The weather was over 100° outside for days on end. It seemed like a high volume of binge-television watching was the cure for avoiding the sweltering summer sun. So, this past weekend, I became consumed with the series on both Netflix and The History Channel about Skinwalker Ranch, a place located in Northern Utah where scientists ran legitimate tests, finding results that could not easily be explained away as something naturally occurring. Laundry, garage cleaning, and personal hygiene be damned, I was captivated to the point I was catatonic. Coupled with bizarre sightings of space objects caught on camera and weird physical effects the location seems to have on people and animals, my belief that something unworldly (or at least not known to this country) was behind all of that went to the right of center on the true or false scale. While not of Roswellian category of believer yet, the series caused me to run to the internet, find out about shapeshifting in and out of a wormhole, and even brush up on college physics a bit. The bottom line is, I want more.

Recently, the federal government advertised that you can find present and future possibilities of increased clearance level employment at places such as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, a DoD entity dedicated to the study of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and it’s weirder cousins, UFOs.

Some of this increased interest is due to more visibility of earlier DoD programs and information that recently became declassified, specifically a video showing Navy personnel tracking a UAP that looked like a “Tic-Tac”. Not to be outdone by the DoD, other government agencies have recently launched their own similar programs. In June, NASA announced it is commissioning a study team, which will focus on identifying available data, how best to collect future data, and how NASA can use that data to move the scientific understanding of UAPs forward. Other agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, have various grants awarded and on the horizon concerning similar studies.

However, non-surprisingly given this is an election year, Congress has also become more involved than just the budgeting piece. Recently, a Wisconsin lawmaker introduced an amendment to the 2023 National Defense and Authorization Act, which would do two things: 1) create an organized transparent process for intelligence agencies to report their findings and 2) grant whistleblower immunity for government employees and contractors who are punished for reporting irregularities or omissions from those reports.

A violation of this provision by employers would trigger the normal rights and representations a whistleblower currently gets.

While this seems to be something that could be bipartisan enough to pass, the language and attention generated recently show that the layers of bureaucracy are approaching mainstream levels. The good news is more clearance-required jobs may be created which pay pretty well. The bad news is, how much will progress and research be impeded with so many eyes on the sky?

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Joe Jabara, JD, is the Director, of the Hub, For Cyber Education and Awareness, Wichita State University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty at two other universities teaching Intelligence and Cyber Law. Prior to his current job, he served 30 years in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Kansas Air National Guard. His last ten years were spent in command/leadership positions, the bulk of which were at the 184th Intelligence Wing as Vice Commander.