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|By Paul Dean|
Royal Australian Air Force Officially Cancels UFO Policy Once-And-For-All With Impressive Release Of Documentation
In the 1994, and further in 1996, the Australian Defence Department increasingly and officially washed their hands of the UFO/UAP matter. This came after some 44 years of official Defence handling of the issue, with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the old Department of Air (DOA) begrudgingly doing the lion’s share of the investigative work - if you can call it “investigative work” that is. See, judging by the thousands of declassified and released pages held now at the National Archives of Australia (NAA), its crystal clear that those in RAAF and Aviation officialdom did a sub-standard job of , chronological filing, policy development, and last, but definitely not least, actual investigation. Veteran researcher Bill Chalker stated to me in my first phone conversation with him 6 years ago, that his opinion of the government’s handling of the matter, after looking through the files, was “an entirely lost opportunity” for a proper “scientific appraisal” of the UFO matter. He was right then, and he is right now.
As stated above, the Department of Defence (DOD) washed their hands of the matter in 1996, however, there was still, from 1996 until very recently, one final scant, almost useless, UFO policy for the Defence community to refer to when needed. It was titled “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”. Tonight I can report that even that policy has been cancelled, and I can even give you a date: the 25th of March, 2013. That’s it. The whole sorry state of affairs is really over. The RAAF, and DoD as a whole (with the exception of the RAAF’s 41 Wing “Contacts of Interest” Standing Instructions, of which has nothing to do with the public, or indeed, most of the DoD) truly holds no policy on the UFO matter. You can’t even expect to get a reply email or latter if you contact them. That’s it.
And here is how it ended.
Now, as mentioned above, the former 1996 to 2013 DoD policy on the subject of UFO’s (or Unusual Aerial Sightings as the RAAF referred to the issue) was titled “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”. It was dated 13 Jun 1996, and carries this statement:
This instruction followed the 1994 policy change, which, for example, stated:
“For many years the RAAF was responsible for the handling of Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) at the official level. This function ceased in 1996 after consideration of the scientific record suggested that there was no compelling reason for the RAAF to continue to devote resources to the recording and investigation of UAS.”
“Consideration of the scientific record suggests that, whilst not all UAS have a ready explanation, there is no compelling reason for the RAAF to continue to devote resources to recording, investigating and attempting to explain UAS. The RAAF no longer accepts reports on UAS…”As one can see from these official statements, there was, by the mid-1990’s, a complete lack any interest in the UFO topic, or, any half decent faith in what people, sometimes very highly qualified, had been reporting to the RAAF for decades. It may be important to note here that the 1996 policy was slightly reviewed and amended in the year 2000 too. This becomes important, as we shall see.
“Some UAS may relate to events that could have a defence, security or public safety implications, such as man-made debris falling from space, a burning aircraft or an aircraft making an unauthorised incursion into Australian air space. Where members of the community may have witnessed an event of this type they are encouraged to contact the police, civilian aviation authorities or coast watch.”
On the 25th of June, 2014, I received a letter (which was actually a reply letter to earlier correspondence I sent to the Chief of Air regarding the stunning 1973 North West Cape UFO case) from the RAAF Director of Coordination, Group Captain Catherine Wallis. In her letter to me, she mentioned that the DOD’s 1996 Defence Instruction for Unusual Sightings Policy had been entirely cancelled in March 2013. She actually said, in black-and-white, that “…Defence has no current policy on this issue.”. Effectively, she was stating that the 1996 policy (which was barely a policy at all) had died. This was news to me. So I told those who would listen, and that was that.
Then… I had an idea……
The DOD can’t just “cancel” a Defence Instruction without various layers of administrative action and tasking taking place. There has to be paperwork. I mean, for starters, the actual 3 page policy itself must surely have the word “Cancelled” stamped over it. Or something. So, on the 24th of January, 2015, I sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Defence FOI Branch, explaining to them their own pitiful UFO policy, and its total cancellation, with this brazen demand:
Gotcha, Gotcha, Gotcha!
“I want to be furnished with a copy of the cancellation document(s); I also want to be furnished with copies of any and all material (memorandums; email letters; minutes of meetings; references to secondary material used in decision making processes; loose minutes; interagency correspondence with civil aviation bodies; etc.) that were created, used or “went in” to cancelling the above mentioned policy.”
On the 27th January 2015, I received a reply from the Defence FOI Branch stating that my request for said material was valid, and would be processed. Nine weeks later, the requested material was emailed to me, on the 15th of April to be exact, and it contained a single PDF of 58 pages of Defence material: internal emails, briefs, minutes, distribution lists, procedural documents, and, of course, the actual cancellation of “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”, or, rather the policy front page, still intact, but with the word “Cancelation” at the bottom. Above (top) is an image of the policy cancellation. After 60 years of official involvement in the UFO, or “UAS”, matter, our DoD, spearheaded by the RAAF, that one word “Cancelation” formally finalises their having anything to do with the UFO/UAP phenomenon. I just hope that when a really serious incident occurs over Australia, witnessed by hundreds, plotted on synthetic aperture radar, over thousands of square kilometres, that they get their act together and take matters more seriously.
In my Part Two of this piece (hopefully published very soon) I will highlight the details from the other 57 pages of material they furnished me with, which is the process work which went into cancelling the policy, the opinions, the procedures and the bureaucracy involved. One day someone will look back and see what a piece of messy history it all is.
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