Tag Archives: ADMIN 55-1

UFO Policy Cancelled By Royal Australian Air Force (Pt-2)

FASMECC - Out of Date Defence Instructions 9-28-2012
– click on image(s) to enlarge –

Paul Dean By Paul Dean

     In Part 1 of this piece I discussed the May, 2013 cancellation of the Australian Department of Defence’s (DOD) “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”. Historically, it will be considered, one day, an important chapter in Australian UFO history. Right now, however, it is somewhat of a non-event. The policy was a buck-passing administrative instruction that merely stated that the DOD, especially the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), doesn’t handle “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS) anymore, and hadn’t done for a very long time. So the 2013 cancellation of such a policy has had little to no impact on the UFO issue in Australia. But how did it all come about at the DOD?

In a FASMECC (First Assistant Secretary, Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication) Minute, dated 28th September 2012, a three-stage review of old DOD Defence Instructions (General) policies was highlighted as being underway. The Minute states, in part:

“3. For the second stage of the review, I request that you review the list of DI(G) at Enclosure 1 and, for those DI(G) you sponsor, undertake one of the following activities:

a) advise the Directorate of Administrative Policy (DAP) that the DI(G) is no longer required and should therefore be cancelled; or
b) enter the DI(G) into the formal SoDI process by submitting a request for in-principle agreement to DAP; or
c) advise DAP that you are no longer the correct sponsor of the DI(G) so that arrangements can be made to transfer it to another Group or Service, if appropriate.”

Imaged above, top is the Minute provided to me by Defence.

Thus, it is established that some older Defence policies are either no longer required, or, otherwise unworkable or inconsistent with current DOD activities. A list of such policies was provided to me, and, our policy of interest, “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy” happened to be in “Stage Two” of the general DOD reviews. Furthermore, all old Defence Instructions (General) polices must go through a “risk assessment” which, I believe, takes into consideration legal enforcement of any given policy, security risks, and the like. In a 12th November, 2012, email from a Joanne Terry to Wendy Marman, Assistant Director of Administrative Policy, Defence Freedom of Information and Information Management Branch (FOIIMB), it was stated that a Group Captain Watts, RAAF, had responded to the decision to review the RAAF’s UAS policy, and in Group Captain Watt’s response it stated:

“DI(G) ADMIN 55-1 – We have received the background brief and risk assessment for this because AF want to review it. The background brief states that AF were responsible for the handling of unusual aerial sightings, however the function ceased in 1996. It goes on to say that AF no longer monitors this field but that bases still regularly received calls from members of the public. The policy provides guidance for base personnel about what to do when they receive such calls. The risk assessment came out at LOW. As you would be aware DI(G) are a tier one document and tier one documents are our high risk administrative policy documents, they must contain a compliance paragraph as well. This policy does not need to be a DI(G). My strong recommendation is that you cancel it and replace it with SOPs to the bases. I am unable to accept this as a request for in principle agreement and cannot see any reason contained in the background brief that would give us sufficient reason to recommend its review to FASMECC. We will not take any further action on this DI(G) and will await your advice.”

The actual Defence email is imaged below:

DI(G) ADMIN 55-1
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Say again? A RAAF officer recommends indeed cancelling the UAS policy and to “replace it with SOPs to the bases?” In military speak, SOP merely stands for Standard Operating Procedure. So, this is saying that the RAAF were seriously considering bringing back some sort of base-level response to public enquiries or reports. An SOP on this matter will merely be a one-page, unclassified standard procedural document which sits there on a local hard drive and any RAAF base officer who receives a UFO enquiry can merely refer to the SOP and fob off the person who is making the effort to call them. I guess it could apply to media outlets who phone bases too, but, currently, the DOD Public Relations area handle those sort of enquiries and probably always will – though not very well. Whatever the situation, I will be submitting an FOI request to Defence on the SOP matter to see if anything did come of it. Anyway, as stated in the above text, Group Captain Watts stated that the “risk assessment” for the UAS policy “came out at LOW”, and that, finally, once and for all, “This policy does not need to be a DI(G).”.

Furthermore, in a 13th of November, 2012, internal Defence email, from Wendy Marman to Squadron Leader Jodie Hatch, RAAF, it was stated, in part:

“Thank you for submitting the IPA documentation for DI(G) ADMIN 55-1. As you can see from the response from Directorate of Administrative Policy (DAP) provided below this does not meet the criteria for a DI(G) under the revised SoDI system. In the light of that advice we recommend a cancellation of DI(G) as part of Stage Two review. Our area is happy to discuss with you the most relevant form of instruction to cover this policy (Perhaps an Air Command SI?).”

So, again, not unlike the mentioning of a base level “SOP” we see at least some sort of consideration in continuing a small degree of further responsibility for the UFO, or “UAS”, matter, however watered down. In this instance, as stated above in the email, an Air Command “SI” is eluded to. For those unfamiliar, an “SI” is a “Standing Instruction” promulgated and maintained by the Defence Department’s larger Command’s and Group’s. Once again, I will be finding out what came of this proposal quick smart. Whatever the final outcome of further and ever-weakening RAAF response to the UFO/UAS (SOP’s or SI’s or something else?), a 14th of November, 2012, email further sent “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy” to the grave:

“No further action necessary on this one from AF. FASMECC will shortly send out a Minute to Group Heads and Service Chiefs advising the final list for cancellation for Stage 2.”

And that is how it 50 years of official RAAF interest, or lack thereof, in the UFO/UAP came to an end. There is of course a fair bit more in the material I was sent, but it is almost all internal DOD emails and minutes which restate the same bureaucratic issues and procedural actions over and over again. One thing that may have been of interest was the final distribution list for the cancellation of “Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy”. Below is the actual list of internal Defence agencies, offices and divisions that received news of the policy cancellation. Lucky them. When time permits, I will delve into the operations of a few of them, and see if anything useful can be gleaned.

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UFO Policy Cancelled By Royal Australian Air Force

Cancellation of Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1, Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy
– click on image(s) to enlarge –

Paul Dean By Paul Dean

Royal Australian Air Force Officially Cancels UFO Policy Once-And-For-All With Impressive Release Of Documentation

Part 1

      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:

“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.”

This instruction followed the 1994 policy change, which, for example, stated:

“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…”

“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.”

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.

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:

“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.”

Gotcha, Gotcha, Gotcha!

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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