A member of the House of Representatives says the recent uptick in news regarding what many would call unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, something The War Zone has been a leading investigative source of, could reflect emerging threats to U.S. national airspace and homeland security, rather than simply military and intelligence concerns. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina, has now written an open letter to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer asking for more details about what that service is doing to record and assess sightings of what are increasingly referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP.
Walker, who is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the ranking Republican on its Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, wrote the letter to Spencer on July 16, 2019. He subsequently made it public on his website on July 29, 2019, three days after he went on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to voice his concerns.
"The reports mention the existence of these encounters both domestically and abroad during various [U.S. military] missions and trainings," Walker wrote in his letter. "Additionally, there have been reports of significant investments in advanced aerospace technologies like the recorded UAP encounters by China."
"If the accounts are true, the unidentified crafts could pose a serious security risk to our military personnel and defense apparatus," he continued. "As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, these reports are concerning from a national airspace and domestic security perspective."
You can read the full letter below.
"As the ranking member of terrorism and counterintelligence [Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism], we have questions," Walker told Carlson. "It comes down to some of the new infrared radar systems that we're putting on some of our new jets are detecting some things out there."
"Is this something that’s a defense mechanism from another country? We do know that China is looking at hypersonic missiles," Walker continued. "We don’t know if the nuclear warheads can be attached to those, is it something like that or is it something more? We don’t know but I feel like it’s something we must take a look at, and that’s why we’ve written Secretary Spencer of the Navy."
You can watch the full interview below.
Walker's reference to "infrared radar systems" appears to be a conflation of the fact the apparent increase in Navy UAP sightings has coincided with the service's development and fielding of new radar systems, particularly the AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and plans to give those same aircraft, among others, podded infrared search and track (IRST) sensors in the coming years. The War Zone was the first to explore how these developments have impacted UAP reporting and will continue to do so in the future.
The comments regarding China in Walker's letter are less clear, but it appears that he is referring to advanced aerospace developments that the Chinese have been reportedly pursuing that might help explain at least some UAP sightings. In June 2019, The War Zone was first to report that Dr. James Sheehy, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the Naval Aviation Enterprise at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), had cited Chinese work in various related fields in a letter of support for a set of patent applications that Navy researcher Dr. Salvatore Cezar Pais had first begun to file in 2016. Pais subsequently obtained those patents, which border on the science fiction, and The War Zone has analyzed them in detail and continues to investigate their origins and validity.
Whatever the exact issues or concerns were that prompted Walker to reach out to Secretary Spencer, he says he wants to know how the Navy logs reported sightings and investigates them, as well as what resources the service is dedicating to these tasks. In addition, he wants to know if there is any "physical evidence or otherwise" that backs up any of the existing reports, which could include radar and other sensor data.
There have also been claims that U.S. military offices charged with looking into these claims had actual physical remains of UFOs, but there has been nothing conclusive to substantiate them. However, these assertions have persisted, with Luis Elizondo, who has self-described himself as the former head of the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program (AATIP), repeating them again in a separate interview on Tucker Carlson's show just in May 2019, as seen in the view below. Between 2008 and 2012, AATIP was charged with investigating UAP reports, among other things.
Walker also wants to know if the Navy is aware of any "private companies or foreign nations" who might have made revolutionary aerospace developments that would explain the UAP reports.
These requests, as well as the letter's very existence, are notable. That the Congressman from North Carolina does not already have answers to his questions, including the full scope of the Navy's publicly announced new UAP reporting procedures, strongly suggests that the U.S. government continues to treat these sightings almost exclusively as military and foreign intelligence issues, rather than ones that could impact homeland security.
This would certainly fit with what we have learned so far about AATIP, and its predecessor, the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications (AAWSA) program, which were housed at various times under the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. AAWSA, in particular, was under the direction of the DIA's Defense Warning Office, which exists specifically to monitor for potential advanced technological developments that could threaten U.S. national security.
Even so, it would be particularly curious if none of the members of the House's Homeland Security Committee had received a briefing from the Navy on the subject, given the obvious domestic security implications. If some members of the committee had received such a briefing, but Walker had not, it is hard to imagine he would not have complained about this fact in his letter. The Navy has publicly said that it has provided briefings to multiple legislators with regards to the UAP issue, though it has not provided a full list of lawmakers who have gotten one or offered details about the information therein. Some of these briefings may have included still-classified explanations for at least some of the UAP reports.
The War Zone
has already reported that the UAP issue had become so pronounced that Navy base commanders on the East Coast of the United States were issuing Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) warning about them simply as potential hazards to safe flight. This would support Walker's assertion that these are national airspace and domestic security issues as much as they are military and foreign intelligence ones.
With his letter to Secretary of the Navy Spencer now a matter of public record, it will be interesting to see if Walker shares any information he gets in response and whether his open prodding has an impact on how the service, as well as the U.S. military as a whole, together with the U.S. Intelligence Community, treats UAP sightings going forward.
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