Following the official closure of the Air Force’s Project Blue Book in December of 1969, it was assumed that all branches of the U.S. government and military had washed their hands of the issue of investigating UFOs. However, the decades since the Project’s closure have told a different story, as evidenced by leaked documents such as the MJ-12 files, testimony from former government employees and contractors, and illustrated by eyewitness accounts of fighter jets intercepting UFOs.
A recent addition to this body of evidence that the government is still dealing with the subject has been found in a U.S. Department of Defense procedural manual by UFO blogger Paul Dean. The document in question, "DoD Manual 5040.6-M-1, Decision Logic Table Instructions For Recording And Handling Visual Information Material", was issued on Oct 21, 2002, instructing applicable personnel on procedures regarding the handling of visual recordings:
"This Manual is issued under the authority of DoD Instruction 5040.6, ‘Life Cycle Management of DoD Visual Information,’ April 10, 2001 (reference (a)). It contains guidelines for both the recording of visual information (VI) in the field by camera operators and the accessioning of such VI as VI records into a records center, such as the Defense Visual Information Center (DVIC)."
While the manual itself is an otherwise mundane series of instructions on how to process video and still images for submission to DVIC, it does contain a curious section regarding the handling of images of UFOs:
C5.21. UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT (UFO) AND OTHER AERIAL PHENOMENA IMAGERY
The following table concerns imagery that records UFOs and other aerial phenomena not obviously identifiable as conventional aircraft or missiles. The table also lists the priority assigned to each category of imagery and provides relevant handling instructions.
5-21-1. Aerial flying objects not obviously identifiable as conventional aircraft
5-21-2. Aerial phenomena (including moving lights and similar phenomena)
NORMAL. Provide copies or dubs as needed to local and major commands. Handle camera-recorded imagery according to Appendix 2.
While section C5.21 doesn’t necessarily imply that the DoD or other government branches are actively seeking material on UFOs, it does indicate that the DoD acknowledged the fact, at least at the time, that military personnel ran the chance of encountering recordings of UFOs that would need to be transferred up the chain of command. It is also interesting that the table goes so far as to distinguish between apparent solid objects, and less distinct luminous phenomena.
This is a far cry from the typical pooh-poohing of the UFO subject that the public is presented with, and indicates an almost mundane attitude toward the acquisition of these recordings: Aside from handling the material using "NORMAL" procedures, appendix 2 is simply a table of instructions on what departments that different recording formats need to be submitted to, procedurally lumped in with the majority of other, more mundane recordings.
DoD Manual 5040.6-M-1’s successor, DoD Manual 5040.6-M-2, was issued 3 years later, in April 2005. Unfortunately, it appears to have excluded any instructions on how to handle UFO recordings entirely.