On September 28, 2023, a packet of information was sent from United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), addressed to the Richard L. Revesz, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. The letter outlines an urgent request, in alignment with OMB procedures, for processing a proposed information collection initiative titled “AARO Contact Form for Authorized Reporting” under an emergency clearance in accord with 5 C.F.R. § 1320.13, “Emergency Processing.”
The All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) is at the centerpiece of this initiative, earmarked as the conduit for collecting essential contact information from the public. This step is critical for creating a pathway for authorized reporting of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), as mandated by section 1673 of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23 NDAA).
The FY23 NDAA under section 1673 requires the Secretary of Defense to roll out clear public guidelines to securely navigate the authorized reporting mechanism, with a deadline set 180 days post enactment in June 2023. Additionally, section 1683 calls upon the AARO to draft a Historical Record Report to chronicle the U.S. government’s historical engagement with UAP. The “AARO Contact Form” is identified as a vital tool for harnessing reports from individuals privy to potential UAP programs.
The letter underscores the imperativeness of commencing the information collection by October 31, 2023. The conventional route of consulting with concerned agencies and the public to trim down the information collection burden, as per 5 C.F.R. § 1320.13(c), is deemed not feasible under the circumstances.
Thus, a 180-day emergency clearance is being sought to fulfill the requisite information collection, during which a regular clearance submission will be pursued. Concurrently, a plea for OMB’s nod to forgo the Federal Register Notices, typically mandated by 5 C.F.R. 1320.8(a)(1)(iv) and 1320.8(d)(1), prior to the disclosure’s publication and implementation, has been made.
The ball now rests in OMB’s court, with a prompt approval or disapproval of this emergency clearance request anticipated by the close of business today, on September 29, 2023. This article will be updated once confirmation of approval was given.
AARO Phase II Webpages / Form Images and Text [5 Pages, 1.7MB]
Supporting Statement – Part A [5 Pages, 0.1MB]