed vehemently on the 5th of February, 2014 and also asked for “all records created in the course of handling” his previous FOI requests on the CIRVIS conundrum. Finally, the USAF came back with a number of documents. Of these, there was a completed Headquarters, Department of the Air Force “NO RECORDS SEARCH STATEMENT – RECORDS SEARCH – (UNIY)” form. It discusses how USAF staff came to the conclusion they didn’t have hold any CIRVIS reports, which, in ways, is related to the appeal discussed here. The actual area of the USAF that conducted searches is listed as “AF/A30-AC”. In the section that asks “Include rationale for ‘no record’ response” the following is stated:

“When submitted these reports were drafted by individual Command Post throughout the Air Force and were only transmitted to NORAD Command Center. No reports were transmitted to HQ Air Force per AFI 10-206 chapter 5, para 6.6.1 dated 15 October 2008. When 10-206 was re-written on 6 September 2011 the CIRVIS report was deleted because NORAD no longer required the report”

The form is dated August, 21, 2013. The above statement certainly confirms that “Air Force Instruction 10-206 Operational Reporting” was “re-written” when Huffington Post was in the throes of questioning the USAF head-on. Does “re-written” mean the Instruction was literally re-written on the 6th of September, 2011? If so, that flies in the face of what is supposed to happen with military doctrine. However, “re-written” could easily be a lazy way of saying “implemented”. The actual document is below.


Furthermore, the above document came with a covering email dated August 22nd, 2013 and stated, in part:

“Attached is A3/5 no record forms for FOIA 2013-05230-F.

Note: CIRVIS no longer exists and has been eliminated from the instruction. There is currently no affiliation with CIRVIS and AFI 10-206.”

I have imaged the document below.


Finally, another document released to David was a copy of a “Consolidated Resolution Matrix” for “Air Force Instruction 10-206 Operational Reporting”. Without going into unnecessary detail, this document is a tabulated database matrix of items contained in the Instruction, and is updated when changes, additions or deletions are made to the contents of the Instruction. In the section regarding CIRVIS, the “Comments” column states:

“Remove non-1C3 AFSC reporting items not required by CJCS or CSAF. Reports including REPOL, MEDREP, CIRVIS are reports owned by Logistics, Medical and NORTHCOM respectively and do not involve 1C3 action of CJCS or CSAF notification. CIRVIS in particular is no longer required.”

In the “Rationale” column it is stated:

“The valid reporting processes need to be absorbed by their functional areas (Logistics and Medical). CIRVIS no longer exists.”

Though these short declarations don’t tell us why CIRVIS reporting of UFO’s, or anything else in the air that shouldn’t be there, were removed, they do confirm a few things. One, is that the US’s mighty Unified Combatant Command NORTHCOM (Northern Command) “owns” CIRVIS reports. For the uninitiated, NORTHCOM, controls NORAD – the ultimate destination for reports of aerial oddities, which is of course is what UFO researchers have been saying for years. As for a date – and much of the reason we are doing this is to find out when the removal decisions were being made – the USAF hasn’t actually still provided us anything! You heard that right! In all these background documents, there isn’t yet a date given confirming when CIRVIS was being given the boot, thus we cannot confirm Lee Speigel’s theory that shenanigans were going on when he was about to sit them down and get some answers. However, there is one piece of information that may be telling. The above mentioned matrix was emailed to David Charmichael in Adobe PDF form, and the actual file title was “AFI 10-206 – MAJCOM Consolidated Matrix Inputs-3digit – 2010.pdf”. Note the “2010”. Does this mean that the CIRVIS removal was already in progress in 2010 but not yet published? Could it be nothing to do with the year 2010, and just some number related to something else? Or, maybe, just maybe, could it be a ploy by USAF staff to throw researchers off, even for a laugh. Below is an image of the above mentioned matrix.


Whatever the true situation, there is much more here to be discovered. One of the most puzzling questions, to me, is this: Do the USAF actually want to be buried in FOI requests? Is the release of more satisfactory information so bloody tough for them that they are prepared to gamble that we will drop the matter? David and I submit FOI requests all day long, and there is nothing that will change that, especially on a matter as grave as the urgent reporting of UFO’s by combat pilots and the like.  Finally, Lee Spiegels original Huffington Post article can be found here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/air-force-deletes-ufo-rep_n_982128.html

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Significant Release Of Never-Before-Seen Australian Government UFO Policy.... 

And Get Excited.... Because Some Of It Is Still Classified 

Part 3   


          Some of you will be aware that in 1994 the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) official policy of accepting and investigating UFO sightings, or “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS) as they called them, was massively downgraded to almost nothing at all. I knew there would be a paper trail (beyond what was already released years ago) which hadn’t been appraised before. In September, 2015, using the powerful Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, I submitted a detailed request to the Department of Defence (DoD) for any material that “went into” this policy downgrade. They issued me, at some cost, 42 pages of never-before-seen administrative records from that era. This is the third and final Part of this series. For those who wish to start from the beginning, have a look at Part 1 and Part 2.

Beyond what I have highlighted previously, there are some more records that are of some interest. A three page “Message Form” dated 24th December, 1993 was sent to six “Air Indicator Groups” (AIG). An AIG is a list of preset destinations for internal message routing. This particular message was titled “Unusual Aerial Sightings: Revised Policy” and had a file reference 138/93/DGPP. DGPP stands for Director General of Plans and Policy. The author was Air Commodore S. T. James who was DGPP for the RAAF in 1993 and 1994. Page 1 of the message states:

“1.          RECENTLY CAS REVIEWED RAAF POLICY REGARDING UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS (UAS). THE REVISED POLICY FOLLOWS.

FOR MANY YEARS THE RAAF HAS BEEN FORMALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HANDLING UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS (UAS) AT THE OFFICIAL LEVEL. CONSIDERATION OF THE SCIENTIFIC RECORD SUGGESTS THAT, WHILST NOT ALL UAS HAVE A READY EXPLANATION, THERE IS NO COMPELLING REASON FOR THE RAAF TO CONTINUE TO DEVOTE RESOURCES TO RECORDING, INVESTIGATING AND ATTEMPTING TO EXPLAIN UAS.

THE RAAF NO LONGER ACCEPTS REPORTS ON UAS AND NO LONGER ATTEMPTS ASSIGNMENT OF CAUSE OR ALLOCATION OF RELIABILITY. MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY WHO SEEK TO REPORT A UAS TO RAAF PERSONNEL WILL BE REFERRED TO A CIVIL UFO RESEARCH ORGANISATION IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. KNOWN ORGANISATIONS ARE LISTED AT ANNEX A TO THIS POLICY.

SOME UAS MAY RELATE TO EVENTS THAT COULD HAVE A DEFENCE, SECURITY, OR PUBLIC SAFETY IMPLICATION, SUCH AS MAN-MADE DEBRIS FALLING FROM SPACE, A BURNING AIRCRAFT OR AN AIRCRAFT MAKING AN UNAUTHORISED INCURSION INTO AUSTRALIAN AIRSPACE. WHERE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY MAY HAVE WITNESSED AN EVENT OF THIS TYPE THEY ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONTACT THE POLICE, CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITIES OR COASTWATCH”

The message continues into Page 2 with a list known civilian UFO groups, which I won’t fully type out here. Page 3 finishes with:

“POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

2.          THE CHANGE IN POLICY WILL NOT BE PUBLICISED BY PRESS RELEASE. KNOWN UFO ORGANISATIONS WILL BE CONTACTED INDIVIDUALLY BY MAIL AND PROVIDED WITH A COPY OF THE NEW POLICY TOGETHER WITH A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THEM.

3.            A LONGER TERM TASK WILL BE TO CENTRALISE ALL SIGHTING RECORDS HELD BY RAAF AND TO PLACE THEM IN THE AUSTRALIAN ARCHIVES. THE PRIVACY IMPLICATIONS OF PLACING THE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES WILL NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD BEFORE THIS OCCURS.

4.           THE REVISED POLICY IS EFFECTIVE ON RECEIPT OF THIS MESSAGE.

5.           CONTACT OFFICER IS WGCDR B BIDDINGTON, AFPOL3, (06) 2652422”

I have imaged the above three pages below.




Another item which is of note is a reference copy of RAAF Headquarters document which forms a front cover sheet to the dry UAS Policy as it stood in 1984. Indeed, it was 1984 when the RAAF had last changed the policy when they made the decision to cease investigating any and all sighting submitted to them. Only sightings deemed of possible defence or security significance were to be studied. Anything less was simply logged, with a courtesy letter written to the witness. So, what did the 1984 policy look like when crammed into one page? Signed by Air Vice Marshal, J. W. Newman, who held the role of Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from 1984 to 1985, this outline of the 1984 UAS Policy states, in part:

“1.      Reference A raised the matter of problems associated with UAS investigation, and sought a revision of RAAF UAS policy and investigative procedures.

2.       Enclosure 1 states the amended RAAF policy on UAS. The essence of the policy change involves the Formation Intelligence Staff, in consultation with Command, ascertaining the defence or national security implication of a UAS report, and deciding if further investigation is warranted. This will decrease the number of UAS report.

3.       The press statement contained in Enclosure  2 is expected to be released shortly.  No public comment should be made prior to its release. Commands are not to implement the revised policy on UAS untill conformation of the press statement release has been made by message.

4.       Enclosure 3 lists various civilian research organizations associated with UAS and it would be prudent for Formation Intelligence Staff to obtain a list of organizations relevant to their locality, and offer these to the observer, of the RAAF has no interest in the UAS report.

5.       Command Air Staff Instructions should reflect the revised policy.”

Below is this important record.


I could continue providing textual transcription and imagery of this significant piece of Australian DoD history, but this series needs to be finalized, and anyone who wants to study the records provided to me merely needs to ask. It is absolutely worth other researchers having a look at this material. I have taken much away from these records, and, if nothing else, it proves that the RAAF can locate and prepare 20 year old records with what appeared to me to be relative ease. Also, in regards to the redactions of text found in this release, on the 17th of January, 2016, I appealed the DoD’s FOI decision makers and asked for the blacked-out text to be released in full. I expect an answer by February’s end.

Finally, one very last piece of history that I wish to share is a copy of the RAAF’s 6 page UAS Sightings Annex A, parts 1 and 2. Part 1 was the actual pro forma questionnaire for witnesses to fill out if they so wished; and Part 2 was the Unit Investigation form, which was a RAAF officer’s “investigation” working papers for any given case. These clean, blank forms are how they appeared in the 1980s and early 1990’s. See below.







Thursday, 4 February 2016

US Air Force Space Command Records Show Interest Over Famed    Australian Book


I didn’t envisage writing a piece that was essentially non-UFO related, but, I found something during the course of my research that was too hard to pass up. After the United States Air Force (USAF) shut down the deplorably under-resourced and uninterested investigative study of the UFO matter, there was left a hefty void. American civilians were left reporting serious events to private UFO groups, city police departments and sheriff’s offices, bemused aerodrome staff and other outfits who were unequipped to deal with anything that fell outside their immediate obligations. On the flipside, UFO reporting within military channels was buried underground and became shielded from pesky Congressmen and tabloid journalists – a spectacle that still goes on to this day. I believe that this issue – and not just in the USA, but throughout the western world – constitutes one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

It’s time to blow the lid on this charade, and I am doing just that.

This work has already begun in the form my “NORAD and the UFO Smokescreen” series, and a handful reports about the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) 41 Wing. This is the tip of a very large iceberg. I will, this year and next, be presenting all new findings regarding the old US Space Command (USSPACECOM); the current US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the respective Air Force, Army and Navy space components that make up its functionality, including the subordinate Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC-SPACE); the Fourteenth Air Force (14 AF)/Air Forces Strategic (AFSTRAT); the Federal Aviation Administration, and a lot more. To embark on any of this, one has to studiously search for official governmental records. One particular component of the USAF that is coming under my extreme scrutiny is Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). I will be dedicating entire blog pieces to AFSPC in due course. While searching through a well-hidden, on-line archive of military publications relating to US efforts in space, I came across what is known as a “History”. All military bodies – from mighty Unified Combatant Command’s down to small squadrons or companies – produce regular histories which contain generalised information spanning 2 or 6 months, or sometimes a year. These publications enclose broad budget and fiscal records, organisational diagrams, lists of visiting dignitaries, the implementation of new projects, special events, and such like. These publications are written by a resident historian or administrative committee, and are rarely classified very highly. Recently, I came across the 1987 History of the AFSPC, and it contains two pages that, while not related to the UFO matter, may be of considerable interest to a fair few Australian researchers of varying disciplines.

Who remembers the book “A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar” by Australian academic Desmond Ball? The book debated the risks of Australia hosting the USAF operated Nurrangar facility near Woomera. The base was a key US Defence Support Program (DSP) node until its closure in 1999. Politically, it became a symbol of US–Australian relations, attracting controversy year-in, year-out, and raised fears that the site would encourage a Soviet nuclear attack on Australian soil. Ball recommended either prompt closure of the Nurrungar facility, or, stringent conditions on its nuclear war-fighting role. With this in mind, I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when I stumbled across mention of Ball’s controversial book in the official 1987 AFSPC History. Feast your eyes on the below front cover.


The section realting to “A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar” by our man starts a third of the way down:

“1987 was an eventful year for the ground station network as it maintained a close watch on the sensor constellation, underwent technical upgrades, and weathered the winds of political contention at home and abroad. The OGS aroused sustained interest among both the command and its foreign hosts on several counts. In the early spring the Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) and Minister of Defence issued official statements regarding the evolution of the United States-Australian relationship in the joint management of Nurrangar and the other sites in the country. These documents, although uncritical of the American presence and missions in Australia, served as useful background to the discussion engendered by the 21 August release of Dr Desmond Ball’s study, A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar.

Dr Ball, an articulate critic of the American military presence in Australia, published A Base for Debate as a compilation of information about and a critique of Australia’s cooperation with the United States in operating the Joint Defence Space Communications Station (JDSCS) at Nurrangar and the United States DSP system. He concluded in his study that the Americans should be given notice that the facility at Nurrangar must be closed in 1989. This action should be taken because, in his view, DSP did not require an Australian ground station for its operation and because the system's capabilities were “increasingly extending further from the essentially unobjectionable mission of early warning to the support and enhancement of US nuclear war-fighting capabilities.” He went on to charge the Australian government with attempting to deceive the citizenry about the true nature of the operations conducted at Nurrangar.

Australian Minister of Defence Beazley respond to Ball’s charges in a television interview conducted on the same day as the book’s public release, defending both the legitimacy of the OGS mission and the Australian government’s role in it. Public interest was further piqued when the Canberra Times published a series of excerpts from the book over the period of 22-24 August. Minister of…”

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The next page, with “X X X X’s” representing national security redactions, continues:

“…Defence Beazley subsequently requested the assistance of the United States Department of Defence in framing an authoritative official response to Ball’s charges. Headquarters USAF Space Command DSC’s for Plans and Operations were involved in framing the American contribution to the document, which was planned for release to the Australian parliament in September. By that time public interest in the issue had begun to wane, and the Australian press was devoting more coverage to the possible linkage of trade negotiations and the joint defence facilities in negotiations with the United States and the continuing decline of the domestic “Peace” movement than to any sustained discussion of the Ball book. Despite the failure of the book to generate any groundswell of the public opinion against the presence of OGS, the command continued to weigh its options in retaining or discarding the installation as the DSP system evolved.

The big news at the OGS in 1987 was not the Ball book, but rather the conduct of the peripheral Upgrade Program (PUP). This technical upgrade replaced the computers, peripherals, display and display scoped at the facility while adding a new Satellite Operations Centre. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X. The PUP installation began at OGS on 12 April and was certified as completed and operational by the command on 25 September 1987. The upgrade process did have a major impact on the site’s daily operations, for it was allocated eight hours a day of downtime for operator/maintainer training and familiarization on the new equipment during the period of the upgrade’s installation, testing, and certification. This necessitated the deployment of a Mobile Ground Station to the SPS for an extended period to give that facility a “dual string” capability with which to control and monitor the DSP East sensor while the OGS was inoperative. (See the discussion which follows in this chapter.)”

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In a nutshell, while trawling thousands and thousands of pages of US records concerning space warfare, space object tracking, satellite decay, etc, for the sole purpose of finding unseen “UFO files” I discover the above AFSPC History discussing an amazing Australian! One really hopes that when a military historian or aerospace enthusiast is reading though decades old records relating to his or her field that they will publish any UFO-related material they find. So few people do what I do  ie scan boring paperwork for hours  that I know for a fact that we a missing vital finds. So… Who wants to do this kind of research? Lara Elliott does. She helped me with this blog piece while taking a break from supplying overlooked Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) UFO records to Fran Ridge’s NICAP effort. Lara – who is just 17 – also reads Ruppelt and Hynek while others grovel in youtube-hosted videos of plastic bags passed off as “scout ships”. So, if anyone wants to help us rummage through the archive (and there are others) where I found the above discussed material, here is the place: https://archive.org/details/MilitaryInSpace