X-Conference Report #2: British UFO Official History

Nick Pope is a former UK Ministry of Defence official and in his own words:

"I work at the Ministry of Defence, which I joined in 1985. I've had many different postings and have undertaken a fascinating series of jobs within the Department, including work in the Joint Operations Centre during the Gulf War, where I was a briefer in the Air Force Operations Room. I've also been involved in work on the crises in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm a Senior Executive Officer, which is a civilian grade equivalent to the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Between 1991 and 1994, I was posted to a division called Secretariat (Air Staff) and was given the job of researching and investigating the UFO phenomenon, mirroring the work done in the US by the now defunct Project Blue Book. Although most of the cases could be explained as misidentifications of known objects and phenomena, a hard core of sightings defied any conventional explanation. Strong evidence emerged suggesting the presence of structured craft capable of speeds and manoeuvres beyond the capability of even the most advanced prototype craft operated by the Royal Air Force or the United States Air Force. My unique access to new data and old government files convinced me that the UFO phenomenon raised serious defence and national security issues. I came across numerous instances where UFOs had been tracked on radar, leading to jets being scrambled. There were also cases where there had been terrifying near-misses between UFOs and civilian aircraft. All this led me to believe that an extraterrestrial explanation for some sightings could not be ruled out.

Through my official investigations into UFOs I was drawn into other mysteries such as alien abductions, crop circles, animal mutilations and ghosts. Although no longer carrying out this sort of work for the government, I continue my research and investigation in a private capacity.

I've written four books: Open Skies, Closed Minds details my official UFO work, while The Uninvited deals with alien abductions; Operation Thunder Child and Operation Lightning Strike are science fiction novels based on my government work.

I've done extensive media work, including the BBC's Newsnight and Radio 4's Today programme. I've lectured all around the world, at academic conferences, museums, military bases and the Oxford Union."


United Kingdom's Blue Book Study In 1950 the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence commissioned an official study into the UFO phenomenon. This initiative was ordered by the MOD's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Henry Tizard, and the study was carried out by scientific and technical intelligence personnel. Nick Pope's lecture will tell the story of this study, and explain how a number of senior political, military and scientific figures become embroiled in discussions and disagreements over policy on UFOs, and over the true nature of the phenomenon itself. In the aftermath of a skeptic versus believer debate that raged at the heart of government, the MOD set up a UFO project to research and investigate the phenomenon. The project was modeled on the USAF's Project Blue Book, and although less well-known, survives to this day. Nick Pope stewarded this work from 1991 to 1994, and his lecture will reveal the secret history of the British Government's UFO project.


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