BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
In case you haven’t heard by now, let me break it to you: the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has released a tidbit of information appearing to confirm–however tacitly–the existence of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) or, more popularly known as, UFOs. In the last two years videos have been released by former US Navy aviation officers from 2005, some video off the coast of California and some videos from missions off the coast of Virginia. In these videos, the craft observed by the US Navy pilots appear like white, pill-shaped vehicles; they hover off the ocean, perform radical maneuvers, and then launch themselves thousands of feet into the air–at incredible speeds–defying all known laws of physics in the process.
In another compelling video, a group of Navy warplanes are conducting training off the coast of Virginia when one of the Navy aviators claims there’s “a whole fleet” of these unknown craft. Another speculates that the vehicles are drones of some sort. No confirmation is ever given. In fact, when the videos were released over the last two years, the witnesses, unlike other UFO events, were not subjected to the same sorts of character assassinations that previous UFO witnesses have been put to. This is likely because their rank and recent service to their country is impeccable. What the Pentagon did not do until this week, was admit that the videos were true and the Naval aviators sharing these videos were being entirely honest with what they saw.
Of course, the DoD did not admit to knowing what the vehicles were. All they did was admit that the voracity of those reporting the videos to the public was outstanding and the events did happen–and they remain unexplained. Now, let’s think about this for a moment. In the video, one of the pilots speculates that they must be some kind of drone. Indeed, the Pentagon has been developing an array of automated warfare capabilities.
America’s reliance on drones for everything from surveillance to targeted assassinations (let’s get real here, that’s what they are) has only increased since the horrific events of 9/11 and the horribly named “Global War on Terror” began. Initially, the drone capabilities, like any new technology, were limited, but now the longer we’ve used the technology and innovated–in real-time–the capability, it is not unreasonable to believe that the folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been cooking up something nice to deploy against our foes (of which, we have many).
Then again, though, it is possible that we are experiencing a brilliant disinformation campaign. After all, DARPA has lost much of its luster over the years (I say this as a proponent of that agency). One former head of the agency privately lamented this several years back in conversation. Although the agency (and similar groups) continue conducting cutting-edge research, and we will never know the extent and nature of that which they are producing for many years to come, the kind of maneuverability the UAPs are claimed to have exhibited might yet still be out of our reach.
Instead, recognizing that there are growing threats to the United States, not only from stateless terrorist organizations but also from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and in the very least, China, continues to increase its own technological capabilities, it would behoove the Pentagon to keep our enemies on their toes by claiming to have sophisticated capabilities in public that we actually don’t possess.
It wouldn’t be the first time the United States bluffed an opponent into oblivion with promises of technological greatness that eventually never came to pass. This was precisely what the Reagan Administration did with former President Ronald Reagan’s calls for the construction of space-based laser missile defense system, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Now, it is clear that President Reagan believed we could have built the system during his presidency and did, in fact, make commitments to doing so.
But Reagan’s national security adviser at the time (and other experts in his administration), such as Robert MacFarlane, were highly skeptical about the technical abilities for the United States to produce such a system–let alone the legal ramifications of having “weaponized” space. Despite their skepticism about the technical ability to produce and launch such a system in orbit, MacFarlane and many other skeptics were more than happy to go along with propagating the claim the United States had such capabilities, so as to spend the Soviet Union out of existence (which, of course, SDI ended up doing that).
Something similar, though nowhere near as comprehensive, may be at play here. Look, the United States is getting its rear end kicked in the technology competition with China. Yes, we have the most tech companies. No, however, they are not the most innovative–at least not as much as we think–and the Chinese most certainly are catching up (in some cases with the help of the very same US tech firms that are most at risk of losing out to the Chinese). Even when they are dismissive of the United States, America has built up enough of a reputation of being a global superpower that even our most capable foes, like China, are hesitant to truly test the United States. This is why so many rivals have embraced asymmetrical forms of warfare to employ against the Americans. They see it as insulating themselves from direct US military reprisal.
Yet, the very idea that these foes are seeking to use global guerrilla warfare tactics against the United States, or that the United States is nowhere near as technologically dominant as it was even a decade ago, indicates that the government must do something to keep its foes off-balance. Fabricating this UAP story; putting the hint out there that we’ve got something–possibly–unlike anything the Chinese or Russians have seen produces doubt and uncertainty in the minds of our foes. Doubt and uncertainty lead to fear. Hopefully it also leads to improper action that ultimately weakens those foes and sends them down the proverbial rabbit hole, giving the United States time to develop real countermeasures to the threats currently arrayed against the country.
As the great detective once said, “Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” As a science fiction nerd and someone who considers himself open-minded and unconventional, I do not discount the prospect that US military forces have indeed encountered something extraterrestrial. I just find it hard to believe. As Neil deGrasse Tyson, the noted physicist is so fond of chiding his audiences, “It’s not aliens.” As fun as it is to speculate–and it is–I think a more terrestrial explanation is at play. What’s more, I think we may be in the midst of a giant disinformation operation conducted by our DoD. And if that is the case, God bless them. For too long American disinformation capabilities have been allowed to wither on the vine; we’ve been just a little too open and honest with our enemies about our capabilities and intentions.
Engaging in such chicanery, while it may get the “I Want to Believe” crowd going with false hope, helps the United States keep its enemies back. And as American capabilities decline relative to powers like China, we will need every edge we can get to stay competitive. So, it is certainly possible that aliens are buzzing our Naval aviators, but it is not probable. What is probable is that the US government is using disinformation to defend itself.
Another possibility, as mentioned above, is that our masters of the Dark Arts at DARPA are actually testing an exotic technology they’ve been developing; a new drone with an amazing new engine system or something similar. Or worse, Heaven’s forbid, that the Russians or Chinese have acquired exotic technology and they are sending signals that we had better watch out for them because they have capabilities that even we don’t yet possess. But if that were the case, I believe we would have already seen more levels of aggression from these countries beginning years ago. That is why I suspect this is either an American disinformation campaign or an actual test of a new American weapons system.
One thing is certain: we are entering into the most dynamic decade of the modern era. Not since the 1930s or 1960s has this country ever experienced a greater time of extreme change and pernicious, rising threat levels since those two time periods. We will need every ace up our national defense sleeve to stay competitive–and ahead–of our variegated rivals. Time will tell if the United States stumbles out of this dynamic decade in one piece or, a disunited, chaotic, failed state that should belong to the legion of Failed States in Latin America rather than the West. Again, we’ll see.