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42D AIR BASE WING (AETC) MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE ALABAMA
Major Becky M. Beers Commander, 42d Communications Squadron 170 W Selfridge Street Maxwell-Gunter A F B A L 3 6 1 1 2 - 6 6 1 0 Mr. Dustin J. Darcy Los Angeles, CA Dear Mr. Darcy
2 5 OCT 2012
We have processed your Freedom o f Information Act (FOIA) dated October 2, 2012, for a thesis from 1967 written by Air Command and Staff College student Major Ronald K. Dutton. In your email you indicated that you would accept all releasable information. We processed your request under both the Freedom o f Information Act and the Privacy Act. We reviewed 65 pages. All o f the releasable information responsive to your request is enclosed; however all third party information was removed. There is no charge for processing this request since assessable fees are less than $25.00. Sincerely
B E C K Y M. B E E R S , Major, U S A F Attachment Thesis (June 1967)
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE
3 9349 00627 AN A M LYSIS OF UNIDENTIFIED FLTING OBJECTS (UFO'S)
Ronald K. Dutton Major, USAF
A Thesis Submitted to the Air Command and Staff College of Air University in Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for Graduation
Thesis directed bj George K. Barsom, Lt Colonel, USA.F
AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA
DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
HEADQUARTERS AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE AL 36112-5001
REPLY T O A T T N OF:
Security & Policy
TO: AUL/LDEX The attached document
r/y^j fLf**?* (
" /r h
/PtOizfJ JC. S s / f a ^ j 190-1.
in accordance with AFR
AttN \j . R0D ' Chief Security & Policy
1 Atch Manuscript AU/PA 91 - 2 1 - 3
This study represents the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Air Command and Staff College, Air University, or the Department of the Air Force. This document is the property of the United States Government and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of the Commandant, Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
In the past twenty years, the sitting of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) has created an aura of mystery and caused widespread concern among the general public. This thesis is an analysis into
the procedures used for the reporting, investigating and disseminating of UFO information. The conclusions are that the procedures
used in the past for UFO evaluation and news dissemination have been inadequate. To solve this problem a change is recommended in the Also recommended are new pro-
staff of the Air Force UFO project.
cedures which include the use of computers and a modified plan for news dissemination.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Chapter I. II. in. IV. INTRODUCTION A HISTORY OF THE UFO PROGRAM CONFLICTING VIEWS PROCEDURES FOR UFO REPORTING, EVALUATION AND NEWS DISSEMINATION NEW METHODS FCR UFO EVALUATION AND NEWS DISSEMINATION VI. FOOTNOTES APPENDIX A APPENDIX B BIBLIOGRAPHY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 2? 36 38 h2 $0 53 . 1 9 17 ii iv
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure 1, 2. Graph of Saucer Sightings 19U7 Through 196£ UFO Statistics for 1966 . . . « ,
Page 2 3
By an act of Congress the United States Air Force is charged with the Air Defense of the United States. Rapid identification of anything that flies is an important part of Air Defense. Thus the Air Force initiated and continues the unidentified, flying object program. Under the program all unidentified flying object sightings are investigated in meticulous detail by Air Force personnel and qualified scientific consultants. So far, not a single bit of material evidence of the existence of spaceships has been found. The above statement was made in I960 by General Thomas D. White, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force. It applies today in 1966,
but the unidentified flying objects (UFO's) still maintain their special status and aura of mystery. Sightings of UFO's reported to
the U. S. Air Force reached 6U6 in the first seven months of 1966. This was nearly twice the number reported in the same period in 1965. It is at an annual rate that was exceeded only once before—in 1952 2 (Figure 1). The total sightings reported in 1966 reached a near
record 1060 (Figure 2);-^ this total is second only to the record 1501 reports received in 1952.^ Unofficial UFO reports are running These
at two to three times the rate of reports to the Air Force.^
unofficial reports are submitted to private investigative committees with the largest number going to the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). UFO's and the associated reports
FIGURE 1 GRAPH OF SAUCES SIGHTINGS 19 U7 THROUGH 196$
''Annual rate, based on 646 sightings in first 1 " months of 1966. J.; '? '8 • '9 '0W M I ' 5 5 4 4 4 5 '6 5 • 9 ' 0 '1 ' 2 ' 3 ' 4 ' 5 ' 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Out of 10,147 sightings over a period of 19 y e a r s — 1947 through 1965 — 94 per cent, or 9,501, have been explained by the U. S. Air Force, and 6 per cent, or 646, listed as "unidentified." From 1952, when a rash of sightings brought demands for closer study, t h r o u g h 1965, a total of 7,687 sightings were classified as follows: B 2,412 stars, meteors o r pianets a 1,377 aircraft H 1,333 reports dismissed for insufficient data M 1,042 hoaxes, hallucinations and mirages, pius birds, clouds, fireworks, missiles, searchlights, other phenomena M 701 balloons H 56,9 satellites • 253 unidentified.
' '§ V 'M $$ . : ••• •:•:
•.•• .;•• .*"•
Source: Project. Blue Boole, U.S. Air Force
STATISTICS FOR 1966 JAN ASTRONOMICAL AIRCRAFT BALLOON INSUFF DATA OTHER SATELLITE UNIDENTIFIED PENDING FEB MAR I I T T APR hi h2 MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT
NOV 21 22 1 21 8 2 1
DEC I ' T
1+ 1 8 0 8
8 1 * 0
' 32 2
TOTAL ASTRONOMICAL Meteors Stars/Planets Other
2 . 1 0 38 JAN 8 2a
1 0 2 0 IET
5 27 15
15 31 3 30 7 12 1 0 99
12 26 2 22
20 29 7 19 10
3 0 93
19 5 23 3 2 105
12 lU 2 19 7
5 I T k VI-
255 270 32 2U2
11 3 2
lt i IO t
109 30 28 1060 TOTAL 83 lt l9 23 255
1 6 la
MAR APR 8 19 32 23 Ia t 5a sir -
5 7 3a 15
JUN 3 8 la 12
10 9 la So-
SE? AUG b 7 10 7 la 3ab 12 20
8 29 la
NOV 8 12 lc 21
(a) moon OTHER
unusual 6unset JAN 2 FEB 1 MAR 6 1 2
(c) unusual meteorological condition APR 3 1 1 3
MAY 2 3 1 1
JUL 2 2
AUG 1 1 1 IP
SEP 3 1
OCT I t 1
NOV 3 1 1 2
TOTAL 29 2 10 I t 9 9 9 1 I t 2 10 5 lt 9
Hoaxes, Conf. Psy Missiles/Rockets Search/Gd Lights Flares/Fireworks Reflections Clouds/ContraiIs Birds Radar Analysis Physical Speciman Satellite Decay Photo Analysis Miscellaneous TOTAL (a) (f) (k) (q) svamp gas chaff plasma (n) Hoax (s)
1 1 IP
1 2p 2 In 2st 2c lk 10 lf 11 < lr 9
lf 1 l 5bcdei • 2ge 2 ah 15 19
(b) stellar image (c) no image (d) Insuff data (e) processing defect (g) electric light (h) blown transformer (i) lighthouse (j) blimp anomolous propagation (p) artifical cloud release (r) electric vires sparking indentations (t) monster
are indeed timely and apparently of great interest to many people. Almost daily one can read about UFO reports in local papers and periodicals. The interest reached our highest level of government
when on April 5, 1966, the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, Eighty-Ninth Congress, conducted a hearing on UFO's. The present Air Force UFO program (Project Blue Book) is limited in its ability to research and obtain UFO information. When
data is insufficient and not available to classify and explain a UFO or the description of an object and its motion cannot be correlated with any known phenomena, then it is carried in an unidentified status. Since 19li7 and the first official Air Force recognition
and investigation of UFO's, the groups in the unidentified status have been small in number, but they have created many problems between the general public and the Air Force. The Air Force is often
criticized for improper investigation of UFO's and deliberate withholding of supposedly secret information from UFO reports. To solve
the mystery and aura of UFO's, a definite need exists for a more detailed analysis of UFO reports. Part of the problem of investiga-
tion was recently solved (8 Oct 66) when the Air Force awarded a research agreement to the University of Colorado for a scientific study of UFO reports.6 (Appendix B)
Along with the need for a more detailed analysis of UFO reports, a better system is needed to disseminate information to the general public on the explanation of UFO's. At present the Secretary of the
Air Force, Office of Information, is charged with the responsibility of disseminating information concerning the UFO sightings, evaluations, and statistics. During calendar year 1966 the UFO
office was bombarded with a record 10,227 inquiries and additional queries were handled by Air Force bases.' The heavy volume of
sighting reports and requests for information reflect the heavy publicity given UFO's during 1966. Many articles were written in
books and magazines and they were very critical of the Air Force's Project Blue Book. Some of the 10.227 requests for UFO infromation
can be satisfied by disseminating literature, but the demand for such things as public speaking appearances is beyond the capabilities of the UFO office. The few personnel assigned to UFO projects
throughout the Air Force are kept busy with the large amount of paper work and the time that is necessary just for the investigation of UFO reports. The major objective of this thesis is to explore and hopefully improve procedures now used to educate the general public in the identification, classification, and explanation of UFO's. Specifi-
cally it will analyze the procedures used by the Air Force for identifying and explaining UFO reports and how that information is disseminated. The validity of UFO reports is often challenged by
the Air Force and quite often the Air Force conclusions determined from UFO reports are challenged by civilian groups. Both these Another
areas will be looked into and discussed in more detail.
area to be analyzed is the recent period of increased sightings and 5
an attempt be made to find a possible relationship between the trends of UFO reports and other aeronautical phenomena. In this
study of UFO's it is necessary to make one general assumption and that is that UFO reports will continue. It is reasonable to assume that a possibility does exist of life on another planet and that someday interplanetary space travel will take place. The coming of the space age and the aerospace
technological advances in the past ten years are a good indication that the future holds many unknown phenomena. People tend to be
emotional beings and as such are vulnerable to the things that are unknown. The scientific or reasonable explanation of UFO's is not
going to reach all people and will not satisfy many that it does reach. Therefore, it is a reasonable assumption that UFO reports will continue. For the limitations on this thesis the writer would like to make a definite point that the object of research is not to determine if UFO's are real or imaginary, but rather to improve the procedures for the identification and dissemination of UFO information. Research information will primarily be obtained from the Maxwell Air Force Ease library. Additional information will be
obtained from individuals who have professed to seeing and reporting UFO's. A limitation of time of UFO reports is also necessary
and some reports prior to 19^7 will be mentioned, however research will start from the first official recognition of UFO reports in
Another limit will be imposed to just those reports in the
United States. The approach to the problem of UFO's will be covered in six chapters. Chapter II will give a brief history of UFO reporting, Chapter III will deal
investigation, and dissemination of news.
with the conflicting views between the Air Force and civilian groups and Chapter IV will discuss the present procedures for UFO reporting, investigation and dissemination of news. Chapter V will be
discussion on possible new methods of identification, classification, and explanation of UFO reports and conclusions and recommendations will evolve in Chapter VI. Throughout this thesis frequent mention will be made to the official Air Force UFO project (Project Blue Book) and to the main civilian group associated with UFO reporting, NICAP. These two
groups are the main sources for gathering, explaining, and disseminating UFO information. Unfortunately they are often in great disagreeThe definitions of these groups are
ment as to their conclusions. as follows: NICAP.
The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena
is a non-profit organization incorporated in the District of Columbia (19^6). The main goals and purposes are scientific investigation The committee
and research of reported unidentified flying objects.
encourages full reporting to the public by responsible authorities of all information which the government has accumulated on this subject.^
Project Blue Book.
The United States Air Force has the
responsibility under the Department of Defense for the investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's). The name of this
program, which has been in operation since 19U8, is Project Blue Book, It has been identified in the past as Project Sign and
Project Grudge. Air Force interest in UFO's is related directly to the Air Force responsibility for the air defense of the United States. Procedures for conducting this program are established by Air Force Regulation 80-17, dated 12 October 1966, as supplemented. The objectives of Project Blue Book are twofold: first, to deter-
mine whether UFO's pose a threat to the security of the United States; and second, to determine whether UFO's exhibit any unioue scientific information or advanced technology which could contribute to scientific or technical research. In the course of accomplishing
these objectives, Project Blue Book strives to identify and explain all UFO's reported to the Air Force.'
A HISTORY OF THE UFO PROGRAM
Reports of strange objects in the sky have existed throughout history and have often caused a great amount of popular emotion among the general public. Before astronomers had discovered the
planets of our solar system, the visitations were attributed to the gods; in more recent times, the gods have been displaced by the beings from other planets.1" In the period of World War II and the
Korean War, many pilots reported seeing strange objects in the sky. These objects were commonly known as "foo fighters" and further investigation revealed that the objects were probably generated by static electricity. The phenomenon was known as Saint Elmo's fire.
Up until 19U7 the strange objects in the sky were seldom referred to as spaceships, flying saucers or physical beings from other planets and stars. It was Tuesday, 2U June 19U7, that the term
"flying saucer" was bora and the Air Force officially recognized the phenomenon of UFO's. On that day a civilian pilot, Mr. Kenneth
Arnold, was participating in a search and rescue mission for a missing transport plane. While flying near the peaks of Mount
Rainier in the 3tate of Washington, Mr. Arnold spotted what looked like a chain of nine saucer-like objects playing tag among the
Upon landing he reported his sighting to the Air Force
authorities and since that day the Air Force has assumed the responsibility of investigating UFO's. Mr. Arnold's report set off a
chain reaction which has not stopped even to this day. Following Mr. Arnold'3 report of flying saucers, numerous reports filtered in thru Air Force channels and were directed to the Chief of Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The main task of ATIC was the analysis and Initial coordination between ATIC,
investigation of UFO reports.
Headquarters USVF, and other major commands was by letters, telegrams, and telephone calls. This process soon became very laborious
tc ATIC for they had no facilities to properly investigate the reports and very few standard operating procedures had been established. In September of 19U7, ATIC stated, "it is possible within
the present day United States knowledge, provided extensive detailed development is undertaken, to construct a piloted aircraft which has the general description of the UFO's being r e p o r t e d . A T I C then recommended to Air Force Headquarters that a new policy directive be set up. This directive was necessary to assign a priority,
security classification, code name, and procedures for investigation of UFO reports. On 22 J a n u a r y 19U8, Air Force set up "Project Sign,"
the first official UFO project with a mission to collect, correlate, evaluate, and act on UFO information.' Now the Air Force was set up to investigate UFO reports. Many
reports were evaluated and quite a few were explained to be such 10
things as balloons, searchlights, aircraft, astronomical bodies and meteorological phenomena. However, there were many reports
that could not be explained usually because of insufficient data or knowledge. Thus was born two schools of thought on UFO's. On
one side was the group who felt that most UFO's could be connected with conventional objects while the other group believed that UFO's were actually "things" from our planet or outer space. It is
interesting to note that each school of thought was supported by both military and civilian groups. On 11 February 19U9, the code Some people
name of the Air Force project was changed to "Grudge."
feel that the name was changed because of the disagreement about UFO's, but the official order was supposedly written because the classified name, Project Sign, had been compromised.Project
Grudge continued to investigate a few of the new and many of the old UFO reports and on 27 December 19U9> an official report was released. 1. The report made the following statements:
Evaluation of UFO reports indicate that there is no direct
threat to the national security of the United States. 2. Reports on UFO's are the result of: a. b. A mild form of mass hysteria or "war nerves." Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetuate a
hoax or seek publicity. c. d. Phychopathological persons. Misidentification of various conventionsl objects.6 11
Along with the report it was recommended that Project Grudge be "reduced in scope" and that only "those reports clearly indicating realistic technical applications" be sent to the project for evaluation. After approval of the report by the Air Force, Project Grudge
folded.7 After the Project Grudge report, the period of 1950-51 was Q known as the dark ages of UFO investigation. The number of UFO
reports began to increase very rapidly and the Air Force slowly increased its emphasis on UFO investigation. In March of 1952 a new,
revitalised project was formed called the "Aerial Phenomena Group." The code name was "Project Blue Book" and was headed by a Captain Edward J. Ruppelt.^ Captain Ruppelt was to be assisted in the proj-
ect by selected qualified scientists, engineers, and other technical people within the Air Technical Intelligence Center. After the tre-
mendous increase of UFO reports in 1952, the Air Force convened a panel of top scientists to study the reports and decide whether the evidence indicated that UFO's were interplanetary, whether it was all explainable, and whether Project Blue Book should continue and seek better data. 10 On lU, 1$, and 16 January 1953, the panel met
and the conclusions of that panel were declassified and released in 1958. 1. 2. The following conclusions were stated about UFO's: They held no direct physical threat. They were not foreign developments capable of hostile acts
against the United States. 12
They were not unknown phenomena requiring the revision of
current scientific concepts.11 The panel further concluded that unless de-emphasised, UFO's, or the subject itself, could constitute a threat to national security. The panel felt that a rash of sightings could effect defense communications, national hysteria could be induced by skillful hostile propagandists, and a mass of false reports could screen planned hostile actions against the United States. As a result of the 1953
meeting, the panel made the following basic recommendations: 1. That immediate steps be taken to strip the UFO's of the
aura of mystery which they had unfortunately acquired. 2. That the public be reassured of the total lack of evidence
of inimical forces behind the phenomena. 3. That the Air Force investigation personnel be trained to
recognize and reject false indications quickly and effectively. In August of 1953 Air Force Regulation 200-2 was published and it listed the procedures for reporting UFO's. Late in 1955 the
classification of Project Blue Book was discontinued and the reports were made available and released to the general public. The reports
gave no evidence that UFO's were a threat to the United States and this opinion was stated repeatedly by the Air Force through many different news media. With the declassification and release of
Project Blue Book reports the Air Force used "fact sheets" late in 1955 to answer queries about UFO's. This information came from the
Department of Defense, Office of Public Information, and was issued 13
periodically for news release.
Military speakers associated with
the UFO program gave a few speeches on both radio and television and again emphasized the Air Force position on UFO's. For military
personnel the UFO information and articles were released in the form of Air Force Inspector General Briefs and Policy Letters to Commanders. So far the UFO investigation and reporting described in this chapter has dealt only with the military. However, there are many
civilian groups associated with reporting and investigating UFO's, The largest and perhaps most influential of the groups is NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, which is directed by a Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC (Ret). Some of the other
groups are the Borderline Sciences Research Association (California), Interplanetary Intelligence of Unidentified Flying Objects (Oklahoma), Intercontinental Aerial Research Foundation (Nebraska), UFO Research Committee (Ohio), Civilian Saucer Intelligence (New York), Waukegan Contact Group (Illinois), Saucer Investigative Research Organization (Georgia),World Society of the Flying Saucer (Idaho), and the Civil13 ian Research on Interplanetary Flying Objects (Ohio).
ship of some of these civilian groups is very large and often made up of people who are recognized as competent and reliable individuals. Most of the civilian groups publish some form of bulletin with information on UFO reporting and investigation. The information is
gathered from unofficial reports from all over the world and, unfortunately, the civilian findings of UFO investigations are often Hi
in disagreement with Air Force findings.
A majority of the civilian
groups believe that UFO's are interplanetary in origin and are under the control of living beings. They are highly dissatisfied with the
Air Force investigation procedures and they often are very critical and skeptical of most explanations for UFO's. One of the major
goals of the leading civilian groups has been to force a congressional inquiry that would supposedly reveal an Air Force conspiracy to deny the reality of flying saucers.1'1 was reached in 1966. On 5 April 1966, the Committee On Armed Services of the House of Representatives, Eighty-Ninth Congress, conducted a hearing on UFO's. The committee was chaired by the Honorable L. Mendal Rivers This goal for an inquiry
and representing the Air Force were the Honorable Harold Brown, Secretary of the Air Force, General McConnell, Air Force Chief of Staff, Dr. J.. Allen Hynek, consultant to Project Blue Book, and Major Hector Quintanilla, Jr., UFO project officer. Secretary Brown was
first to state the Air Force's continued position on UFO's and then he introduced a special report from the USA.F Scientific Advisory 15 Board. The Board had very recently concluded a review of Project
Blue Book and had recommended that a panel of scientists be authorized by the Air Force to conduct independent investigation into UFO reports. Dr. Hynek then presented his views on UFO's and pointed
out that enough puzzling sightings had been reported by intelligent and often technically competent people, to warrant closer attention than Project Blue Book could possibly encompass at the present time. 15
He also recommended that some civilian group of scientists undertake a long and detailed stud£ of the UFO phenomena. 16 The Air
Force's proposals, recommendations and answers to questions were well received by the Congressmen. The Air Force then announced on 7 October 1966, that the University of Colorado had been selected to conduct research into UFO reports. The agreement was valued at approximately $300,000 and the
research is to analyze the UFO phenomenon and make recommendations on the Air Force's methods of investigation and evaluation. report is expected in 1 9 6 8 ^ (Attachment B) The
The Air Force Project
Blue Book files will be available to the investigating scientists and all Air Force bases will assist the team as necessary. The
investigators will, however, conduct their research independently of and without direction from the Air Force. During the period of
special investigation, Project Blue Book will still be the official Air Force Program for UFO reporting and investigation. As this chapter has indicated, from 19h7 through 1966 the UFO reports and investigations were certainly subjects of controversy. The next chapter will delve further into some of the views about UFO's as stated by both the Air Force and civilian groups.
Since the* inception of Project Blue Book in 19£2, the official Air Force conclusions about UFO's have been the following: 1. No unidentified flying object reported, investigated, and
evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to United States security. 2. There has been no evidence submitted to the Air Force which
indicates UFO's are a technological advance beyond the range of present day scientific knowledge. 3. There has been no evidence that any unidentified sightings
were vehicles from outer space.1 Based upon approximately 11,207 sightings from 19U7 through 1966, the Air Force has failed to identify 676 reported sightings.The
primary reason for the unexplained sightings is that information available does not provide an adequate basis for analysis. In contrast to the official Air Force views are the beliefs of many of the civilian UFO organisations.
The largest, most typical,
and most influencial organization is NICAP, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. The NICAP Board of Governors
embrace the hypothesis that the unexplained UFO's are real, physical 17
objects rather than the result of imagination, delusions, and illusions. They also believe that the unexplained UFO's are under Almost without
the control (piloted or remote) of living beings.3
exception the civilian UFO organizations blame the Air Force for the practice of reducing the significance of UFO data through the use of counter-to-fact explanations of sightings and issuance of misleading statistics. The Air Force is also blamed for the prac-
tice of implying through its public relations program, that all available information has been disseminated and there is no need for further investigation. NICAP has blamed both the Air Force and
the government (Congress and the Executive Branch) for failing to recognize that a scientific problem exists. As a solution to what
it calls an unsatisfactory situation, NICAP, as well as many of the other civilian UFO organizations, would like to see the Air Force unclassified UFO files made available to any and all interested citizens.^ Most civilian UFO organizations cling to the belief that a conspiracy exists to conceal the existence of extraterrestrial vehicles, but they disagree to its precise composition.^ To NICAP and its
affiliates, the chief culprit is the Air Force, helped occasionally $ by other government agencies and by well known civilian scientists. One of the more extreme views of a civilian UFO organization is that of APEO, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization. APRO contends
that nobody in the Air Force, Army or the Navy "has the brains" to contrive a successful conspiracy and that the alleged plot "could
only be borne of minds schooled in deception and conception—the elite corps of the Central Intelligence Agency."^ In still another
version NICAP itself is a pawn in a superconspiracy so vast that thousands of American citizens have been made its unknowing tools.7 And so the different views go; many dissent against each other and almost all disagree with the official Air Force position. To help
understand why there is such a great difference between the views of the Air Force and those of the civilian UFO organizations, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of the present procedures used by the Air Force for UFO reporting, evaluation, and news dissemination.
PROCEDURES FOR UFO REPORTING, EVALUATION AND NEWS DISSEMINATION
Reporting UFO's Air Force Regulation 80-17, Unidentified Flying Objects, dated 19 September 1966, is the basic regulation covering UFO reporting procedures (Appendix A). 20 July 1962. It supersedes Air Force Regulation 200-2, dated
In the view of this writer the new regulation, com-
pared to the old regulation, is quite an improvement in that it is more concise, less subject to interpretation and is very detailed in basic reporting data and format. The regulation establishes the Air Force program for investigating and analyzing UFO's over the United States. It provides for uniform investigative procedures and release of information. The investigation and analyses prescribed are related directly to the Air Force's responsibility for the air defense of the United States. The UFO program requires prompt reporting and rapid evaluation of data for successful identification. Strict compliance with this regulation is mandatory.^ Prior to a discussion of the actual procedures used for evaluation of UFO's, it is of interest to note a few of the factors which possibly effect UFO reports. News Media. In 1966 the UFO's were wildly publicized in the massMany stories about UFO's appeared in the more
widely read magazines such as Life, look, Saturday Evening Post, 20
Time, and Newsweek.
Television added its contribution to the space
age with such shows as Startrek, Lost in Space, and The Invaders. In March of 1966 the sighting^ of "swamp gas" in Dexter and Hillsdale, Michigan, was^ given nation wide coverage in the newspapers. This publicity in Michigan gave new life to the UFO controversy and UFO reports jumped from a low of 18 in February to a record high of 158 in March (Figure 2). A comparison of UFO reports for 1952 and 1966 is of particular interest. A s stated earlier in Chapter I, .
the year 1952 had the record number of UFO sightings with approximately 1,500 and the year 1966 was second with approximately 1,100 sightings. In April of 1952 Life magazine published an article, In the same month the Air
"Have V e Visitors from Outer Space?" i
Force published a new order that directed bases to make immediate, high priority reports of all UFO sightings in their area.* In June
of 1952 Look magazine published an article, "Hunt for the Flying Saucers." During the previous spring and summer the movie, "The Day The movie described how
the Earth Stood Still" was quite popular.
a flying saucer from another planet landed in a baseball field close to the White House and the visiting spaceman had come to help the human race. All this publicity by the news media created enthusiasm In July
and served to incite the general public to look for UFO's.
of 1952 the saucers did indeed arrive in Washington, D. C., for a much awaited visit. The Washington sightings have been called the How-
most widely publicized UFO sightings in the Air Force annals. ever, in the end the explanation for the sightings by radar and 21
qualified military pilots was concluded to be the mirage effect caused by temperature inversions. Reliability. report? How reliable is the individual giving the UFO
In present day investigation this seems to be a big quesThe high qualifica-
tion when checking the validity of a report.
tions of witnesses is often voiced by the civilian organizations. NICAP states that a large number of reports come from reputable and competent observers; honest and intelligent citizens. Scientists
and professional pilots are considered experienced observers while private pilots and police are good observers and other reliable citizens are considered average observers.^ When the Air Force
explained away the Michigan UFO sightings as "swamp gas," it was accused of casting doubt on the competency of police officers who had made detailed reports of the UFO sightings. Often when a UFO
is seen by a number of highly qualified witnesses, then the thought arises that there might be something to it. This thought may be
a valid assumption, but a report should be analyzed objectively and in detail for its content with less emphasis placed on the reliability of the witness. Dr. Wernher von Braun stated the following
about the reliability of witnesses: A lifetime spent with testing of guided missiles has taught me to be extremely careful with eye-witness accounts on rocket firings running into some in-flight trouble. Of three experienced observers questioned after a typical mishap, one swore that he clearly saw a part coming off before the rocket faltered; a second hotly denied this but claimed that the missile oscillated violently before it veered off the course; while the third trained observer saw neither a part coming
off, nor an oscillation, nor any veering off the course but insisted that the rocket was flying perfectly steady until it was abruptly ripped apart by an internal explosion. 5 Faiths. Dr. Carl C. Jung, a noted psychiatrist and analyst,
states that to believe that UFO's are real suits the general opinion, whereas disbelief is to bo discouraged.^5 In the middle ages reli-
gious or mythological interpretations would have been given to such signs as UFO's in the heavens. Wow because of our technological
advances and the possibility that man will someday conquer space, the projects or visions of man are interpreted as spaceships or saucers, rather than the manifestations of devine intervention.7 The people who believe in UFO's are by no means a small group. In
October of 1966 approximately 5,000 people gathered at Giant Rock in San Bernadino County, California, for the 13th Annual Spacecraft Convention. At conventions of this type many speeches are given "My Four Day Trip to Mars," "I Was an Agent
with such topics as:
for the Extraterrestrials" and "A Space Being's Visit to the Pentagon. One civilian organization of saucer believers is the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Club of America, Inc. (AFSCA). Gabriel Green, the
director of AFSCA, said in a recent promotional brochure: Some of the many amazing benefits of the knowledge already received from the Space People, or promised by them if we will welcome them in a friendly manner, are: elimination of disease, poverty and smog; solving the problem of automation and unemployment; a way to finance all public work projects and aid to other countries without taxation; an extended life span; a greater measure of personal freedom, economic security and abundance; and for many living today, personal journeys to other planets beyond the stars. 23
This writer's purpose of discussion about faiths is not aimed at supporting the belief or non-belief of UFO's. It is intended
rather to stress the point that a qualified psychiatrist would be of benefit in any analysis of UFO reports.
Evaluating UFO Reports The first phase of UFO investigation begins with the receipt of the report and the initial investigation by the Air Force base nearest the location of the sighting. The results of the first
phase of investigation are then sent to the Project Blue Book office. If the UFO has not been identified or reasonably explained then a second phase of more detailed analysis is carried out by the Project Blue Book staff. The staff is headed by Air Force Major Hector
Quintanilla, Jr., and he is assisted by a first lieutenant, a staff sergeant and a secretary. As stated in the Project Blue Book re-
port, each case is objectively and scientifically analyzed and, if necessary, all of the scientific facilities available to the Air Force can be used to assist in arriving at an identification or explanation. At this point one might question the degree of scienTo assist the Project Blue
tific background of such a small staff.
Book staff the Air Force frequently calls on Dr. J. Allen Hynek who is the official scientific consultant to the Air Force on the problem of the UFO phenomenon. Dr. Hynek's main academic background is in
the field of Astrophysics. 2U
After receiving UFO reports, the investigation may often take considerable time to collect proper data for a valid conclusion. Result: the Air Force is blamed for the delay and accused of coverIf the answer or explanation is readily available,
then many UFO addicts deny its truth and assert that the explanation was hurriedly rushed into print in order to deceive the public. NICAP contends that the Air Force has practiced an intolerable degree of secrecy and withholding of information in its public policies on the UFO subject, and refuses to allow an independent evaluation of its data. They believe that the Air Force has proof of UFO
reality and is holding back the information until the public can be psychologically prepared under a program guided by some higher agency.30 The Air Force evaluation of UFO reports fall into three general categories: identified, insufficient data, and unidentified. An
identified report is one for which sufficient specific information has been accumulated to positively identify the object. Often mis-
taken for UFO's are such things as satellites, space vehicles, astronomical bodies, meteorological phenomena, missiles, aircraft navigation lights, condensation trails, balloons, birds and searchlights. More than one thousand objects from earth are known to Of this number six big, light-reflecting U. S. Two-hundred-forty-
be in space now.
satellites are clearly visible much of the time.
three space vehicles are often visible and 870 pieces of space junk such as rocket casings and satellite parts are occasionally visible. 25
When one or more essential elements are missing in a UFO report then the report is categorized as "Insufficient Data." Essential
elements are the omission of the duration of the sighting, date, time, location, position in the sky, weather conditions, and the 1? manner of appearance or d i s a p p e a r a n c e . T h e additional investigation for the missing element of information is often very time consuming and until such time as sufficient specific data is available, the report cannot be identified. News Dissemination The dissemination of information pertaining to UFO sightings, evaluations and statistics is the task assigned to the Office of Information of the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF-OI). As stated
in Air Force Regulation 80-17, private individuals or organizations desiring Air Force interviews, briefings, lectures or private discussions on UFO's will direct their requests to SAF-OI. However,
with the record 10,227 inquiries in 1966, the saucer craze has become so great that the Air Force is turning down all requests from civilian organizations for officers to speak on the UFO program. Personnel assigned to UFO projects are so busy investigating reports that the workload does not permit acceptance of public speaking appearances "at this time."13 Periodically by use of The Inspector General Brief and Air Force Policy Letters for Commanders, Air Force personnel are rebriefed on UFO reporting procedures and latest UFO information. 26
The Inspector General briefs stress the fact that flying objects in the past have posed no threat to the security of the United States. However, observations aid Air Force readiness and since
the possibility exists that a UFO reported may be hostile, or a new foreign air vehicle of unconventional design, it is imperative to report sightings rapidly, factually and completely as p o s s i b l e . For civilian personnel the source of official, military information is rather limited. From 1956 through 1961 the "fact sheets"
with uFO information were issued approximately semi-annually to the p r e s s . S i n c e 1962 the Air Force has periodically issued packets of information to the press. The message has always been the same;
no evidence that UFO's were outer space vehicles or posed a threat to U. S. security. However, the civilian populous certainly does Most of the civilian UFO organiza-
not lack for UFO information.
tions publish literature about UFO's and the truths which allegedly are suppressed by government sources. Of particular interest is the fact that the Air Force seldom answers publically the critics of its UFO program and for the one time that it did try, the results were unsatisfactory. In 1961
Colonel Lawrence J. Tacker, the official Pentagon spokesman for UFO's, wrote a book Flying Saucers and the Air Force. He later went on pubColonel Tacker
lic tour to give lectures and appear on television.
was very adamant in his position on denouncing critics of the UFO investigation conducted by the Air Force. The result was that many
civilians became highly disturbed at being denounced and they wrote 27
NEW METHODS FOR UFO EVALUATION AND NEWS DISSEMINATION
In the previous chapter some of the reasons why people were dissatisfied with Project Blue Book were reviewed. The purpose of
this chapter is to discuss possible improved methods for UFO evaluation and the dissemination of UFO news to the general public showing the results of that evaluation. In the present day period
of limited resources a lot depends on how much money the government is willing to spend for personnel and facilities to conduct UFO evaluation. It is reasonable to assume that the improvement in any
one phase of investigation would certainly effect the accomplishments in other phases.
Civilians Replacing the Military in Project Blue Book Stability. For a beginning it is important to look at the The accomplishments
stability in the past of the UFO project office.
of any organization are certainly affected by the stability of its personnel movements. Since 1951 and the beginning of Project Blue
Book, the staff has been under the direction of seven different chiefs.1 The average length of time for the chiefs has been close
to three years and this is considered normal for a military assignment.
In the past Project Blue Book has also been considered well organized, but the personnel resources assigned to it (only one officer, a sergeant, and secretary) have been quite limited. The assign-
ment of at least one civilian to the supervisory position could prove beneficial from the stability angle. A civilian is normally As to the rest
not subjected to as many moves as a military man.
of the military staff being replaced by civilians, it would depend on the abilities required in certain levels of operation. Ability. The abilities of the present Project Blue Book staff
might be considered inadequate because of the limited number of personnel with a scientific background. Major Quintanilla is a
physicist and at times the Air Force calls on civilian scientists for assistance, principally Dr. H. Allen Hynek of northwestern University. As noted in most criticism of Project Blue Book, the The Air Force'
degree of scientific investigation has been limited.^
decision to enter into a research agreement with Colorado University was a step in providing further detailed scientific research. The
university is making a start by investigating some of the unsolved cases in the Air Force files and new cases will be passed on to the group by Air Force if it is unable to find a solution to future sightings.^ At this point one might ask a few questions. What Who at
happens when the research is completed by the university?
Air Force level (Project Blue Book) is determining what reports should go to the research group and what is his scientific background?
On 3 February 1966, the Special Report of the
USAF Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee to Review Project Blue Book stated the following conclusions and recommendations: . . . . In 19 years and more than 10,000 sightings recorded and classified, there appears to be no verified and fully satisfactory evidence of any case that is clearly outside the framework of presently known science and technology. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that analysis of new sightings may provide some additions to scientific knowledge of value to the Air Force. Moreover, some of the case records which the committee looked at that were listed as "identified" were sightings where the evidence collected was too meager or too indefinite to' permit positive listing in the identified category. Because of this the committee recommends that the present program be strengthened to provide opportunity for scientific investigation of selected sightings in more detail and depth than has been possible to date. To accomplish this it is recommended that— (a) Contracts be negotiated with a few selected universities to provide scientific teams to investigate promptly and in depth certain selected sightings of UFO's. Each team should include at least one psychologist, preferably one interested in clinical psychology, and at least one physical scientist, preferably an astronomer or geophysicist familiar with atmospheric p h y s i c s . 5 To go one step further, it would seem feasible to have on the Project Blue Book staff someone who is trained in psychology. This
individual could be either a military man or a civilian, but preferably he should come from a civilian source. In the close communi-
cation and coordination between the office of Project Blue Book and the civilian research groups, it would be one scientist talking to another scientist and the level of thinking and conversation would be very compatible. 31
It is not the intent of this writer to degrade the qualifications of the present chief of Project Blue Book, Major Quintanilla. His academic background in the field of physics has certainly contributed to the effectiveness of investigations, but like so many of the past military chiefs he will soon be leaving. The intent is
to stress the point that more qualified experience is needed to help initially evaluate UFO reports in a scientific manner. This
could be done by assigning selected civilians with specific scientific backgrounds to run Project Blue Book.
Use of Computers In today's era of advanced technology man has benefited in almost all scientific fields by using computers. This benefit Project
could also be realized in the field of UFO evaluation.
Blue Book presently uses a system of attaching to each UFO report one of the following labels:^ (1) Was balloon (2) Probable balloon (3) Possible balloon (U) Was aircraft (5) Probable aircraft (6) Possible aircraft (7) Was astronomical (8) Probable astronomical (9) Possible astronomical (10) Other (11) Unknown (12) Unidentified (13) Insufficient data This type of classification system is fine for the purpose of maintaining an orderly file, but of what scientific value is it? 32 Simple
observation reveals that very little scientific information could be gained from statistics derived from such a system. What is needed is a detailed system of analysis which would analyze the behavior and patterns of UFO's. The process now used by
Project Blue Book is to separately analyze and classify each report. A better procedure would be to analyze different reports together and compare new reports with old ones. Dr. Hynek, the Air Force
consultant on UFO's, suggests that the first step in helping to solve the UFO problem would be the use of computers. First, all of the valuable data that we have accumulated—good reports from all over the world—must be computerized so that we can rapidly compare new sightings with old and trace patterns of UFO behavior.' The next logical question would be where is Project Blue Book going to get a computer? It is of particular interest to note that
the Air Force is considered to be the leading pioneer in computer development and today they are the biggest user of computer systems.® The subject of UFO reports has been important enough to require a Congressional Investigation and the UFO phenomenon is responsible for the Air Force research agreement to civilian universities in the amount of $300,000. If the UFO reports are of such importance
then, in this writer's opinion, it should benefit the Air Force to procure a computer or computer time in an effort to modernize and keep current its UFO evaluation program. 33
News Dissemination The primary function of any public information office is to keep the public informed. This function has received repeated
emphasis by the Project Blue Book staff since the beginning of the UFO program. Lieutenant Colonel Tacker, who was the Pentagon UFO
Spokesman from 1958 through 1961, stated that the public must be continually kept informed of the Air Force position regarding UFO's. If this has been done, then why has a large portion of the public reacted negatively to the official Air Force position? A possible
explanation could be that the Air Force position has always been the same and the public does not feel that all UFO's are identifiable with relatively known phenomena. The civilian UFO organizations believe that virtually all of the Air Force's analysis of UFO's has been conducted in secrecy, affording the scientific community as a whole no opportunity to cross check and review the methods and reasoning used. to the public.10 Wow that the University of Colorado scientific committee is, in part, conducting evaluation of UFO reports, the public should be made aware of the scientific research taking place. Dr. Edward V* Condon, who is director of the scientific committee, states that the investigation will eventually involve some 100 scientists from other universities and a final report will be made public sometime in 1968.11 It is this writer's contention that progress reports should be subOnly the end results have been released
mitted to the Air Force by Dr. Conden's group and this information 3h
in turn be released to the public. The information would not have to be the results of the investigation, but merely statements as to who is doing the investigation and perhaps what procedures are being used. This would definitely aid to public understanding of the scientific approach being taken by the Air Force in attacking the UFO problem. The idea of contracting research agreements with civilian institutes was first expressed by the USAF Scientific Advisory Board in 1966 when they reviewed Project Blue Book. Along with the idea of scientific investigation the following was stated about news dissemination: . . . .The information provided by such a program might bring to light new facts of scientific value, and would almost certainly provide a far better basis than we have today for decision on a long-term UFO program, The scientific reports on these selected sightings, supplementing the present program of the Project Blue Book office, should strengthen the public position of the Air Force on UFO's. It is, therefore, recommended that— (a) These reports be printed in full and be available on request. (b) Suitable extracts or condensed versions be printed and included in, or as supplements to, the published reports of Project Blue Book. (c) The form of report be expanded, and anything which might suggest that information is being withheld be deleted. The form of this report can be of great importance in securing public understanding and should be given detailed study by an appropriate Air Force office. (d) The reports Project Blue Book should be given wide unsolicited circulation among prominent members of the Congress and other public persons as a further aid to public understanding of the scientific approach being taken by the Air Force in attacking the UFO problem.12
CHAPTER VI CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS As stated previously, a lot depends on what priority UFO's are given and just how much money the government is willing to spend on the UFO phenomenon. It is this writer's opinion that UFO's, in all
their ramifications, have been an increasing detriment to the Air Force and the United States Government. The procedures used in the past for UFO evaluation and news dissemination have been inadequate and with this thought in mind the following conclusions and recommendations are submitted: Conclusions• 1. A more detailed scientific analysis of the UFO phenomenon is needed. 2. Conflict does exist between military and non-military groups
as to the procedures that should be used to solve the UFO phenomenon. 3. Project Blue Book office has been limited in its ability to pursue a scientific approach to the UFO problem. U. Limited research has shown that the procedures used for
reporting UFO's are adequate. When the results of present scientific investigation are complete in 1968, the area of reporting UFO's should be subjected to further research. 36
The aid of computer systems for UFO evaluation would produce a more effective, scientific analysis of reports. Further
research would be needed to design a new classification system. 6. There is a need for increased emphasis on the dissemination
of official news pertaining to the UFO phenomena. With the more detailed investigation by civilian scientific groups, the findings could be made available to the public through the widespread use of books, magazines and other news media. The information will be better received by civilian groups because the detailed scientific research is not being performed by the Air Force. Recommendations. 1. Project Blue Book should have an expanded staff and be
under the direction of a civilian scientist with a background in the field of psychology. The staff should be further complimented by
another civilian or military scientist with a background in the field of astrology. 2. Computers should be provided immediately for the task of The
record keeping, classification and analysis of UFO information.
cost to procure a computer solely for UFO computations is not feasible. A more practical solution would be to tie into and use one of the many Air Force computers through the automatic digital network. 3. Official UFO information should be given the widest possible
circulation in an effort to educate the general public on UFO's and the scientific evaluation of the UFO phenomena. 37
FOOTNOTES Chapter I 1. Lt Colonel Lawrence J. Tacker, Flying Saucers and the U. S. Air Force (Princeton, New Jersey: D. Van NostranTCompany, Inc., I960), Foreword. 2. "UFO's - They're Back in New Sizes, Shapes and Colors," U. S. News and World Report (22 August 1966), pp. 59-60. 3. "UFO Inquiries Set a New Record," Air Force Times (25 January 1967), p. 22. l . "UFO's - They're Back in New Sizes, Shapes and Colors," i loc. cit. 5. "Air Force Selects University of Colorado to Investigate UFO Reports," Air Force Policy Letter for Commanders (November 1966) p . 32. 6. "UFO Inquiries Set a New Record," loc. cit.
7. Richard H. Hall (ed.), The UFO Evidence (Washington: The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), 196U) p. i. 8. U. S., Congress, Committee on Armed Services, Hearings on Unidentified Flying Objects, 89th Cong., 2nd Sess., 1966, p. 5997. Cited hereafter as UFO Hearings, I966.
Chapter II 1. Dr. J. C. Arnell, "UFO's: Figment, Fact or Fiction," Sentinel (5 June 1966), p. U. 2. Tacker, op. cit., p. 12. 3. Ibid., p. 13. b. Ibid., p. li|. 38
5. Edward J. Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956), p. t?5. 6. 7. Ibid., p. 97. Ibid., p. 98.
8. Hall, op. cit., p. 106. 9. Ibid., p. 107.
10. Ibid. 11. 12. "This is Our Position,11 The Airman (5 January 1961), p. 2. Ibid.
13. Donald H. Menzel, Lyle G. Boyd, The World of Flying Saucers (Garden City, Mew York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., lT6jT), p. 276. 1U. Donald E. Keyhoe, Flying Saucers: Top Secret (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, I960), p. 10. 15. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5992. 16. Ibid., p. 6008.
17. Air Force Policy Letter for Commanders (November 1966), p. 32. Chapter III 1. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5998. 2. Calculations derived from Figures I & II.
3. Hall, op. cit., p. ii. U. Ibid. 5. Menzel and Boyd, op. cit., p. 278. 6. C. E. lorenzen, "The Psychology of UFO Secrecy," Flying Saucers (October 1958), p. 12. 7. L. Davidson, (letter), Flying Saucers (October 1958), p. 79. 39
Chapter IV 1. Air Force Regulation 80-17, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) (Washington: Department of the Air Force, 19 September 1966, Change A, 8 November 1966), Introduction. 2. Ruppelt, op. cit., p. 178. 3. Hall, op. cit., p. ii. U. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, "Are Flying Saucers Real?" The Saturday Evening Post (17 December 1966), p. 18. 5. Werner von Braun, First Men to the Moon (Canada: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, I960), Extract. 6. Carl Gustav Jung, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky (London: Routledge and Paul Co., 1959), p. x. 7. Ibid., p. 21.
8. David C. Whitney (ed.), "Flying Saucers," Look Special (New York: Cowles Communications, Inc., 1967), p. 5k. 9. "Trade Winds: USAF Reactions to Recent Sightings," Saturday Review (16 April 1966), p. 10. 10. Hall, op. cit., p. 105. 11. "UFO's - They're Back in New Sizes, Shapes and Colors," loc cit. 12. 13. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5997. "UFO Inquiries Set a New Record," loc. cit.
111. "Reporting Unidentified Flying Objects," The Inspector General (22 May 1966), p. 17. 15. Hall, op. cit., p. 107. Chapter V 1. Hall, op. cit., p. 107. 2. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5995.
3. Hall, op. cit., p. i. I . Whitney (ed. ), loc. cit., p. 61. ; 5. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5995. 6. Jacques v^llee, Anatomy of a Phenomenon: (Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1965), p. 99. 7. Hynek, op. cit., p. 21. 8. Lt Colonel William K. Rogers, Speech before the Air Command and Staff College Class of 1967, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 3 October 1966. 9. Tacker, op. cit., p. 85. 10. Hall, op. cit., p. ii. 11. Whitney (ed.), loc. cit. 12. UFO Hearings, 1966, loc. cit., p. 5995. UP in Space
APPENDIX A AIR FORCE REGULATION 80-17 UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO)
AFR 80-17 AIR FORCE REGULATION NO. 80-17 DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE Washington, D. C. 19 September 1966 Research And Development UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO)
This regulation establishes the Air Force program for investigating and analyzing UFOs over the United States. It provides for unifotm investigative procedures and release of information. The investigations and analyses prescribed are related directly to the Air Force's responsibility for the air defense of the United States. The UFO Program requires prompt reporting and rapid evaluation of data for successful identification. Strict compliance with this regulation is mandatory.
SECTION A — G E N E R A L
Explanation of Terms Program Objectives Program Responsibilities SECTION B—PUBLIC RELATIONS, INFORMATION, CONTACTS, AND RELEASES Response to Public Interest Releasing Information ' REPORTS
1 2 3
SECTION C—PREPARING A N D SUBMITTING General Information Guidance in Preparing Reports Transmittal of Reports Negative or Inapplicable Data Comments of Investigating Officer Basic Reporting Data and Format Reporting Physical Evidence
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
SECTION A—GENERAL PROVISIONS 1. Explanation of Terms. To insure proper and uniform usage of terms in UFO investigations, reports, and analyses, an explanation of common terms follows: a. Unidentified Flying Objects. Any aerial phenomenon or object which is unknown or appears out of the ordinary to the observer. b. Familiar or Known Objects/Phenomena. Aircraft, aircraft lights, astronomical bodies (meteors, planets, stars, comets, sun, moon), balloons, birds fireworks, missiles, rockets, satellites, searchlights, weather phenomena (clouds, contrails, dust devils), and other natural phenomena. 2. Program Objectives. Air Force interest in UFOs is two-fold: to determine if the UFO
This regulation supersedes A F R 200-2, 20 July 1962
is a possible threat to the United States and to use the scientific or technical data gained from study of UFO reports. To attain these objectives, it is necesssary to explain or identify the stimulus which caused the observer to report his observation as an unidentified flying object. a. Air Defense. The majority of UFOs reported to the Air Force have been conventional or familiar objects which present no threat to our security. (1) It is possible that foreign countries may develop flying vehicles of revolutionary configuration or propulsion. . (2) Frequently, some alleged UFOs are determined to be aircraft. Air Defense Command (ADC) is responsible for identification
rTT . A PDOT A \>>
AFR 80-17 of aircraft. Except as aircraft are determined to be the stimulus for a UFO report, aircraft are not to be reported under the provisions of this regulation. b. Technical and Scientific. The A i r Force will analyze reports of UFOs submitted to it to attain the program objectives. In this connection these facts are of importance: ( 1 ) The need for further scientific knowledge in geophysics, astronomy, and physics of the upper atmosphere which may be provided by study and analysis of UFOs and similar aerial phenomena. (2) The need to report all pertinent factors that have a direct bearing on scientific analysis and conclusions of UFO sightings. (3) The need and the importance of complete case information. Analysis has explained all but a small percentage of the sightings which have been reported to the Air Force. The ones that have not been explained are carried statistically as "unidentified." Because of the human factors involved and because analysis of a U F O sighting depends primarily on a personal impression and interpretation by the observer rather than on scientific data or facts obtained under controlled conditions, the elimination of of all unidentifieds is improbable. However, if more immediate, detailed, and objective data on the unidentifieds had been available and promptly reported, perhaps these, too, could have been identified. a. Program Monitor. The Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, is responsible f o r the overall program, evaluation of investigative procedures, and the conduct of separate scientific investigations. b. Resources. The Air Force Systems Command will support the program with current resources within the Foreign Technology Division ( F T D ) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to continue the Project Blue Book effort. Other AFSC resources normally used by FTD for this effort will continue to be made available. c. Investigation. Each commander of an Air Force base will provide a U F O investigative capability. When notice of a UFO sighting is received, an investigation will be implemented to determine the stimulus for the sighting. An Air Force base receiving the notice of a UFO sighting may not be the base nearest the locale of the sighting. In that event, the reported UFO sighting will be referred to the Air Force base nearest the sighting for action. EXCEPTIONS: FTD at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, independently or with the help of pertinent Air Force activities, may conduct any other investigation to conclude its analysis or findings. HQ U S A F may arrange for separate investigations. d. Analysis. F T D will: (1) Analyze and evaluate all information and evidence reported to bases on those UFOs which are not identified at the base level. (2) Use other Government agencies, private industrial companies, and contractor personnel to assist in analyzing and evaluating UFO reports, as necesssary. e. Findings. FTD, Wright-Patterson A F B , Ohio, will prepare a final case report on each sighting reported to it after the data have been properly evaluated. If the final report is deemed significant, FTD will send the report of its findings to AFSC ( S C F A ) , A n drews AFB, Wash DC 20331, which will send a report to HQ USAF ( A F R D C ) , Wash DC 20330. f. Cooperation. All Air Force activities will cooperate with UFO investigators to insure that pertinent information relative to investigations of UFO sightings are promptly obtained. When feasible, this will include furnishing air or ground transportation and other assistance. SECTION B—PUBLIC RELATIONS, INFORMATION, CONTACTS, AND RELEASES 4. Response to Public Interest. The Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information ( S A F - O I ) , maintains contact with the public and the news media on all aspects of the UFO program and related activities. Private individuals or organizations desiring Air Force interviews, briefings, lectures, or private discussions on UFOs will be instructed to direct their requests to S A F - O I . Air Force members not officially connected with UFO investigations covered by this regulation will refrain from any action or comment on UFO reports which may mislead or cause the public to construe these opinions as official Air Force findings. 5. Releasing Information. S A F - O I is the agency responsible f o r releasing information to the public and to the news media. a. Congressional and Presidential Inquiries. The Office of Legislative Liaison will: (1) With the assistance of S A F - O I , an-
A F R 80-17 swer all Congressional and Presidential queries regarding UFOs forwarded to the Air Force. (2) Process requests from Congressional sources in accordance with A F R 11-7. b. SAF-OI will: (1) Respond to correspondence from individuals requesting information on the . TJFO Program and evaluations of sightings. (2) Release information on UFO sightings and results of investigations to the general public. (3) Send correspondence queries which are purely technical and scientific to F T D for information on which to base a reply. c. Exceptions. In response to local inquiries regarding UFOs reported in the vicinity of an Air Force base, the base commander may release information to the news media or the public after the sighting has been positively identified. If the stimulus for the sighting is difficult to identify at the base level, the commander may state that the sighting is under investigation and conclusions will be released by SAF-OI after the investigation is completed. The commander may also state that the Air Force will review and analyze the results of the investigation. Any further inquiries will be > " directed to SAF-OI. SECTION C—PREPARING AND SUBMITTING REPORTS 6. General Information: a. The Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, USAF and the ADC have a direct and immediate interest in UFOs reported within the US. All Air Force activities will conduct UFO investigations to the extent necessary for reporting action (see paragraphs 9, 10, 11, and 12). Investigation may be carried beyond this point when the preparing officer believes the scientific or public relations aspect of the case warrants further investigation. In this case, the investigator will coordinate his continued investigation with FTD. b. Paragraph 7 will be used as a guide for screenings, investigations, and reportings. - Paragraph 11 is an outline of the reporting format. c. Inquiries should be referred to S A F - - 01 (see paragraph 5). d. If possible, an individual selected as a UFO investigator should have a scientific or - - technical background and experience as an investigator. e. Reports required by this regulation are excluded from assignment of a reports control symbol in accordance with paragraph 3k, AFR 300-5. 7. Guidance in Preparing Reports. The usefulness of a UFO report depends largely on accuracy, timeliness, skill and resourcefulness of the person who receives the initial information and makes the report. Following are aids f o r screening, evaluating and reporting sightings: a. Activities receiving initial reports of aerial objects and phenomena will screen the information to determine if the report concerns a valid UFO as defined in paragraph la. Reports not falling within that definition do not require further action. Aircraft flares, jet exhausts, condensation trails, blinking or steady lights observed at night, lights circling near airports and airways, and other aircraft phenomena should not be reported as they do not fall within the definition of a UFO. EXCEPTION: Reports of known objects will be made to FTD when this information originally had been reported by local news media as a UFO and the witness has contacted the Air Force. (Do NOT solicit reports.) News releases should be included as an attachment with the report (see paragraph 8c). b. Detailed study will be made of the logic, consistency, and authenticity of the observer's report. An interview with the observer, by persons preparing the report, is espe^ cially valuable in determining the reliability of the source and the validity of the information. Factors f o r particular attention are the observer's age, occupation, and education, and whether he has a technical or scientific background. A report that a witness is completely familiar with certain aspects of a sighting should indicate specific qualifications to substantiate such familiarity. c. The following procedures will assist the investigating officer in completing the report and arriving at a conclusion as required in paragraph 11. (1) When feasible, contact local aircraft control and warning (ACW) units, and pilots and crews of aircraft aloft at the time and place of sighting. Contact any persons or organizations that may have additional data on the UFO or can verify evidence—visual, electronic, or other. (2) Consult military or civilian weather forecasters for data on tracks of weather
AFR 80-17 balloons or any unusual meteorological activity that may have a bearing on the stimulus for the UFO. (3) Consult navigators and astronomers in the area to determine if any astronomical body or phenomenon might account for the sighting. (4) Consult military and civilian tower operators, air operations units, and airlines to determine if the sighting could have been an aircraft. Local units of the Federal Aviation Agency ( F A A ) can be of assistance in this regard. (5) Consult persons who may know of experimental aircraft of unusual configuration, rocket and guided missile firings, or aerial tests in the area. (6) Consult local and State police, county sheriffs, forest rangers, and other civil officials who may have been in the area at the time of the sighting or have knowledge of other witnesses. 8. Transmittal of Reports: a. Timeliness. Report all information on UFOs promptly. Electrical transmission with a "Priority" precedence is authorized. b. Submission of Reports. Submit multiple-addressed electrical reports to: (1) ADC. (2) Nearest Air Division (Defense). (3) FTD W P A F B . (First line of text: FOR TDETR.) (4) CSAF. (First line of text: FOR AFRDC.) (5) OSAF. (First line of text: FOR SAF-OI.) c. Written Reports. In the event followup action requires a letter report, send it to FTD ( T D E T R ) , Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433. FTD will send the reports to interested organizations in the US and to S A F - O I if required. d. Reports from Civilians. Advise civilians to report UFOs to the nearest Air Force base. e. Negative or Inapplicable Data. If specific information is lacking, refrain from using the words "negative" or "unidentified" unless all logical leads to obtain the information outlined in paragraph 11 have been exhausted. For example, the information on weather conditions in the area, as requested in paragraph l l g , is obtainable from the local military or civilian weather facility. Use the phrase "not applicable ( N A ) " only when the question really does not apply to the sighting under investigation. 10. Comments of Investigating Officer. This officer will make an initial analysis and comm 4 ment on the possible cause or identity of the stimulus in a supporting statement. He will make every effort to obtain pertinent items of information and to test all possible leads, clues, and hypotheses. The investigating officer who receives the initial report is in a better position to conduct an on-the-spot survey and follow-up than subsequent investigative personnel and analysts who may be far removed from the area and who may arrive too late to obtain vital data or information necessary for firm conclusions. The investigating officer's comments and conclusions will be in the last paragraph of the report submitted through channels. The reporting official will contact FTD (Area Code 513, 257-0916 or 257-6678) f o r verbal authority to continue investigations. 11. Basic Reporting Data and Format. Show the abbreviation " U F O " at the beginning of the text of all electrical reports and in the subject of any follow-up written reports. Include required data in all electrical reports, in the order shown below: a. Description of the Object(s): (1) Shape. (2) Size compared to a known object. (3) Color. (4) Number. (5) Formation, if more than one. (6) Any discernible features or details. (7) Tail, trail, or exhaust, including its size. (8) Sound. (9) Other pertinent or unusual features. b. Description of Course of Object(s): (1) What first called the attention of observer(s) to the object(s)? (2) Angle of elevation and azimuth of object(s) when first observed. (Use theodolite or compass measurement if possible.) (3) Angle of elevation of object(s) upon disappearance. (Use theodolite or compass measurement if possible.) (4) Description of flight path and maneuvers of object(s). (Use elevations and azimuth, not altitude.) (5) How did the object(s) disappear? (Instantaneously to the North, for example.) (6) How long were the object(s) visible? (Be specific—5 minutes, 1 hour, etc.) c. Manner of Observation: (1) Use one or any combination of the following items: Ground-visual, air-visual, ground-electronic, air-electronic. (If electronic, specify type of radar.) (2) Statement as to optical aids (tele-
AFR 80-17 scopes, binoculars, etc.) used and description thereof. (3) If the sighting occurred while airborne, give type of aircraft, identification number, altitude, heading, speed, and home station. d. Time and Date of Sighting: (1) Greenwich date-time group of sighting and local time. (2) Light conditions (use one of the following terms: Night, day, dawn, dusk). e. Location of Observer(s). Give exact latitude and longitude coordinates of each observer, and/or geographical position. In electrical reports, give a position with reference to a known landmark in addition to the coordinates. For example, use "2 mi N of Deeville"; "3 mi SW of Blue Lake," to preclude errors due to teletype garbling of figures. f. Identifying Information on Observer (s): (1) Civilian—Name, age, mailing address, occupation, education and estimate of reliability. (2) Military—Name, grade, organization, duty, and estimate of reliability. g. Weather and Winds-Aloft Conditions at Time and Place of Sightings: (1) Observer(s) account of weather conditions. (2) Report from nearest AWS or US Weather Bureau Office of wind direction and velocity in degrees and knots at surface, 6,000', 10,000', 16,000', 20,000', 30,000', 50,000', and 80,000', if available. (3) Ceiling. (4) Visibility. (5) Amount of cloud cover. (6) Thunderstorms in area and quadrant in which located. (7) Vertical temperature gradient. h. Any other unusual activity or condition, meteorological, astronomical, or otherwise, that might account for the sighting. i. Interception or identification action taken (such action is authorized whenever feasible and in compliance with existing air defense directives). j. Location, approximate altitude, and general direction of flight of any air traffic or balloon releases in the area that might possibly account for the sighting. k. Position title and comments of the preparing officer, including his preliminary analysis of the possible cause of the sight•ings(s). (See paragraph 10.) 12. Reporting Physical Evidence: a. Photographic: 5 (1) Still Photographs. Forward the original negative to FTD (TDETR), WrightPatterson AFB, Ohio 45433, and indicate the place, time, and date the photograph was taken. (2) Motion Pictures. Obtain the original film. Examine the film strip for apparent cuts, alterations, obliterations, or defects. In the report comment on any irregularities, particularly in films received from other than official sources. (3) Supplemental Photographic Information. Negatives and prints often are insufficient to provide certain valid data or permit firm conclusions. Information that aids in plotting or in estimating distances, apparent size and nature of object, probable velocity, and movements includes: (a) Type and make of camera. (b) Type, focal length, and make of lens. (c) Brand and type of film. (d) Shutter speed used. (e) Lens opening used; that is, " f " stop. ( f ) Filters used. (g) Was tripod or solid stand used. (h) Was "panning" used. (i) Exact direction camera was pointing with relation to true North, and its angle with respect to the ground. (4) Other Camera Data. If supplemental information is unobtainable, the minimum camera data required are the type of camera, and the smallest and largest "f" stop and shutter speed readings of the camera. (5) Radar. Forward two copies of each still camera photographic print. Title radarscope photographic prints per AFR 95-7. Classify radarscope photographs per AFR 205-1. NOTE: If possible, develop film before forwarding. Mark undeveloped film clearly to indicate this fact, to avoid destruction by exposure through mail channels to final addressees. b. Material. Air Force. echelons receiving suspected or actual UFO material will safeguard it to prevent any defacing or alterations which might reduce its value for intelligence examination and analysis. c. Photographs, Motion Pictures, and Negatives Submitted by Individuals. Individuals often submit photographic and motion picture material as part of their UFO reports. All original material submitted will be returned to the individual after completion of necessary studies, analysis, and duplication by the Air Force. m
B Y ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE A I R FORCE
J. P. McCONNELL General, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff
R . J.
Colonel, USAF Director of Administrative
aA• H. -
NEWS RELEASE AIR FORCE SELECTS UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO TO INVESTIGATE UFO REPORTS
CHANGE AIR FORCE REGULATION NO. 80-17A
AFR 80-17A DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE Washington, 8 November 1966 Research and Development UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO)
AFR 80-17, 19 September 1966, is changed as follows:
3c. EXCEPTIONS: FTD at Wright-Patterson . . . for separate investigations. The University of Colorado will, under a research agreement with the Air Force, conduct a study of UFOs. This program (to run approximately 15 months) will be conducted independently and without restrictions. The university will enlist the assistance of other conveniently located institutions that can field investigative teams. All UFO reports will be submitted to the University of Colorado, which will be given the fullest cooperation of all UFO Investigating Officers. Every effort will be made to keep all UFO . reports unclassified. However, if it is necessary to classify a report because of method of detection or other factors not related to the UFO, a separate report including all possible information will be sent to the University of Colorado. 8b(6). University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80302, ATTN: Dr. Condon. (Mail copy of message form.) 8e. Negative or Inapplicable Data. Renumber as paragraph 9. Ilk. Position title, name, rank, official address, telephone area code, office and home phone, and comments of the preparing officer, including his preliminary analysis of the possible cause of the sighting(s). (See paragraph 10.)
B Y ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF T H E A I R FORCE
J. p .
R. J. PUGH Colonel, USAF Director of Administrative
General, U. S. Air Chief of Staff Services
AIR FORCE SELECTS UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO TO INVESTIGATE UFO REPORTS The University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo., has been selected by the Air Force to conduct independent investigations into unidentified flying object (UFO) reports. A research agreement, valued at approximately $300,000, is being negotiated with the university by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to analyze phenomena associated with UFO sightings and to make recommendations on the Air Force's methods of investigating and evaluating UFO reports — a program known as Project Blue Book. A report is expected to be made to the Air Force in early 1968. Dr. Edward U. Condon will direct the scientific phases of the work, while Robert J. Low will serve as project coordinator. Principal investigators working with Dr. Condon will be Dr. Franklin E. Roach and Dr. Stuart W. Cook. Dr. Condon, former director of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a professor of physics at Colorado and a fellow of the Joint Laboratory for Astrophysics which is cosponsored by the university and NBS. Mr. Low is an assistant dean of the university's graduate school. Dr. Cook is chairman of the university's psychology department, and Dr. Roach is an astrophysicist with the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA). Colorado is expected to select several other universities to take part in the research. These and other consultants will bring the number of scientists involved to over 100. The National Academy of Sciences has indicated its willingness to assist by appointing a panel — at the time the Colorado report becomes available to the Air Force — to review the investigating team's work. This panel will not be part of the investigating team, but will provide a further independent check on the scientific validity of the method of investigation. In announcing the selection, Air Force Secretary Harold Brown said, "We are more than pleased to be able to place this grant with respected individuals in a university of such high standing in the scientific community. Additionally, the location of the university should prove invaluable to the investigators, since the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the research headquarters of the Environmental Science Services Administration are located at Boulder. These organizations conduct research on the properties of man's natural environment, specializing in the physical characteristics of the atmosphere and the near-space medium." 51
Air Force Project Blue Book files, as well as any other UFO information in the possession of the Air Force, will be made available to the team. Additionally, all Air Force installations within the United States will assist the team if requested. The investigators will* however, conduct their research independently of and without direction from the Axr Force. The decision to enter into a research agreement for this work was based on a recommendation of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board which completed a review of the resources, methods and findings of Project Blue Book earlier this year. The Board recommended that the program be expanded to include investigation of selected sightings by independent scientists. Within the Department of Defense, the Air Force has the responsibility of investigating UFO reports. The Air Force has been investigating such reports since 19L8 under its role of air defense of the United States, and the university's research does not alter Project Blue Book responsibilities of receiving, investigating and evaluating UFO reports.— OASD/PA News Release wo. 81+7-66, 7 Oct. 1966.
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Shanklin, H. A. 1957), 38+.
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"Taking wo Chances," TIG Brief, XIV (13 April 1962), 18. "Temperature Inversions Cause Flying Saucers," Science Wews Letter, IXII (20 December 1952), 388. "Things That Go Whiz," Time, LIII (9 May 19U9), 98. "UFO's," TIG Brief, XVII (27 August 1965), 17. "Ufology: Wew Report Debunks Belief that UFO's are Buzzing the Earth," Wewsweek, LXII (5 August 1963), hh. "UFO's wot from Mars," Science Wews, XC (3 September 1966), 165. "UFO's Serious Business," TIG Brief, XI (2U December 1959), 15. "532 UFO Sightings Checked During 196U; 16 Remain Unidentified," Air Force Times, XXV (17 March 1965), 7. "UFO's, They're Back in New Sizes, Shapes, Colors," U. S. News, LXI (22 August 1966), 59-60. "UFO's or Kugelblitz," Popular Electra, XXV (September 1966), 81*. "Washington Blips," Life, XXXIII (U August 1952), 39-UO. "Well Witnessed Invasion by Something," Life, LX (1 April 1966), 2U-31. Wood, R. H. "Where Are the Flving Saucers," Aviation Week, LTV (25 June 1951), 7U. ~ ~~ ' Whitney, David C. "Flying Saucers," Look Special (1967), 3-67.
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Other Telephone interviews with 1st Lieutenant William F. Marley, staff of Project Blue Book, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.
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