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In Conversation with Lieutenant Ryan Graves

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          MS: Was there a point where your interpretation became that what people were seeing and reporting must be a technology?

          RG: Yeah – it was relatively early on. The only behavior that would be indicative of non-technology is something that just drifts in the wind, more or less. That’s really the only thing. Because you’re up there in 120-knot winds – birds certainly can fly into those winds, but they might not be traveling that far over the ground, right, ground speed – so it’s not to say birds can’t travel in that, but when you have high winds like that, to have something that’s completely stationary like that –

          Even if it was tethered to the ground at those altitudes, they would have so many miles of sway with the string, right? So when you’re able to not only have something that’s there on all your sensors, and people have IDed these too, but when they’re being stationary, just that capability alone is very bizarre. And it might not be that sexy, but that’s a capability that screams out to us and says, “What the heck is this? This can’t be biological.” It could be man-made or something, potentially – perhaps through some cleverness – but we’re not seeing evidence of that.

          But then when you start adding other behaviors, such as – okay, well these things are stationary for four hours in high winds, which requires a massive amount of fuel, if [that’s even] possible. Then they would just proceed at point-six or point-eight Mach in a holding pattern after that, where they would travel at 1.1, 1.2 Mach, easterly. 

          So if you look at any one of the behaviors, it’s somewhat surprising. But when you zoom out and look at all of them, then it becomes even more clear that one, yes, it’s technology, and two, it’s likely technology that at least by any standard terms is non-conventional.


          MS: Right. And part of calling it “technology,” I would infer, is that this is made. So then you presumably have to take the step to say, this is either man-made or not man-made. So at this point, how much do you continue to entertain the possibility that these particular objects are made by another country?

          RG: Mhm. So that’s where the conversation naturally goes afterwards. And I would even categorize it a little bit further to say, this is where the conversation started – was it ours, was it someone else’s, or is it just something in some other category, if we assume that they are a made or non-natural phenomenon – some other bucket. I hesitate to call it alien, but something from non-human intelligence or consciousness, something that we’re not overly aware what that could be, some other bucket.

          So let’s start with the first bucket, which is, is it ours? That’s the first question we had to answer, and that was the question we were trying to answer when we submitted those safety reports. The hope was, someone would see this, realize their classified program was causing safety issues, and it would get flagged in this report and we could bring attention to this without blowing up someone’s covert program.

          But over time, of course, the evidence hasn’t supported that it would be a covert U.S. program. And there are many reasons for that, but if we just stop and look at where we are today with U.S. government interest in this topic, it’s hard for me to imagine that this is a classified program at this point. So let’s just put that aside.

          And then we look to our adversaries in other countries to wonder if they could be responsible for this. And I don’t think we’ve completely negated that option yet, though I think there’s some strong evidence to show that it very likely isn’t some adversarial nation’s.

          But with that being said, I don’t think that there’s going to be one answer to this. And any time we have any type of vulnerability in our ability to know what’s going on, our adversaries are going to take advantage of that – that’s an attack vector. The U.S. government has taken a very bold and historical stance to say, “We’re not sure what’s in our airspace,” and you better be damn sure that other nations are gonna take advantage of that. And we’ve seen that, we’ve seen it recently with China floating balloons over the continental United States, and with the other shootdowns.

          And so we have to treat this like a national security issue, until we’ve proven beyond a reasonable doubt – not any doubt, but a reasonable doubt – that it’s not our adversaries’. 

          And then when it’s not – or if it’s not – our adversaries’, then we transition that to scientific curiosity and proceed through the tools that we have of scientific inquiry, instead of focusing on it from a defensive, national-security perspective. But we have to treat them both.

          So I think things are going to fall out – I don’t think it’s going to be, “Okay, these are all ‘X,’ and that’s it” – there’s gonna be adversarial platforms, there’s gonna be trash, there’s gonna be this and that. But there is that core set of unique behaviors, and those I don’t think are necessarily displaying technology that I would expect China to have, or that I would expect Russia to have. Those are the ones that require more scientific inquiry than national-security attention. 

          And for the first time, the Department of Defense is almost taking a scientific role by having the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office [AARO], where they’re going to be focusing specifically on those ones that are unidentified, and if or when they get pulled up as national-security issues, they’ll funnel those to the proper DoD resources, and then they’ll continue their focus on the anomalous ones.


          MS: Then and now, what would your intuition tell you about whether those objects off the eastern seaboard were being steered or controlled, vs. whether they were automated?

          RG: They didn’t seem to be responding to us in real time. They didn’t seem to be reacting to us. They were just kind of – almost always out there. But they did exhibit different behaviors that definitely were changes to what they were doing. So there was intelligence, there was intention, but – I don’t get the sense that there was something living inside of it, moving it around, vs. doing something automated.

          They weren’t reacting to us that much. They were exhibiting different behaviors in the air. The “Gimbal” case – it’s hard to say whether they reacted to the aircrew or not.


          MS: Would you guys see them in swarms out there?

          RG: When we were just operating in our normal working areas, they were not operating in what I would call a swarm. There were multiple objects, but they didn’t seem to be operating together. Take that for what you will. Although they did seem to be centered around our area, so maybe that whole thing could be called a swarm. But they didn’t seem to be coordinating, other than staying in the same general area.

          Now the “Gimbal” video – I think that was unique behavior, because in that case, when we saw that, they were actually flying in a formation, and that was the first time, at least that I was aware, when that had happened. And not only were they flying in formation, but there was a larger, more distinct object that we called the gimbal – or, not we, but it was later called the gimbal – and they all seemed to be operating in concert: there was a formation operating in concert, and then the formation and the gimbal were operating in concert, as well. So I would call that a swarm, perhaps.


          MS: Interesting. 

          And then in terms of the national security branch of what you’re talking about, can you tell me about the mission and purpose of Americans for Safe Aerospace and what you’re doing with this organization?

          RG: We identified a need where there just needs to be better education on this, both from the public side, public education, as well as educating legislators, policy decision-makers on Capitol Hill and government. So that’s at the core gonna be that function that we play, to bring together Subject Matter Experts – we call them that, but advisors, essentially – people that bring a wealth of government, defense, or technical capability to advise those legislators on the correct policies, on the correct legislation that will help move the conversation forward. Both so that we can ensure we have control of our airspace, from a national-security perspective, but also so that we are pushing that scientific inquiry in a transparent manner, so that we can continue to pursue this in the scientific manner that it deserves, which is a public and open conversation – that’s how science moves forward.


          MS: So it sounds like it’s focusing on the political and the policy angle of how this gets tackled. What about studying data directly – is that also something that this group is taking part in?

          RG: We’re going to be providing our elected officials with constituency data, to show that there is a strong desire from their constituents to pursue this topic, and provide them with that political cover. But right now, the plan isn’t to pursue a technical UAP data-engineering effort, necessarily. 

          I do lead an effort, however, under the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which is the world’s largest aerospace professional organization, with 30,000+ members. I helped them stand up a UAP Integration Outreach Committee, which I now chair. There’s about fifty members – mostly PhDs from academia, NASA, and industry. And what we do is, we are working with data there, to actually have detection, characterization and evaluation parameters that we can distribute to the wider industry, through the AIAA ecosystem.

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Interview I: The Whistleblower

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Ryan Graves Gimbal Discussion
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