On May 2006, the Ministry of Defence published on their website documentation relating to Project Condign – a highly-classified study into UFOs undertaken by a private contractor at the behest of the Defence Intelligence Staff. The study itself has been analysed extensively by UFOlogists, but in this article I will explain some of the politics behind the study and show readers what the paper trail itself never can: the intrigue, the personalities and the internal politics that lie beneath the surface. This is the inside story of Project Condign, told here for the very first time.

MoD Policy

The MoD’s policy on UFOs hasn’t changed much in over fifty years, and was no different from the United States Air Force’s policy in their research effort, Project Blue Book. The remit was to examine UFO sightings to see if anything reported might be of any “defence significance”. It sounds a simple remit, but actually it isn’t, largely because of debate over what “defence significance” actually means. I’m not implying that ufologists don’t understand the term. The issue is that the MoD doesn’t understand it, or to be more accurate, that different MoD officials involved with the UFO issue have interpreted the term in very different ways.

Within the MoD, sceptics who think the subject is nonsense interpret “defence significance” in terms of foreign aircraft or UAVs making unauthorised incursions into the United Kingdom’s Air Defence Region. For the more open-minded, it relates to issues about UFOs – whatever they may be – penetrating our air defences with impunity. For believers (and there have been several) it can be interpreted as the potential for acquiring UFO technology in terms of avionics, aerodynamics and propulsion systems, whatever the true origin of UFOs. Belief will drive action, so people coming to the issue from such different angles are bound to handle the subject in different ways.

In a sense it’s a mistake to talk about MoD policy on UFOs at all. Never has a subject been handled so differently over the years, according to the whims of those involved. The reason is clear. With a few notable exceptions, there is little top-down direction on the subject, because senior career-minded personnel (Service and civilian) and ambitious Ministers don’t want to touch the issue with a bargepole, for fear their involvement will be taken as interest, and will count against them. Skeptic versus believer debates on UFOs have raged at the very heart of the Establishment, but at desk officer level too, some people thought MoD’s involvement in the subject was a waste of time and money, while others thought there were serious defence, national security and flight safety issues at stake, and that more should be done. To summarize, skeptics see “defence significance” more in terms of threats from foreign aircraft, while others see it in terms of an opportunity in terms of technology acquisition.a

Check out the MoD Documents on the DIMENSION ZONE (click below)