A career’s worth of intelligence work for the U.S. Government has taught me one key lesson: national security is a lot like playing a game of chess. You have to anticipate your opponent’s every move in order to remain one step ahead.
Disclosing your strategy will be used against you. But if you recognize certain opportunities, you can win the match.
When I headed the government’s highly sensitive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), I worked with a team to assess whether a particular chess piece — in this case in the form of an unfamiliar aerial technology — was a threat to our side of the chess board.
If it was, we had to know how to counter it.
Since the Government views Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) as a potential national security issue, they’re secretive by necessity. They don’t want to reveal any information to a potential enemy.
But there are risks to keeping that information classified.
Say the person who first learned how to harness fire never shared it with the next generation, or the person who invented the telescope threw it away when he was done using it. What if the creator of the wheel decided it was too labor intensive for others to build and decided, “Forget it”?
As a species, we’re meant to evolve. And we needed those advancements to get to where we are today. Reports of strange crafts with seemingly inexplicable properties have been circulating within the U.S. Government for at least 70 years, which suggests it isn’t going away. There is “something out there.”
Declassifying certain information about UAP and sharing it with the public could lead to new technological discoveries, new forms of medical research, and a broader view of how humanity understands reality.
A government must assume anything is a threat until it has been proven otherwise.
When determining whether an unknown entity is friend or foe, the U.S. Government looks at factors including capabilities, intentions, vulnerabilities, and exploitability. A close look at these factors reveals just how little UAPs are understood.
Advancements in our understanding of physics at the quantum level have helped shed faint light on the potential science behind UAPs. But these advancements have also shown us that UAPs have superior technical knowledge as well.
If these capabilities fell into the hands of a foreign adversary, it would be a decisive game-changer.
Likewise, the intentions of UAPs haven’t been made clear to us at this point. There could be a number of reasons for their presence, ranging from peaceful curiosity to a probe for battlespace preparation. The possibilities are numerous.
UAP vulnerabilities, however, remain a complete mystery. Some have hypothesized that there’s a correlation between UAPs and our nuclear capabilities, while others have suggested that nuclear-generated electromagnetic pulses are a potential weakness.
Regardless, we still don’t really know what vulnerabilities UAPs might have short of speculation. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess.
From a national security perspective, exploitation is the holy grail of endeavors. It’s critical to determine whether UAP technology could be reverse-engineered and used to our benefit, but we can’t exploit such technology unless we first understand it.
When it comes to UAPs, the U.S. knows less than it should, and perhaps much less than our adversaries.
The potential rewards outweigh the risks.
There is always a risk involved when it comes to communicating national security issues to the public. But it’s subjective. The significance of that risk depends on who you ask.
If you ask a military leader, for example, they would say government secrecy about advanced aerospace phenomena is crucial because you want to avoid broadcasting your capabilities and intentions to your potential enemy.
A politician would view UAPs completely differently. They may ask, “Is this something potential voters need to know, or will concealing it cause my constituents to lose faith in me? How does this discussion affect the voters and my ability to represent them?”
A religious figure, on the other hand, would likely be more concerned with the religious and philosophical implications UAPs might have on his or her faith.
There are countless examples throughout history of individuals challenging the prevailing systems of power with radical scientific ideas.
When Galileo told the church hundreds of years ago that Earth was not the center of the solar system, for example, they nearly killed him for it.
As someone without a political or religious agenda, I’m free to say the rewards outweigh the risks in this situation. For example, in December 2017 our team at To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science helped release U.S. military footage of UAPs. No government imploded, no religion dissolved.
Like Galileo, our mission is simple. Collect and disseminate the truth about the unknown. As long as the risks don’t compromise national security, the rewards can benefit all.
Scientific truths help push society forward.
At this point, there’s no question about whether UAPs are out there — they are. People can choose to either continue to live with their heads buried in the sand, or they can take a proactive approach to the phenomenon.
Centuries ago, when mankind first stood on the shores of a beach and contemplated sailing across the horizon, the chorus shouted, “You’re crazy! You’re going to fall off the Earth! There are sea monsters!”
But now, in the 21st century, people travel across oceans every day. What our ancestors thought were sea monsters are great white sharks, blue whales, and giant squid. It turns out that they’re just another part of our natural environment.
Once people committed to discovering the truth for themselves, it was no longer mystical, it was just nature.
But because government processes demand secrecy when it comes to classified information, false knowledge about UAPs spreads rapidly. Secrecy empowers people selling their snake oil and YouTubers profit from peddling their ill-informed narratives about UFOs. Soon people start believing Elvis lives on the mothership — just as they once believed you could fall off the edge of the Earth.
The more knowledge people have, the better they will be able to master their own destinies, and not be held hostage to the monsters of their imaginations.
Why Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Are A National Security Risk And Also An Opportunity For Progress was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.