Subject: SCU Statement regarding the ODNI report entitled, “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified
From: Scientific Coalition for Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Studies (SCU)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE; July 31, 2021
On June 25, 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report entitled
“Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” This report was mandated as part of
the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (IAA). The Scientific Coalition for UAP
Studies (SCU) has read the report and released an initial view of the report on June 28, 2021. The
review that follows is the SCU’s position after a team review by individuals with backgrounds in
security and intelligence as well as other SCU members.
Overall, the SCU is encouraged by the tone of the report. Understanding that UAP present a safety
in flight issue would seem to require that the Department of Defense (DoD) will need to come to
some conclusions and take some actions at some point. A few key statements from the report
include the admission that a variety of sensors are detecting UAP including various
electromagnetic sensing, radar, EO/IR and visual and weapon seeking technologies. While being
cautious, the report admits that there are unknowns and outlines a way forward, calling for
“...standardized reporting, increased analysis, and a streamlined process for screening such
reports...”, and calls for the resources to do so.
This call to action was immediately taken up by Dr. Kathleen Hicks, the Deputy Secretary of
Defense, in the memo dated June 25, 2021. In this memo, Dr. Hicks calls for development of a
plan to establish procedures for collection and analysis. This includes new organization, staffing
and resources necessary to do the job, and importantly, that it be developed in coordination with
all the militaries, Joint Chiefs, Combatant Commanders, the Director of National Intelligence and
“relevant interagency partners.” This is a sweeping policy memorandum, and we will be following
this in the months to come and see how this policy is developed.
The report was cautious in its interpretation of events, pointing out that some observations could
be the result of “sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception”, and would require additional
analysis, hence the call for guiding resources into a new agency for collection and analysis. A
curious statement of equipment readiness was also included, admitting that various sensors that
could register UAP “generally operate correctly.” There are always technicians working on,
calibrating, and performing preventive maintenance on all shipboard equipment to make sure it is
always operating within standards. Malfunctioning equipment would be the least likely cause for
The IAA initially called for detailed analyses to be included in this report. Unfortunately, no data or analyses was included. If it is included in the classified annex to this report then the public may not be able to see this data. This whole process is also limited to DoD incursions, UAP that have
been seen over DoD installations and in DoD training and exercise areas.
In 144 cases, 80 were registered by multiple sensors. This is very significant and would be difficult
to ignore. Multi-witness and radar visual cases have been the backbone of historical case studies.
Having multiple sensor data, especially from modern sensor designs, for instance the pilots from
the USS Nimitz/ USS Princeton encounter having ATFLIR, multiple radar, along with visual
confirmation is exactly what we need to gather good data and make detailed conclusions about the
nature of these phenomena. This information needs to be in the hands of scientists, not just military
analysts. While the report lacks specific details of the analysis of the unidentified phenomena data
collected through various methods, it does point out that eighteen of the 144 reports “appear to
demonstrate advanced technology,” yet, again, there is no specific information given of these
The report indicated that the UAP show some degree of “signature management”. There was an
indication that the F/A-18 pilot that recorded the Tic Tac video had experienced some jamming
effects while trying to sense this thing. If this were an adversary to the United States this would
make sense. Again, we do not have the specifics and are left with little data.
The information box titled “UAP Collection Challenges” points out a couple of key challenges.
One is the ridicule associated with reporting these events. CDR Fravor and LCDR Slaight spoke
on this when they had their 2004 encounter. Now, perhaps with this reporting and congressional
involvement this stigma will decrease, and reporting will become the norm. The second key
takeaway is that the sensors that are being used on military equipment are designed for specific
purposes. New designs need to be developed to focus on the UAP exhibiting abnormal
accelerations as more information is collected. An example of this is the new phased array radar
systems now on F-18 SuperHornets. They are able to detect smaller cross sections, can neutralize
clutter more effectively, and can be steered near light speed according to Raytheon. Hopefully,
these new designs will be part of the planning implemented when the new agency is organized,
and resources are allocated.
So far, this process has been Navy driven with little to no public input by the Air Force or NORAD.
There is information that the Air Force has been implementing reporting standards of its own, also
included in this report, which indicates that their personnel are also experiencing UAP events. It
would be helpful to also see some of the basic information available from all military sources.
Another avenue for investigation and collection is the huge number of historical cases that have
been collected and analyzed by serious researchers that have been studying these phenomena for
decades. It would be of great value for the agency responsible to be briefed and educated about the
history of the phenomenon. The SCU can be instrumental in providing this information and also
has a significant membership of scientists ready to assist.
In all, the report is a step in the right direction. While the IAA called for data analysis in its report,
ultimately it was not included in the preliminary report. Yet, we are hopeful that this data could be
forthcoming as a result of the organization of a collection and analysis agency as called for by the
Deputy Secretary of Defense. SCU is prepared to lend its scientific resources and would welcome
a call to assist the government agencies involved.
About this “Statement regarding the ODNI report entitled “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”.
We want to thank Robert Powell, Executive Board Member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, for sending us this document.
We have read carefully the document elaborated by this Coalition and here are our comments:
1) Although the title of the statement says that it is “regarding the ODNI report”, it essentially omits many important concepts of the report, but refers to declarations of pilots, and an instrument created by Raytheon company, all of which do not belong to the ODNI report.
2) The document emphasizes in many ways the use of sensors in the apparent detection of UAP. But the emphasis is in any way justified because the ODNI report specifically indicates that: “The sensors mounted on U.S. military platforms are typically designed to fulfill specific missions. As a result, those sensors are not generally suited for identifying UAP.” and also that “some UAP may be attributable to sensor anomalies.”
3) Incredibly, the statement of the SCU has no reference whatsoever to very important concepts developed by the UAPTF:
A) “Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities.”
B) “Some UAP may be technologies deployed by China, Russia, another nation, or a non-governmental entity.”
4) The SCU statement tries that old “cases” investigated ---not all of them appropriately or applying scientific criteria— be included in the consideration of the UAPTF. But there are two unavoidable factors to have in mind: A) what matters now is what is going on currently, not things of the past, B) the UAPTF summarizes what it has encountered in its investigation and that can be perfectly attributed to things well known in the past: Airborne Clutter: “include birds, balloons, recreational unmanned aerial vehicles UAV [e.g. drones - MWH], airborne debris like plastic bags that muddle a scene and affect an operator’s ability to identify true targets, such as enemy aircraft”. Natural Atmospheric Phenomena: “includes ice crystals, moisture, and thermal fluctuations that may register on some infrared and radar systems.” USG or Industry Developmental Programs; “Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities.”
Therefore, to include voluminous archives of old cases as part of the task to be developed by the UAPTF only will interfere with the imperative mandate to deal with events happening now. In that sense, the Task Force refers appropriately to Foreign Adversary Systems: “Some UAP may be technologies deployed by China, Russia, another nation, or a non-governmental entity.”
All of these very important criteria are omitted by the SCU in his document.
5) Finally, the SCU is confused concerning the letter that the Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks sent to Senior Pentagon Leadership, Commanders of the Combatant Commands, Defense Agency, and DoD Field Activity Directors. Dr. Hicks proposes the coordination of activities between all the Armed Forces.
She is not creating a new agency dealing with UAP; on the contrary, she ends his Memorandum saying: “All members of the Department will utilize these processes to ensure that the UAPTF; or its follow-on activity, has reports of UAP observations within two weeks of an occurrence."
By the way, this last paragraph emphasizes the relevance of current events related to the UAP, not old ones, and the pertinent work of the UAPTF.
On August 4, 2021, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (IAA) which includes provisions to significantly bolster the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).
6) We agree with the SCU that the information gathered about UAP "needs to be in the hands of scientists, not just military analysts." Also, it should imply the work of many technicians.
7) The SCU ends its document by saying "SCU is prepared to lend its scientific resources and would welcome a call to assist the government agencies involved.” This attitude is very commendable.
We think that those of us dedicated to the investigation and study of the UAP applying the scientific method should be ready to help in case of any consultation coming from the UAPTF, without any lucrative interest or aspiration on our part.
Iowa City, August 26, 2021