Much like the universe, the military’s affiliation with alien-related subject matter appears to be ever-expanding.
In 2017, the Pentagon confirmed the existence of a program that existed from 2007 to 2012, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, that was dedicated solely to investigating reports of UFO sightings.
The Navy then verified the authenticity of a declassified 2015 video, released by former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge’s To the Stars Academy, featuring a bizarre encounter between Navy pilots and a high-speed, low-altitude unidentified flying object.
This April, the Navy confirmed it was drafting a fleet-wide message to establish guidelines for pilots and other military personnel to report UFO sightings, the culmination of a surge in what the Navy called a series of intrusions by advanced aircraft on Navy carrier strike groups.
Now, the Army has joined the extraterrestrial fray in a big way, inking a contract with DeLonge’s TTSA to collaborate in the study of “exotic” metals that both parties hope will lead to the development of advanced technologies.
As part of the agreement, the Army’s Ground Vehicle System Center and Ground Vehicle Survivability and Protection component will lend research resources, including laboratories, to TTSA, which in turn will leverage what the company asserts are alien metals capable of enhancing the effectiveness of Army vehicles.
To the Stars claims to have “acquired, designed, or produced” these materials, which can offer an array of futuristic modifications like active camouflage, beamed energy propulsion, inertial mass reduction, and quantum communication.
Details on how or where DeLonge’s company acquired these materials were not provided.
“TTSA has acquired material from various sources and does not comment on the specifics of each sample,” Kari DeLonge, TTSA chief content officer and Tom’s sister, told Vice’s Motherboard.
The Army will make a $750,000 commitment to TTSA research as part of the five-year collaboration.
“Our partnership with TTSA serves as an exciting, non-traditional source for novel materials and transformational technologies to enhance our military ground system capabilities,” Dr. Joseph Cannon, deputy product manager of science and technology in the Vehicle Protection Systems Division of the GVSC, said in a TTSA press release announcing the contract.
"We look forward to this partnership and the potential technical innovations forthcoming.”
The Army’s contractual agreement comes in the wake of insistence by a number of former defense officials that the Pentagon take a more aggressive approach to analyzing data surrounding UFO encounters.
Former military intelligence official Luis Elizondo, who now works for DeLonge’s TTSA after reportedly spearheading the AATIP, told Politico in April that the military’s determination to keep such encounters quiet could be detrimental.
“If you are in a busy airport and see something you are supposed to say something,” he said.
“With our own military members it is kind of the opposite: ‘If you do see something, don’t say something. ... What happens in five years if it turns out these are extremely advanced Russian aircraft?”
Recent measures taken by the Army and Navy would suggest, at least on the surface, an acknowledgement of the concerns of those like Elizondo, who told Motherboard in September that he was "heartened by the Navy’s new position to address this issue in a serious manner and without the distraction of the social stigma that this phenomena seems to attract.”
And while these Pentagon-led endeavors come sans admission of the existence of alien life, new developments continue to signal a return to DoD acknowledgement that recently documented encounters at least warrant further investigation.
To the Stars officials are happy to accommodate the effort.
“This cooperative research agreement brings additional, critically important expertise that is necessary to advance the state-of-the-art in both our near and long-term technology areas of study," Steve Justice, TTSA’s COO and Aerospace Division director said in the release.
"While the Army has specific military performance interests in the research, much of the work is expected to have dual-use application in support of TTSA’s path to commercialization and public benefit mission.”
DeLonge’s team at TTSA is spearheaded by a number of noteworthy officials who have spent significant time in the DoD.
Dr. Hal Puthoff, a NASA quantum physicist and DoD adviser, Jim Semivan, a former senior intelligence member of the CIA, and Chris Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in both the Clinton and Bush administrations who was instrumental in creating Special Operations Command, all occupy leadership positions within TTSA.
DeLonge’s To the Stars Academy team was recently the subject of six-part documentary series on the History Channel called “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation™."
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.