The government needs to do far more to investigate reports of unexplained objects flying around the sky, wrote Christopher Mellon, who served deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, in a piece for the Washington Post.
A number of videos of US pilots encountering unexplained objects appear to suggest that there exists aircraft far superior to anything known to be held by America or its allies, said Mr Mellon, who is now part of the To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science, an organisation devoted to investigating such phenomena. Those might not be the work of alien civilisations – but if they are not, they appear to suggest that another Earth-bound country such as China or Russia has technology that we do not know about.
Either way, the strange and unexplained videos appear to suggest that there is something that urgently needs to be investigated. But up and down the chain of command in the Pentagon people are anxious about treating the bizarre videos as connected events rather than strange individual occurrences, he claimed.
"If these craft mean that Russia, China or some other nation is concealing an astonishing technological breakthrough to quietly extend its lead, surely we should respond as we did then," Mr Mellon wrote. "Perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent chest-thumping claims about propulsion breakthroughs are not pure braggadocio.
"Or, if these craft really aren’t from Earth, then the need to figure out what they are is even more urgent."
Much of the resistance against doing so is to do with fear about being ridiculed or pigeonholed as someone who is too concerned about extraterrestrials, he said.
"But nobody wants to be “the alien guy” in the national security bureaucracy; nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue," Mr Mellon wrote. "This is true up and down the chain of command, and it is a serious and recurring impediment to progress."
Mr Mellon was writing as new footage was revealed by To The Stars that appeared to show pilots tracking an unexplained object as it flew across the ocean. In that video, pilots express surprise that the object is moving so fast, and experts suggested that whatever they were tracking didn't appear as a normal plane.
It followed a set of strange videos and information released by the New York Times at the end of last year. That similar footage also appeared to show US Navy pilots tracking unexplained objects.