In late 2017, the alleged disclosure of a black budget government research project known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) changed the contemporary conversation surrounding UFOs and what the U.S. government may know about them. As it turns out, the Department of Defense is quite aware of many anomalous or otherwise unidentified aerial phenomena which regularly enter U.S. airspace and easily outrun the very best aircraft we have. Who knew?

Naturally, there are those within the government who encourage the study of these phenomena and those who want to ignore them. However, there are voices within the intelligence and defense agencies which argue United States government has an obligation to study these phenomena to determine if they pose a threat to American air superiority, the American people, or humanity itself.


That’s according to Chris Mellon, who served for two decades in various intelligence advisory roles within the U.S. government including Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Intelligence from 1999 to 2002. Mellon currently serves as “national security affairs adviser” for Tom DeLonge’s To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and as a consultant on its upcoming History channel series UnidentifiedIn a new essay published by The Hill, Mellon pulls no punches in declaring prior attempts to study the UFO phenomenon to be failures:

Most Americans would no doubt agree that our inability to identify scores of mysterious aircraft repeatedly violating restricted U.S. military airspace in recent years is a shocking failure.

Mellon argues that given the overwhelming evidence, the United States Congress must act to mandate a report on UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena. The evidence is clear that these phenomena exist and are much more frequent than we know, Mellon writes, meaning it’s time the government for the government to finally get to the bottom of the UFO phenomenon once and for all:

If UAPs turn out to be toys of Elon Musk’s making, we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. If they are Russian, we’ll be glad we took action now rather than kicking the can down the road. If we learn that someone else’s more advanced version of our Voyager spacecraft has reached Earth, then this humble measure will forever transform our understanding of the universe and man’s place within it.  

Let's hope they are Elon Musk's toys. Mellon doesn’t outright call for full disclosure, instead merely arguing that Congress must “require the secretary of Defense and the director of national intelligence to review the UAP issue and deliver a report providing a comprehensive assessment.” It’s unknown if Congressional committees would make such a report public even if it’s ever produced, and Mellon himself argues that the Trump administration "should be free to provide the report at whatever level of classification it deems appropriate," but come on: why would the government want citizens to know there are freaky outer space gizmos whizzing around overhead that make the F/A-18 look like a failed Wright Brothers model? That’s bad for Boeing  sales.

Still, it’s reassuring to see major political publications taking the UAP phenomenon seriously enough to publish such an opinion piece. The timing makes me wonder, though: is all of this merely part of the publicity campaign for the History channel’s upcoming series? History is owned by Hearst and Disney, huge media conglomerates with extensive reach within the media. It’s not too far-fetched to wonder if some strings have been pulled to get this piece published.

Then again, this could be a sign that more voices are joining the chorus calling for disclosure of the government's UFO research. Are the AATIP revelations a smokescreen or the first taste of public disclosure?

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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