Thursday, 4 February 2016

US Air Force Space Command Records Show Interest Over Famed    Australian Book

I didn’t envisage writing a piece that was essentially non-UFO related, but, I found something during the course of my research that was too hard to pass up. After the United States Air Force (USAF) shut down the deplorably under-resourced and uninterested investigative study of the UFO matter, there was left a hefty void. American civilians were left reporting serious events to private UFO groups, city police departments and sheriff’s offices, bemused aerodrome staff and other outfits who were unequipped to deal with anything that fell outside their immediate obligations. On the flipside, UFO reporting within military channels was buried underground and became shielded from pesky Congressmen and tabloid journalists – a spectacle that still goes on to this day. I believe that this issue – and not just in the USA, but throughout the western world – constitutes one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

It’s time to blow the lid on this charade, and I am doing just that.

This work has already begun in the form my “NORAD and the UFO Smokescreen” series, and a handful reports about the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) 41 Wing. This is the tip of a very large iceberg. I will, this year and next, be presenting all new findings regarding the old US Space Command (USSPACECOM); the current US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and the respective Air Force, Army and Navy space components that make up its functionality, including the subordinate Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC-SPACE); the Fourteenth Air Force (14 AF)/Air Forces Strategic (AFSTRAT); the Federal Aviation Administration, and a lot more. To embark on any of this, one has to studiously search for official governmental records. One particular component of the USAF that is coming under my extreme scrutiny is Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). I will be dedicating entire blog pieces to AFSPC in due course. While searching through a well-hidden, on-line archive of military publications relating to US efforts in space, I came across what is known as a “History”. All military bodies – from mighty Unified Combatant Command’s down to small squadrons or companies – produce regular histories which contain generalised information spanning 2 or 6 months, or sometimes a year. These publications enclose broad budget and fiscal records, organisational diagrams, lists of visiting dignitaries, the implementation of new projects, special events, and such like. These publications are written by a resident historian or administrative committee, and are rarely classified very highly. Recently, I came across the 1987 History of the AFSPC, and it contains two pages that, while not related to the UFO matter, may be of considerable interest to a fair few Australian researchers of varying disciplines.

Who remembers the book “A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar” by Australian academic Desmond Ball? The book debated the risks of Australia hosting the USAF operated Nurrangar facility near Woomera. The base was a key US Defence Support Program (DSP) node until its closure in 1999. Politically, it became a symbol of US–Australian relations, attracting controversy year-in, year-out, and raised fears that the site would encourage a Soviet nuclear attack on Australian soil. Ball recommended either prompt closure of the Nurrungar facility, or, stringent conditions on its nuclear war-fighting role. With this in mind, I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when I stumbled across mention of Ball’s controversial book in the official 1987 AFSPC History. Feast your eyes on the below front cover.

The section realting to “A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar” by our man starts a third of the way down:

“1987 was an eventful year for the ground station network as it maintained a close watch on the sensor constellation, underwent technical upgrades, and weathered the winds of political contention at home and abroad. The OGS aroused sustained interest among both the command and its foreign hosts on several counts. In the early spring the Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) and Minister of Defence issued official statements regarding the evolution of the United States-Australian relationship in the joint management of Nurrangar and the other sites in the country. These documents, although uncritical of the American presence and missions in Australia, served as useful background to the discussion engendered by the 21 August release of Dr Desmond Ball’s study, A Base for Debate: The US Satellite Station a Nurrangar.

Dr Ball, an articulate critic of the American military presence in Australia, published A Base for Debate as a compilation of information about and a critique of Australia’s cooperation with the United States in operating the Joint Defence Space Communications Station (JDSCS) at Nurrangar and the United States DSP system. He concluded in his study that the Americans should be given notice that the facility at Nurrangar must be closed in 1989. This action should be taken because, in his view, DSP did not require an Australian ground station for its operation and because the system's capabilities were “increasingly extending further from the essentially unobjectionable mission of early warning to the support and enhancement of US nuclear war-fighting capabilities.” He went on to charge the Australian government with attempting to deceive the citizenry about the true nature of the operations conducted at Nurrangar.

Australian Minister of Defence Beazley respond to Ball’s charges in a television interview conducted on the same day as the book’s public release, defending both the legitimacy of the OGS mission and the Australian government’s role in it. Public interest was further piqued when the Canberra Times published a series of excerpts from the book over the period of 22-24 August. Minister of…”

I have imaged this page below.

The next page, with “X X X X’s” representing national security redactions, continues:

“…Defence Beazley subsequently requested the assistance of the United States Department of Defence in framing an authoritative official response to Ball’s charges. Headquarters USAF Space Command DSC’s for Plans and Operations were involved in framing the American contribution to the document, which was planned for release to the Australian parliament in September. By that time public interest in the issue had begun to wane, and the Australian press was devoting more coverage to the possible linkage of trade negotiations and the joint defence facilities in negotiations with the United States and the continuing decline of the domestic “Peace” movement than to any sustained discussion of the Ball book. Despite the failure of the book to generate any groundswell of the public opinion against the presence of OGS, the command continued to weigh its options in retaining or discarding the installation as the DSP system evolved.

The big news at the OGS in 1987 was not the Ball book, but rather the conduct of the peripheral Upgrade Program (PUP). This technical upgrade replaced the computers, peripherals, display and display scoped at the facility while adding a new Satellite Operations Centre. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X. The PUP installation began at OGS on 12 April and was certified as completed and operational by the command on 25 September 1987. The upgrade process did have a major impact on the site’s daily operations, for it was allocated eight hours a day of downtime for operator/maintainer training and familiarization on the new equipment during the period of the upgrade’s installation, testing, and certification. This necessitated the deployment of a Mobile Ground Station to the SPS for an extended period to give that facility a “dual string” capability with which to control and monitor the DSP East sensor while the OGS was inoperative. (See the discussion which follows in this chapter.)”

This page is imaged below.

In a nutshell, while trawling thousands and thousands of pages of US records concerning space warfare, space object tracking, satellite decay, etc, for the sole purpose of finding unseen “UFO files” I discover the above AFSPC History discussing an amazing Australian! One really hopes that when a military historian or aerospace enthusiast is reading though decades old records relating to his or her field that they will publish any UFO-related material they find. So few people do what I do  ie scan boring paperwork for hours  that I know for a fact that we a missing vital finds. So… Who wants to do this kind of research? Lara Elliott does. She helped me with this blog piece while taking a break from supplying overlooked Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) UFO records to Fran Ridge’s NICAP effort. Lara – who is just 17 – also reads Ruppelt and Hynek while others grovel in youtube-hosted videos of plastic bags passed off as “scout ships”. So, if anyone wants to help us rummage through the archive (and there are others) where I found the above discussed material, here is the place:

1 comment:

  1. Nested within the UFO literature are all kinds of World War II, Cold War and Space Age mysteries. No historian seems to have the guts to tackle what they think is an "X-Files" mess. So much for bravely seeking the TRUTH wherever it leads.