The RAND Corporation and UFOs

RAND Corporation commissioned its own UFO study. Entitled “UFOs: What to Do?,” the study was written by George Kocher and published “FOR RAND USE ONLY”…

Everyone is aware of various studies and investigations on UFOs undertaken in the past by a fairly large number of U.S. government agencies including the Air Force, CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of State, etc., which at least to some extent have been released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More murky, however, is the role played by semi-official think tanks and research institutions which conduct classified studies for the government and which are an integral part of the so-called military-industrial complex.

It makes perfect logical sense that at least some of these private organizations were contracted in the past to conduct research on certain specific aspects involving UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). We know for sure this is true in the case of the Brookings Institution, the RAND Corporation, and the Battelle Memorial Institute, but there may be other organizations which have not yet surfaced to public light. One problem with think tanks and private research companies is that they are not subjected to the same FOIA rules which apply to official agencies, unless their studies were published as part of government reports.

I’ve published in this page many of my “UFO Chronicle” columns which appeared originally in Fate magazine, and occasionally articles for other publications like UFO Universe, all from a period stretching between 1990 and 2004 more or less. This time, however, we’ll take a time trip all the way back to the early days of my career as a UFO journalist when I was publishing a weekly column for the supplement UFOs and other Cosmic Phenomena in the long-defunct New York City newspaper The News World, which appeared between 1981 and 1983. Although I loved the subject, I was still hesitant to be typecast as a UFO journalist, so I used the pseudonym of A. Hovni. I deliberately chose a play of words combining my initials AH with OVNI, the Spanish acronym for UFO. Although the article was published almost 30 years ago, since it deals with historical documents, it’s still just as valid as when it came out of my typewriter. Other than correcting a few spelling typos and adding illustrations, I am reproducing it intact, just as it was written back in 1982.

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A-Hovni-Rand-articleArticle as it originally appeared in The News World.

UFOs interest think-tank scientists at RAND

Scientists wonder if UFOs are from space & what powers them

By A. Hovni

Special to The News World

New York City, April 17, 1982

When Mr. William Laub of Northfield, Illinois requested the U.S. Air Force in October of 1969 for information regarding a UFO Study reportedly made by the RAND Corporation, the Air Force’s Community Relations Division at the Pentagon responded curtly that, “The RAND Corporation has never made any reports on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) for the United States Air Force. If any reports were made by this corporation they were made on their own.” Similar enquiries with the RAND Corporation itself elicited a no more forthcoming answer.

One letter from The Reports Department indicated that “RAND has done very little research on the subject of UFO’s: therefore, no publications have been written on the subject.” Still another letter from RAND, date June 25, 1969, seemed to get closer to the truth. “We are unable to identify any RAND publication on UFO’s available for external distribution,” it said.

RAND Corporation

Though well known by name, the RAND Corporation is actually a rather secretive semi-official think tank, based in Santa Monica, California, whose work includes computer “war games” scenarios and other classified research for the Air Force. Knowing the Air Force’s long background with the UFO problem, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that RAND, as well as other similar outfits such as the Battelle Memorial Institute, have conducted specialized UFO projects in the past. Despite all denials to the contrary, the RAND report which Mr. Laub wanted to know about, did indeed exist. Titled UFOs: What to Do?, it was published on November 27, 1968, “FOR RAND USE ONLY.” Its author was George Kocher. The document was eventually downgraded or leaked to the public, and it can now be obtained through the Center for UFO Studies in Evanston, Illinois.

studies for Air Force

Yet the history of the RAND Corporation and UFOs goes back to the earliest days of Air Force involvement in the matter. The Air Materiel Command’s Project “SIGN” final Technical Report on “UNIDENTIFIED AERIAL OBJECTS,” issued in February of 1949 and declassified only in 1967, states very clearly that the RAND Corporation was assisting the Air Force UFO project along with consultants from Ohio State University (Dr. J. Allen Hynek), General Electric Research (Dr. Irving Langmuir) and MIT (Dr. G.E. Valley). On page 3 of this report, we read that “inasmuch as various surmises have been advanced that some of the reported observations may have represented ‘space ships’ or satellite vehicles, a special study has been initiated with the RAND Corporation, under the RAND Project, to provide an analysis from this standpoint and also to provide fundamental information, pertaining to the basic design and performance characteristics that might distinguish a possible ‘space ship’.” So much for the USAF’s Community Relations Division denials that no such report had ever been requested by the military.
RAND's original office in Santa Monica, CA in 1948RAND's original office in Santa Monica, CA in 1948. (image credit: RAND Corporation)

space ships theory probed
Dr. James E. LippDr. James E. Lipp (image credit: RAND Corporation)

We know only from this period what Project Sign termed “a preliminary undertaking,” and which consisted of a RAND project study prepared by Dr. James Everett Lipp, an aeronautical engineer then serving as head of RAND’s Missiles Division. It was submitted in a letter form to Brigadier General Putt, Director of Research and Development Office, USAF, and published as APPENDIX “D” of project Sign’s final Technical Report. (Shortly after, Project Sign became Project grudge).

Dr. Lipp’s letter indicates that further research was being conducted by a Mr. Collbohm on the “special design and performance characteristics that are believed to distinguish space ships,” but this or other reports from the time have not been obtained by UFO researchers that we know of. Professor Lipp’s work was reviewed briefly on a previous article (see UFO Supplement, April 3, 1982 issue) as it pertained to the possible relationship between UFOs and the planet Mars. Dr. Lipp devoted several pages of his study discussing the likelihood of intelligent life in Mars and what the technical requirements would be for the hypothetical Martians to visit Earth in “a nuclear hydrogen-propelled vehicle.”

the red planet

Dr. Lipp however, seemed more convinced of the possibility that UFOs could be space ships from elsewhere in the galaxy rather than from our own solar system. He discussed the different types of stars and those similar to the Sun that could generate planetary systems, in much the same way as Dr. Carl Sagan would popularize over 20 years later. Of a sample of 47 known stars within a distance of 16 light years from the Sun, Dr. Lipp maintained that 22 “can be considered as eligible for habitable planets.” And long before Sagan, the Russians Kardashev and Shklovsky, and other proponents of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Dr. Lipp advanced “some personal intuition into the discussion with the view that life is not unique on Earth, or even the RANDom result of a low probability, but is practically inevitable in the right conditions.” He also took the educated guess that, “knowing nothing at all about other races, we must assume that Man is average as to technical advancement, environmental difficulties, etc. That is, one half of other planets are behind us and have no space travel and the other half are ahead and have various levels of space travel. We can thus imagine that in our sample volume (the 22 potential stars within 16 light years from earth—ed.) there are 11 races of beings who have begun space explorations.”

more advanced civilizations

Continuing with the argument that a number of space civilizations could be way ahead of us, Dr. Lipp wrote that their space ships would “require improvements of propulsion that we have not yet conceived.” He mentioned “a large number of hypothetical methods of transportation like gravity shields, space overdrives, teleports, simulators energy beams and so on,” drawn from the combined “efforts of all the science-fiction writers.”

Dr. Lipp’s study seem truly revolutionary if we consider that it was written on December 1948. In fact, his astronomical analysis is quite similar to that of George Kocher in another RAND UFO study, this one written in 1968. Yet Lipp’s final remarks against the “flying objects” being space ships are weak and seem perhaps a bit contrived in order to adjust to the official Air Force policy of denying the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs. He based his first counter-argument on the proposition that all UFO incidents up to his time “have occurred within the United States, whereas visiting spacemen could be expected to scatter their visits more or less uniformly over the globe.” Dr. Lipp was evidently misinformed about the UFO phenomenon occurring only in the U.S. in 1947 and 1948. On the other hand, that UFOs became a global phenomenon is an undisputable fact.

The second and final counter-argument is that the only “motive” that could explain the “purpose” of UFOs is, according to Lipp, “that the spacemen are ‘feeling out’ our defenses without wanting to be belligerent. If so, they must have been satisfied long ago that we can’t catch them. It seems fruitless for them to keep repeating the same experiment.” As Head of the Missiles Division of the RAND Corporation, Dr. Lipp should have known that weapons research after World War II was advancing dramatically, thus justifying the continuing UFO surveillance of our planet’s sensitive military and industrial installations for purposes that are still unknown.
RAND Corpartion Headquarters in Santa Mocia, CA.RAND Corpartion Headquarters in Santa Monica, CA. (image credit: Cbl62/Wikimedia Commons - CC License 3.0)

the Martian invasion scenario

Before reviewing the 1968 RAND Document, UFOs: What to Do?, in our next article, we must mention another interesting study made by RAND. Although it was constructed as just one more computer war game scenario, its implications seem indeed strange. Information on this report came from the popular French science writer Jacques Bergier, who in turn obtained it from a book that reveals “the tip of the veil of secrecy” of RAND, titled Analysis for a Military Decision. Among the many hypothetical war scenarios disclosed in this book, Bergier mentions the astounding one of “a plan to invade the earth with flying saucers manufactured on Mars.” According to Bergier, some of the facets studied in this particular RAND scenario were mathematical graphs of the saucers in the Earth’s gravitational fields, as well as the gravitational fields of Mars and its satellites.

“As soon as the flying saucer has been picked up by radar in the earth’s atmosphere and airplanes have gone up to head it off,” continued Bergier, “the model must be subjected  to constant alterations and improvements.” To which he added with good sense that, “this problem seems to have been solved in a masterly fashion by the Martians colleagues of the men from RAND, since to date not one single flying saucer from Mars has been shot down or forced to land.” And this despite the efforts to the contrary by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and those of other nations. Bergier’s final sentence in his section on “Martian Invade the Earth,” is also highly suggestive: “In these laboratories not only man-made wars are studied but also the possibility of wars unleashed by unknown enemies.” We’ll review next what to do with UFOs, according to the men from RAND.

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Looking back at this article 30 years later, one has to admit that the small December 1948 study prepared by James Everett Lipp of the RAND Missiles Division for Project Sign, makes him a true pioneer of SETI in an era long before even that acronym was coined. “This may have been the first U.S. government sponsored study on non-human life in the universe,” wrote Curtis Peebles, an aerospace historian for the Smithsonian Institution and UFO skeptic. Born in 1910, Lipp earned a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1935 and worked for Douglas Aircraft Co. for 13 years before joining RAND in 1948, where he eventually headed its aerospace division. By all accounts, Dr. Lipp was a highly competent aerospace scientist who is mentioned in several histories of the genesis of the American space program. He wrote a RAND paper in February of 1947 titled, “Communication and Observation Problems of a Satellite,” which among other things mentioned the possibility of “spy satellites” for the first time. He is also remembered for a “prophecy” written in this same paper about the enormous prestige to be gained by the first country to launch a space vehicle. Ten years before the USSR launched Sputnik, Lipp wrote:
Since mastery of the elements is a reliable index of material progress, the nation which first makes significant achievements in space travel will be acknowledged as the world leaders in both military and scientific techniques. To visualize the impact on the world, one can imagine the consternation and admiration that would be felt here if the United States were to discover suddenly that some other nation had already put up a successful satellite.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate online the full Lipp report to Project Sign (it may exist in some government FOIA repository somewhere), but those who care to read the complete text can see it in Project Blue Book – The Top Secret UFO Findings Revealed!, an anthology of documents from Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book edited by Brad Steiger in 1976 (Ballantine Books), where it was included.

We did find online a copy of a letter from A. M. Mood of the RAND Corporation to Lt. Col. A. J. Hemstreet of the Technical Intelligence Division at AMC in Wright-Patterson, dated 29 March 1949, which sheds some additional light about the cooperation between RAND and the USAF regarding their early UFO projects. The letter begins by stating that, “we had not planned to issue a formal report on Project Grudge until or unless our study leads to some unusual or unexpected finding which would throw new light on Grudge.” Mood then goes on to say that “we are now working through the data in search of significant consistencies or other indirect bits of evidence,” but that “to date we have found nothing which would seriously controvert simple rational explanations of the various phenomena…” (he includes a long list with balloons, aircraft, planets, hoaxes, etc.).
Memo between USAF and RAND on UFOs.Memo between USAF and RAND on UFOs.

Mood finally raises a few questions about specific incident that seem to be misfiled and wants to know more about the Maury Island case of June 1947: “We have heard from a reliable source of an incident in which fishermen observed flying objects which dropped hot material which they collected and subsequently gave to official investigators. The investigators’ plane crashed but there was a survivor. We do not seem to have a file on this incident – certainly not a complete file. May we have one?”

Finally, my original article mentioned a RAND computer war game of a flying saucer invasion cited by French science writer Jacques Bergier. This came from the book Analysis for Military Decisions, edited by E. S. Quade in November 1964 under the USAF Project RAND contract. The full book is now available online at the RAND Corporation’s Reports and Bookstore page here, where it’s described as: “Presentation of the lectures prepared for the RAND course ‘An appreciation of analysis for military decisions.’ The lectures are designed primarily for decisionmakers and not for analysts; they are not intended to teach systems analysis, but to point out the weaknesses and possible abuses, as well the effectiveness, of an analytic approach to long-range military planning.” Pages 73-75 discuss the flying saucer invasion scenario.

The public’s perception towards the UFO phenomenon in the late sixties had changed considerably from that of earlier days when American citizens would readily accepted the statements spoofed by the U.S. Air Force without further questioning. But following the famous 1966 “swamp gas” episode in Ann Arbor, Michigan in which Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s quick debunking brush off literally triggered a public outcry across the nation, the Air Force decided that it was time to change its UFO policies. To that end, they contracted the services of the University of Colorado to conduct a supposedly “independent” scientific study of UFOs, popularly known as the Condon Report after its chairman, Dr. Edward U. Condon.

It was during these days of intricate governmental planning and counter-planning—which included among other things two Congressional UFO Hearings by the House’s Armed Services Committee (1966) and the Science and Astronautics Committee (1968)—when the RAND Corporation commissioned its own UFO study. Entitled “UFOs: What to Do?,” the study was written by George Kocher and published “FOR RAND USE ONLY” on November 27, 1968 as RAND DOCUMENT No. 13154-PR.

The document came out at a critical time; a few months after the Condon Committee completed its “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects” in June of 1968, yet barely a month before the Air Force released it with much fanfare in January of 1969, stressing the anti-UFO side of the study. Interestingly enough, while Condon concluded that, as put by the Air Force News Release, “further extensive study of UFO sightings is not justified in the expectation that science will be advanced” (which led to the demise of Project Blue Book later in 1969), the RAND Corporation dealt with the opposite side of the coin: what to do with UFOs?
RAND UFO Document coverKocher's RAND UFO Document cover


Because of the vital importance of its work for the national defense and other related areas, the RAND think tank is expected to exercise a high degree of objectivity in its research. As far as UFOs are concerned, the two RAND papers by Dr. Joe Lipp (see article part I) and by George Kocher are written in a sober, informative and open-minded style, aimed more with proposing a rational solution to the flying saucer riddle than with trying to impose any particular view on the readers.

From the beginning, George Kocher puts a degree of caution when he warns in the introduction that “there exists a great amount of misinformation about the phenomenon not only in the minds of the public, but among educated groups such as scientists as well.” The goal of the “series of essays” describing “various aspects of the phenomenon” is, according to the author, “to suggest a means of proceeding on this interesting and potentially very significant problem.”

The full 40-pages thick document consists of 5 essays on different Aspects of the UFO phenomenon: Historical Aspects, Astronomical aspects, The Character of Reports, Phenomenological Aspects, and How to Proceed and Why. It also includes the complete 6-page “UFO Sighting Report” form of the University of Colorado’s UFO Project, and a bibliography of 26 scientifically-oriented books and articles from specialized periodicals. Although the study does not pretend to give us the final answer to the UFO riddle, it does conclude that the phenomenon exists and ought to be investigated in a responsible manner.

Moving in the opposite direction from the government’s program at the time of phasing out all official involvement with UFOs, Kocher recommended the “organization of a central report receiving agency, staffed by a permanent group of experienced UFO investigators and having on call specialists in astronomy, physics, optics, atmospheric physics, psychology and the like for application when needed.” But before analyzing Kocher’s conclusions, we should review first the supporting evidence for those conclusions.

Fatima NewspaperOriginal newspaper report on the Fatima sightings.

Kocher gives a quick overview of the pre-1947 historical aspects of UFOlogy as have been researched by Vallee, B.L.P. Trench (Lord Clancarty), Carl Gustav Jung and other authors. He dedicates some space to discuss the famous miracle of Fatima in Portugal, in particular the October 13, 1917 apparition, which was witnessed “by a crowd of about 70,000 persons, including a number of scientists, reporters, atheists and agnostics, as well as faithful Catholics.” Although Fatima is better known for its religious implications, its relation to the UFO phenomenon has been noticed by a number of researchers. Consider, for instance, the following description by a Dr. A. Garrett of the University of Coimbra, quoted by Kocher: “…It looked like a burnished wheel cut out of mother-of-pearl… The disc spun dizzily round…” etc.


One of Mr. Kocher’s essays is devoted to the “Astronomical Aspects” of UFOs, in which he deals with some of the ground already covered in the late forties by his RAND colleague Dr. Lipp, such as the number of potential stars in the galaxy that may have inhabited planets and so on. He by-passes the much-touted astronomical argument of the huge distances in space vis-à-vis interstellar travel interstellar travel by stating: “I suggest that if a way to circumvent the speed of light restriction is possible, it has already been found by someone in our galaxy.” And he writes at the end of this section that, “thus we may conclude that it is very likely that at least one, and probably many of the 100 million planetary populations is capable of interstellar travel.”


In the following two essays, “The Character of Reports” and “Phenomenological Aspects,” Mr. Kocher analyses the types of reports and patterns that can be extracted from them. He states that “the really interesting class of reports is that reporting phenomenology which is clearly extraordinary,” meaning by this that the qualifications of the observer(s) are such “that the report is not only highly credible but is articulate and quantitative as well.” It is this subclass of reports variously estimated from 5 to 20 percent of the total, he writes, “that offers hope of our learning what is going on.”

In these two sections, Mr. Kocher relies mostly on the pioneer research of both the late Professor James McDonald and NICAP, in particular NICAP’s classic report “The UFO evidence,” edited by Richard Hall. He quotes liberally from these investigations which, it seems, he considers of higher scientific value than those of Major Hector Quintanilla’s Project Blue Book. But Kocher is not a stranger in the realm of personal, onsite investigations of UFO sightings, either. More than 5 pages are dedicated to describe in detail a UFO sighted by four witnesses near Newton, Illinois on October 10, 1966. Kocher was familiar with both the area and the observers, having been reared nearby.

Lack of space doesn’t permit us to describe this sighting in detail, yet Kocher remarked that “the observations are sufficiently detailed to give us adequate confidence that some sort of machine was present, behaving in a very extraordinary way.” Furthermore, Kocher wrote that, “it is this kind of sighting—the kind which is clearly inexplicable in contemporary terms, which causes me (and other interested persons) to take the whole subject so seriously.”

Another portion of the “phenomenological” essay is devoted to categorizing UFO sightings by shape, color, luminous and kinematic behavior, variations with time and interaction with the environment, etc. Displaying a vast knowledge of cases from the Air Force, NICAP and APRO files, Mr. Kocher recommends “careful interviews with witnesses and analysis of large number of reports” in order to obtain “the significant patterns of phenomenology.” If UFOs are some still unknown type of natural phenomena, they “should exhibit some patterns of appearance or behavior which would aid in identifying and predicting them,” states Kocher. Yet he also thinks that “it may be possible to anticipate appearances” if their origin is extraterrestrial.
Excerpt from Kocher's RAND UFO report.Excerpt from Kocher's RAND UFO report.


In his final essay, “UFOS – HOW TO ROCEED AND WHY,” Mr. Kocher gives a list of categories suggested by Prof. McDonald, who believed himself that the phenomenon could be best explained by the hypothesis of extraterrestrial probes. Kocher does not commit himself to any particular hypothesis, but he indicates that several of them have, if explained, a “profound and significant” value to society. If UFOs are extraterrestrial, Kocher writes that “an identification of the phenomenon would be a task of highest potential urgency.”

Kocher finally suggests five areas of improvement in order to understand better the nature of UFOs. First, he recommends the establishment of ‘a central receiving agency,” staffed with competent UFO investigators and scientific consultants in several fields. “This agency should be readily and instantly accessible to the public for the purpose of reporting,” he writes, and links should be opened through “toll-free telephone lines,” reporting forms distributed by the Post Office, cooperation with police departments, etc.

Kocher also mentions the role of the media in this mystery, stating that “the press should be encouraged to report sightings accurately and in a non-sensational manner. Suitable reporting would encourage other witnesses to come forth.” He finally suggests the coordinated use of sensor devices to record “electric, magnetic and gravitational fields, radioactivity, optical and radio frequency anomalies.”

Such a competent and centralized research should be able to produce, after a few years of operation, “generalities about appearance and behavior and most importantly, to anticipate times and locations of appearances.” (Underlying in the original.) Without saying it, Kocher’s nationally-centralized reporting agency implies some type of coordination by the government. Yet ironically, the U.S. Air Force—which has often relied on the research of its most trusted think tank at RAND—did not pay any attention to Kocher’s recommendations. Since the Condon coup, the U.S. Government has publicly ignored the very existence of the UFO phenomenon. Instead, it seems it was the French Government who followed the recommendations set forth by the RAND Corporation, with the establishment in 1977 of its own centralized reporting agency, the GEPAN (see story “France backs UFO study,” UFO Supplement, November 14, 1981).

Kocher finally recommended to go beyond a purely national collection of UFO reports, indicating in the last paragraph that, “it would be much more convincing if data could be collected worldwide and if the most interesting reports could be intensively and completely investigated. I believe current reports justify the expanded data collection and analysis effort.” Did anybody in the government ever pay any attention to this excellent review of the UFO phenomenon and its clearly stated recommendations to solve the mystery?

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RAND Corporation HeadquartersRAND Corporation Headquarters in Santa Monica, CA. (image credit: Cbl62/Wikimedia Commons)

Even though this RAND paper by George Kocher was written in 1968, its premise of creating a “Central Receiving Agency” for collecting UFO reports, which is properly staffed and funded with qualified investigators and scientific consultants, works in coordination with police departments, and doesn’t have preconceived notions or a political agenda, is just as valid and needed as it was when it was conceived by Kocher 43 years ago. MUFON and other private organizations fill that role as best as they can, but these are volunteer groups without official backing and appropriate funding.

There are still many unanswered questions about the genesis of George Kocher’s RAND paper, “UFOs: What to Do?” When posted the full document online in both on pdf and in text format, they included some comments by experts familiar with the official history of UFOs like Jan Aldrich, Dick Hall and Brad Sparks made in 1996. Aldrich, who runs Project 1947, had this to say:
George Kocher worked at RAND. He was interested in the UFOs. He wrote up a short paper for circulation within RAND. It was personal. It was not an official RAND document. Kocher got little or no response to his privately circulated document. One copy of it did make its way to Wright-Patterson. LTC Quintanilla [head of Project Blue Book] wrote RAND a blazing letter. Once again, Quintanilla’s letter was not an official ATIC response, but from Quintanilla’s address and his personal opinion.

Kocher’s supervisor turned Quintanilla’s letter over to Kocher. RAND never responded to Quintanilla. Kocher did not follow up on his paper. The matter went no further. Kocher confirmed all this in a letter to Dr. Hynek which is now at CUFOS with a copy of Quintanilla’s letter. CUFOS made copies of Kocher’s document available years ago.

…There were some UFO fans at RAND. Mary Rorig comes to mind. However, this paper is about as significant as some NICAP member writing a paper supporting contactees. It should be made clear that this was an individual effort within an organization which took no action, and had no discussion on the matter as the result of his effort other than to file it.

While it seems pretty obvious that Kocher’s UFO paper was not a high priority initiative and was never followed up, it was more than just a personal essay as stated by Aldrich. The original cover page clearly states “RAND DOCUMENT,” has a file number 18154-PR and states at the bottom of the page, “For RAND Use Only.” Furthermore, that it’s a legitimate RAND document is clearly established by the fact that it appears in the RAND Corporation’s own Reports and Bookstore page, where it’s listed as a “RAND Unrestricted Draft” and can be downloaded for free in pdf or purchased in print as Document Number DRU-1571. The RAND page describes Kocher’s report as:
Sightings of unidentified foreign objects (UFOs) have been reported throughout the centuries-most of them given a religious interpretation. Since World War II, however, there seems to have been a drastic increase in the number of sightings. We have enough data-both visual and photographic-on some of these sighting to know that the phenomenon is unambiguously extraordinary and clearly inexplicable in modern terms. The author examines UFO brightness, size, and maneuvers, and discusses the frequency and location of sightings. He ends by suggesting the need for more standardized reporting on UFOs, so that times and locations of appearances may be anticipated and badly needed objective data may be obtained.

The RAND Reports page provides also several other papers written by George Kocher for the California think tank—most of them on astronomical subjects—such as “Observations of the 1969 Inferior Conjunction and Greatest Western Elongation of Venus: Data Catalog and Preliminary Analysis” (1970), “A Deep-Space Triangulation Probe To Determine the Astronomical Unit” (1964), “Eclipse Observations from a Jet Aircraft” (1964), and “Environmental Problems: Their Causes, Cures, and Evolution Using Southern California Smog as an Example” (1971). Kocher was obviously a RAND scientist in good standing and 43 years after writing his UFO paper, it is still worth reading and discussing.

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