The French Cometa Report: “UFOs and Defense: What Must We Be Prepared For?”

“On Friday July 16, 1999 an important document was published in France entitled “UFOs and Defense: What must we be prepared for?” (“Les Ovni Et La Défense: A quoi doit-on se préparer?”). This ninety-page report is the result of an in-depth evaluation of the UFO problem, covering many aspects of the subject, especially questions of national defense. The study was carried out over several years by an independent group of former “auditors” at the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, or IHEDN, and by qualified experts from various fields. Before its public release, it has been sent to French President Jacques Chirac and to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.”

“In its conclusion, COMETA claims that the physical reality of UFOs, under control of intelligent beings, is “quasi-certain.” Only one hypothesis takes into account the available data: the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitors. This hypothesis is of course unproven, but has far-reaching consequences. The goals of these alleged visitors remain unknown but must be the subject of speculations and prospective scenarios.”

“The report is prefaced by General Bernard Norlain of the Air Force, former Director of IHEDN, and it begins with a preamble by André Lebeau, former President of the National Center for Space Studies (Centre National D’études Spatiales), or CNES, the French equivalent of NASA. The group itself, collective author of the report, is an association of experts, many of whom are or have been auditors of IHEDN, and it is presided over by General Denis Letty of the Air Force, former auditor (FA) of IHEDN.”

“Its name “COMETA” stands for “Committee for in-depth studies.” A non-exhaustive list of members is given at the beginning which is quite impressive. It includes:

General Bruno Lemoine, of the Air Force (FA of IHEDN). Admiral Marc Merlo, (FA of IHEDN). Michel Algrin, Doctor in Political Sciences, attorney at law (FA of IHEDN). General Pierre Bescond, engineer for armaments (FA of IHEDN). Denis Blancher, Chief National Police superintendent at the Ministry of the Interior. Christian Marchal, chief engineer of the national Corps des Mines and Research Director at the National Office of Aeronautical Research (ONERA). General Alain Orszag, Ph.D. in physics, armaments engineer.

The committee also expresses its gratitude to outside contributors including Jean-Jacques Vélasco, head of SEPRA at CNES, François Louange, President of Fleximage, specialist in photo analysis, and General Joseph Domange, of the Air Force, general delegate of the Association of Auditors at IHEDN.

A sidenote:

Some opponents of COMETA have claimed that the association is only a “bunch of retired people.” This is not correct. At the time of the publication of the report, COMETA members situations were:

Général Letty: not retired, chairman of the company he had created. Michel Algrin: attorney, not retired. Pierre Bescond: not retired, chairman of a company. Dennis Blancher: not retired, official in activity. Jean Dunglas: consultant, not retired. Général Bruno Le Moine: not retired, technical director of a company. Françoise Lépine: not retired. Amiral Marc Merlo: not retired, member of the Fondation pour les Etudes de Défense. Christian Marchal: not reired, research director at the ONERA en activité. Alain Orszag: consultant, not retired.”

“General Letty, as president of COMETA, points to the main theme of the report, which is that the accumulation of well documented observations compels us now to consider all hypotheses as to the origin of UFOs, especially extraterrestrial hypotheses. The committee then presents the contents of the study. The first part consists of the presentation of some remarkable cases from both France and other countries.

In a second part, they describe the present organization of research, in France and abroad, and studies made by scientists worldwide which may provide partial explanations of the UFO phenomenon, in accordance with known laws of physics. The main global explanations are then reviewed, from secret crafts to extraterrestrial manifestations.

In a third part, measures to be taken regarding defense are considered, based on information from both civilian and military pilots. Strategic, political and religious consequences, should the extraterrestrial hypothesis be confirmed, are then discussed.” (

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"The second part begins with a survey of the organization of official UFO research in France, from the first instructions given to the gendarmerie in 1974 for the recording of reports, to the creation of GEPAN in 1977, its organization and its results, including collection of more than 3,000 reports from the gendarmerie, cases studies, and statistical analyses. A historical note appears here with a quotation of the famous letter of General Twining, of September 1947, which even then asserted the reality of UFOs.The following chapter, called "UFOs: Hypotheses and attempts at modeling" ("OVNI: hypothèses,essais de modélisation") discusses some models and hypotheses which are under study in several countries. Partial simulations have already been made for UFO propulsion, based on observations of aspects such as: speed, movements and accelerations, engine failure of nearby vehicles, and paralysis of witnesses. One model is MHD propulsion, already tested successfully in water, and which might be achieved in the atmosphere with superconducting circuits, in a few decades. Other studies are briefly mentioned regarding both atmospheric and space propulsion, such as particle beams, antigravity, or reliance on planetary and stellar impulsion."