The new National Defense Authorization Act for 2024 (NDAA) contains some key provisions for UFO declassification and disclosure. But many disclosure activists are concerned about how Schumer’s UAP Disclosure Amendment was changed drastically in the newly approved version, and Tim Burchett’s UAP amendment was left out completely. Although the new bill does push for declassification, it still contains loopholes that may be worrisome.
Here’s a look at what is in the new NDAA, along with the full copy that you can read for yourself.
Learn why a previous presidential administration turned down UFO disclosure in our story here.
Read the Full NDAA, Including All Key UAP Provisions
The full NDAA for 2024 is embedded below, as provided by House.gov.
You can view the key provisions by searching for “anomalous” within the copy (but note: this search will first bring up a section on Anomalous Health incidents that are separate from the UAP disclosure sections. You’ll need to skip through that to get to the UAP section.)
The NDAA Will Create a UFO Records Collection at the National Archives
The 2024 NDAA creates a special UFO records collection section at the National Archives. And while this is exciting, it also contains some loopholes for delaying disclosure.
Skipping ahead to page 1487 of the NDAA document embedded in the section above will take you to “Subtitle C – Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon.” This section dictates the creation of a UAP records collection at the National Archives. It stipulates that an archivist will establish a UAP collection no later than 60 days after the NDAA is enacted.
Here’s what the first page of that section looks like:
The provision dictates:
“The Collection shall consist of record copies of all Government, Government-provided, or Government-funded records relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and non-human intelligence (or equivalent subjects by any other name with the specific and sole exclusion of temporarily non-attributed objects), which shall be transmitted to the National Archives in accordance with section 2107 of title 11 44, United States Code.”
The Archivist must also prepare and publish a guidebook and index to this collection.
This UAP Collection must include:
- Copies of all UAP records that were transmitted to the Archives or disclosed to the public “in an unredacted form prior to the date of the enactment of this Act;”
- UAP records “that are otherwise required to have been transmitted to the National Archives after the date of the enactment of this Act”
- or “the disclosure of which is post4 poned under this subtitle.”
All UAP records transmitted to the Archive “for disclosure to the public” must be made available to the public:
- Within 30 days after they are transmitted to the National Archives
- And digitally, not longer than 180 days thereafter.
On Page 1491 (officially Page 1443 in the PDF), it notes that oversight of this process will be given to:
- Several Senate committees (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Armed Services, and the Select Committee on Intelligence)
- Several House committees (Oversight and Accountability, Armed Services, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
And the job of sending in the records belongs to “each head of a Government office” (per page 1492).
If you skip ahead to page 1493, the Act also notes that “no later than 300 days” after it’s enacted, each head of a government office needs to review and organize all its UAP records for disclosure and transmission.
The Act Requires Disclosure Within 25 Years of the Record Being Created, Unless the President Delays
Of course, the Act contains the same loopholes we’re familiar with through the JFK files for delaying disclosure. Essentially, anything that threatens nationally security can be postponed.
It notes that “postponed” files must be periodically reviewed, and they need “an unclassified written description of the reason for such continued postponement relevant to these specific records.”
As far as full disclosure goes, it notes that “each unidentified anomalous phenomena record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection, not later than the date that is 25 years after the date of the first creation of the record by the originating body…”
However, once again, there’s a loophole.
If the President of the United States certifies that postponement is necessary, then the records won’t be disclosed. And we’ve already seen this happening over and over again with the JFK files.
Reasons for postponement include: an “identifiable harm” to military defense, intelligence operations, foreign relations, and law enforcement; or an identifiable harm that “outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
Several Key Pieces Were Removed from the Legislation
The Act notes on Page 2803 of the PDF that several key pieces were removed from Schumer’s original act, including: “the provisions that would establish an independent Review Board, a Review Board staff, eminent domain authority, or a controlled disclosure process.”
It’s worth noting that an already existing Public Interest Declassification Board, which is made of nine members (five appointed by the President.) The National Archives notes that this board (which is similar in some ways to the one removed from the UAP Disclosure Act), requires U.S. citizens “who are preeminent in the fields of history, national security, foreign policy, intelligence policy, social science, law, or archival science” be appointed to the board.
The advisory committee was established in 2000 and its job is to advise officials on declassification review and release that are in the public interest. Federal News Network reported that the NDAA 2024 included a few reforms to this board, including a measure requiring agencies to review and process all requests involving any classified records more than 25 years old, unless a head of an agency tells Congress why that record shouldn’t be declassified.
Perhaps this new addendum can be utilized by pro-disclosure Congressional members who want an accounting as to why certain older UAP records are not disclosed.
Next week, Congress will likely vote on the final NDAA for 2024, E&E News reported. It will likely be approved and then passed on for the President to sign.