Wednesday, 22 June 2016

"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting 

Channel For UFO Incidents?

Part 3


OPREP–3 reports containing information relating to unknown objects near US military installations are considered extremely sensitive, and thus not releasable.”

This, apparently, was the rather extraordinary statement made by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) in a 1990’s–era reply letter to UK based researcher Dr. Armen Victorian, as we shall see.

In Part 3 of this series I will discuss efforts, past and present, to have the US government release OPREP–3 records that relate to UFO incidents. For those who are unfamiliar with this particular topic, an “OPREP–3” is a type of US military report that conveys urgent, national security information to the highest echelons of the US government. “OPREP” means “Operational Report”, and “3” refers to a category meaning “Event/Incident”. In Part 1 and Part 2, I demonstrated that OPREP–3’s have been used to report UFO’s, or at least very unusual and unidentified aircraft, hovering or flying over sensitive US military installations. I also went to some length displaying actual OPREP–3 records, which, I think, is absolutely critical in establishing the authenticity of these claimed intrusions.

Aside from the pivotal work of American researchers Barry Greenwood, Lawrence Fawcett and Robert Todd, I can find only one example of anyone who has attempted to have the US government release OPREP–3 reports relating to UFO’s. British researcher Dr. Armen Victorian, also known as Henry Azadehdel, must have recognized the importance of the OPREP–3 reporting channel in the 1990’s. On the 26th of July, 1996, Dr. Victorian submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence (OASD). While we do not have Dr. Victorian’s records to study, it is clear that his submission related to OPREP–3 reporting. On the 14th of March, 1997, A. H. Passarella, Director of Freedom of Information, OASD, released a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) instruction titled “Joint Reporting Structure Event And Incident Reports” (CJCSI 3150.03). Promulgated on the 1st of December, 1993, the instruction, fifty–three pages in length, describes OPREP–3 reporting in detail. This can’t be co–incidence. Any UFO researcher, especially one with a history like Victorian’s, asking the OASD for records about OPREP–3’s must have assumed there was something significant to be found. Below I have imaged copy of the OASD reply to Dr. Victorian.

Furthermore, below is Page 1 of the CJCS instruction , “Joint Reporting Structure Event And Incident Reports” (CJCSI 3150.03), that was released to Dr. Victorian. Note, it immeadely establishes, that the “…OPREP–3 reporting system… …is used by military unites at any level of command to report significant events and incidents to the highest levels of command.”.

My colleague David Charmichael, who has submitted literally hundreds of FOI requests to US military and intelligence agency’s in the last five years, was also active with Dr. Victorian in the 1990’s. Charmichael found him to be “ahead of his time” and “always coming up with new ideas” regarding  government bodies release specific information on the UFO’s issue. Unfortunately we do not have all of Victorian’s records to hand. He vanished from the UFO scene in late 1997 as mysteriously as he arrived some ten years earlier. Charmichael, who saw large quantities of Victorian’s records over many years, recalls that he doggedly pursued the National Military Command Center (NMCC), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) for actual OPREP–3 records relating to “unidentified objects”, “unknown objects” and “unidentified flying objects”. At some point, probably in early 1997, Victorian received a final reply from the OSD stating:

“OPREP–3 reports containing information relating to unknown objects near US military installations are considered extremely sensitive, and thus not releasable.”

This is explosive. We already know that at least a handful of OPREP–3 reports involving UFO’s have been sent to the NMCC. And that was way back in the 1970’s. So clearly, from the above statement, UFO’s were continuing to be reported well into the 1990’s. Charmichael is absolutely positive that the above statement is accurate. He specifically remembers how alarming it was to see the words “unknown objects” and “extremely sensitive”. So just how many “unknown objects” are zooming over highly secured military bases? And what sort of analysis of these events is conducted? This is of the utmost concern. Some of these installations are home to stockpiles of hundreds of nuclear warheads, or ballistic missiles on hot alert. In 2008, researcher Robert Hastings, who has worked tirelessly for decades on this very topic, published “UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites”. The book, at over six–hundred pages, leaves little doubt that something terribly odd is going on. The US government can’t very well say it isn’t happening. Their own records, mainly from the 1960’s and 1970’s, lay out the facts quite clearly. My argument is that OPREP–3’s, and probably those of the OPREP–3 PINNACLE variety, and it’s frightening sub–categories, may well still be used to report such events.

With all this in mind, on April the 29, 2015, I submitted an FOI request to the Office of the Secretary of Defence and Joint Staff, who control the NMCC, for:

“…any OPREP–3 reports which have been sent to the National Military Command Centre; and/or the Joint Staff; and/or the Secretary of Defence. I would like to restrict the scope of my FOI request to any OPREP–3 reports which contain information, terms or references to: ‘unknown aircraft’, ‘unidentified aircraft’, ‘UFO’, ‘unusual aircraft’, ‘low flying’, ‘phenomenon’, ‘phenomena’, ‘uncorrelated’, ‘track’, ‘return’, etc. I wish the data range to be from 1995 to 2015, inclusive…”

On the 30th of April, 2015, Stephanie L. Carr, Chief, Office of Freedom of Information, Department of Defence, replied, in part:

“We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period as there are unusual circumstances which impact on our ability to quickly process your request. These unusual circumstances are: (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this Office; (b) the potential volume of records responsive to your request; and (c) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies or DoD components having a substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records. For these reasons, your request has been placed in our complex processing queue and will be worked in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is 1554 open requests.”

At this point, it appeared that the staffs that were handling my request were doing so properly. On the 16th of November, 2015, a reply to my request finally came. It stated, not unsurprisingly, that:

“After electronic records and files of JS, no records responsive to your request could be identified. Further, JS certified that, to the best of their knowledge, the records you describe do not exist.”

Thus, apparently, no OPREP–3 reportable events involving UFO’s had been submitted to the NMCC, Joint Chiefs (JS) or the Secretary of Defence, in the last twenty years.

The devil, however, may be in the detail. When I submitted the FOI request, I asked for “any OPREP–3 reports”. It occurred to me that general, all–purpose OPREP–3’s – those without flag words – do not get sent to the highest echelons of the US military. Thus, there may have been nothing to be found, UFO–related or otherwise. What I should have asked for is any records that were specifically of the “OPREP–3 PINNACLE” and “OPREP–3 PINNACLE NUCFLASH” variety. The staff conducting my request would surely have known that I would be interested in all types of OPREP–3’s, and not just the basic kind. Technically though, they don’t have to search for anything that I didn’t specify. This is obviously very important. UFO reports involving UFO’s skulking over military installations are probably submitted at OPREP–3 PINNACLE level.  I am currently drafting a much more powerful request that covers this issue. Of course, one wonders if the whole FOI process is effective and consistent enough for any of our efforts to work at all. In other words, one can’t be sure if they would own up to anything even if they were in custody of such alarming material.

There is hope however. Last year, I decided to pick one of the US Air Force Space Command’s (AFSPC) space warning squadrons as a target for OPREP–3 record requesting. I randomly picked the 6th Space Warning Squadron (6thSWS) as I had studied it previously. The  6SWS, based at Cape Cod Air Force Station, Massachusetts, maintains a powerful Solid State Phased Array Radar (SSPAR) to look east over the Atlantic Ocean for sea–launched ballistic missile launches, and incoming nuclear warheads from sub–space. The system also detects and tracks near–earth objects. On November 6th, 2015, I asked, under the FOI Act, for:

“…copies of all OPREP–3 PINNACLE's; and OPREP–3 BEELINE's that were sent from the 6th Space Warning Squadron (6th SWS)/Cape Cod AFS to NORAD/NORTHCOM; the National Military Command Center (NMCC); Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS); Office of the Secretary of Defense; United States Air Force HQ.”

Note that I did not discuss UFO’s or unidentified aircraft. I wanted to see any OPREP–3 records. Also, I specified only OPREP–3 PINNACLE and OPREP–3 BEELINE reports. The juggling of FOI wording can yield different results, which is critical in designing some sort of blueprint for future FOI work. The request was handled by MSgt Michael D. Hartmann of the 21st Communications Squadron, and, on January 13th, 2016, he provided me with a “full records” response, including a fourteen page PDF attachment. Indeed, the 6SWS/Cape Cod AFS had, in the last decade, submitted a number of OPREP–3 BEELINE reports to higher authorities, and I was staring at them. Unfortunately, none of them related to UFO’s. For the record, they related to events like electrical outages and hurricane alerts.

My British based colleague, David Charmichael, has done far more FOI work on this topic than I have. While I have submitted a total of two requests for OPREP–3 records, David has submitted dozens. None have resulted in information about UFO events, but there has been some interesting correspondence. On the 10th of December, 2012, Charmichael submitted an FOI request to the 377th Air Base Wing, assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, for: “…records pertaining to unidentified aerial devices or objects, or like terms…” and “…operational procedures for reporting such events of unusual or unidentified events or objects or like terms”. He amended the request on the 11th of December, 2012, to include UFO–type records that were “…filed under Air Force Instruction 10–106” and “Joint Publication 3–01”. This request would certainly cover any OPREP–3 records. On the 3erd of January, 2013, the 377th Mission Support Group’s (377th MSG) FOI Act Program Manager, Jose Gonzalez, gave Charmichael a “no responsive records” answer on actual UFO reports. However, they did provide a copy of Air Force Instruction 10–106, which, of course, we already have copies of. Of interest, though, was a statement made by the 377th MSG in their reply letter:

“…the responsibilities of addressing unidentified aerial devices or objects fall directly under the control of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD)…”

Normally, the USAF doesn’t like to discuss anything involving the words “unidentified” and “object”, especially not in the same sentence. At least, though, they told the truth in partly fobbing the matter off to NORAD, which is something I have been studying for years. Below is Page 1 of the above mentioned reply letter to David Charmichael.

On the 10th of December, 2012, Charmichael also submitted an FOI request to the 5th Bomb Wing, which is currently assigned to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. His query asked for “…records pertaining to OPREP and/or SITREP reports of unidentified intrusions by unidentified or aerial devices or objects…”. Charmichael, specifically referenced USAF’s “Air Force Instruction 10-206 Operational Reporting” (AFI 10-206) publication which lays out OPREP-3 reporting procedures. Note that the Charmichael requested so–called “Situation Reports”, usually abbreviated to “SITREP”, as well as OPREP’s.  SITREP’s are a type of commander’s report which I will be covering in future blog posts. Suffice to say, it is very possible that SITREP’s could be used for reporting UFO events. On the 4th of January, 2013, Vickie S. Phippins, the FOI Manager for the 5th Mission Support Group, answered Charmichael’s request, stating:

“The 5th Bomb Wing Command Post performed a thorough review and informed me Minot AFB has no records of OPREP (including BEELINE – OPREP-3B and PINNACLE – OPREP-3P) and/or SITREP reports of unidentified intrusions by unidentified or aerial devices or objects… …The Command Post has no local operational procedures established. If an incident occurred, Minot AFB would comply with the policies and guidelines for reporting as required by AFI 10-206.”.

While no OPREP-3 or SITREP reports were found, and “no local operational procedures” for unidentified aerial activity were highlighted, it is established that if “…an incident occurred, Minot AFB would comply with the policies and guidelines for reporting as required by AFI 10-206”. In other words, Minot AFB Command Post would report aerial unknowns via OPREP-3 or SITREP channels, as laid out in current USAF doctrine. Below is an image of the Minot AFB reply letter.

In a 13th December, 2012, request to the 47th Flying Training Wing (47 FTW) at Laughlin AFB, Texas, Carmichael asked for copies of “…any Operational Report (OPREP) and Situation Report (SITREP) records” relating to “unidentified aerial devices or objects” throughout the period of the 1st of January, 2011 to the 13th of December, 2012. On the 5th of March, 2013, Charmichael was given a “no records response”. He then asked, ironically using the FOI Act, for the case file and internal records that were created as a result of his initial FOI request. A number of documents were released, including a one page memorandum, which I have imaged below, from the 47 FTW Command Post to the 47 FTW Judge Advocate (JA). The memo, signed by TSgt Eric S. High, and dated 13th of December, 2012, stated, in part, that:

“…I did not find any Operational or Situation Reports (OPREP/SITREP), files or documentation in any form relating to… …unidentified aerial devices or objects… …I did conduct a thorough review of all 48 OPREP’s and SITREP’s submitted during this period and my research provided negative results.”

Thus, there were certainly OPREP’s and SITREP’s found, but regrettably nothing relating to UFO’s. Out of curiosity, Charmichael promptly asked for all forty–eight of those records anyway. Some months later the records were released in full. Indeed, there was nothing in the cache related to UFO’s, but it was the first time we were able to see what modern OPREP–3 reports looked like. One of the more interesting OPREP–3’s released was a July, 2012 OPREP–3 BEELINE which described the emergency landing of a civilian aircraft at Laughlin AFB while the airfield was closed. I have imaged it below.

           David Charmichael has submitted dozens of these kinds of requests to various USAF entities, from Major Commands (MAJCOM) down to mid–sized flying wings. Sometimes, the USAF does the work for him. In a 10th of December, 2012 FOI request to Headquarters, Air Combat Command (ACC), it was asked of them for copies any OPREP or SITREP records involving “unidentified aerial devices or objects” throughout 2011 and 2012. The ACC came back on the 10th of January, 2013, with, again, a “no records response”. HQ ACC were helpful in having the Command Posts of a number of ACC–assigned bases search their records, which meant Charmichael didn’t have to submit separate requests to each base. We just have to hope they are all telling the truth. Below is a copy of the first page of the ACC response, with twelve bases listed as being searched.

FOI requests continue. We are fairly asking for records, some which would be quite timeworn, which should be released. If UFO’s are appearing over US military installations at the rate that has been claimed, then the wider US government, and the populace, should know about. One problem we face is asking for records over a particular date range. Sometimes records from one command can be scattered in temporary archives. Sometimes the FOI process demands us to ask for records of a particular time period, or even the actual date of an event. Of course, we do not know if and when OPREP–3 reportable UFO events have occurred at any given location, or, on what date, so it becomes a stalemate. This is all very convenient for the US military. 

Had OPREP–3 records from Loring AFB, Wurtsmith AFB, and Pinecastle Test Range not been released way back in the 1970’s, researchers may never have taken an interest in this special reporting system. The US military has effectively admitted that UFO’s do intrude into restricted airspace, where nuclear weapons are stored or operationally active, and, that urgent reporting to higher commands ensures. Are the UFO events of the 1970’s unique? Or was the Office of the Secretary of Defence sounding alarm bells to Dr. Armen Victorian, well into the 1990’s, that these spooky events were ongoing? As I have previously discussed, the old “Air Force Manual 55–11 Operations – Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFM 55–11), dated 20th May, 1968, described the entire “Air Force Reporting System” (AFOREPS). This system, of course, contained an early version of the OPREP–3 channel we see today. Curiously, AFM 55–11 contains a curious statement about other reporting systems which may be extremely important to historical UFO study. In Section 3–1–C it is stated that:

“Provisions of the AFOREPS are not intended to abrogate major command systems employing advanced automated, online procedures.”

This is effectively saying that “automated, online procedures” for reporting serious events may have even trumped the AFOREPS systems of the day, and, thus, OPREP–3’s. Were OPREP–3’s just one of a many systems – each more classified than the last – which could be used to report alarming UFO incidents? What about today?

           On a final note, for now, another piece of information I have aquired is that, apparently, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) would, in the 1980's and 1990's, assign UFO reports a ten digit “collections” and/or “project number. The number was attached to all processed UFO reports and can be found on the bottom of the documents. At least, that’s the rumor. Indeed, some DIA-generated UFO documents contain a text line reading “PROJECT NO” with a stream of digits following it. Apparently, copies were automatically sent to a special area of the DIA that dealt with UFO’s and other unusual aerospace intelligence matters. UFO related OPREP–3’s may well have been included in this suspected DIA endeavour, and, in fact, the DIA is on the distribution list contained at the beginning of numerous OPREP–3 messages. Would it be any surprise if copies of such UFO reports were given a “collections” and/or “project number after being received? Why not? They do it for other topics. We don't yet know much more than this. Normally, I do not speculate on things that can't be verified or checked against more solid information. However, this issue is so important I feel is worth raising, even if yet murky. 

           In Part 4 of this series, which will be some months away, I will continue to present information about OPREP–3 reporting requirements and UFO’s, and some new FOI avenues we are looking at. If Dr. Armen Victorian is reading this, we need to see your records now more than ever.


  1. Thanks for sharing your research. Keep up the good work!


    Ray Fowler

  2. Excellent, did you write part two?