MYSTERY WIRE — Four years ago, the subject of UFOs changed dramatically when a rock star launched a new venture dedicated to understanding one of the world’s most enduring mysteries.

On October 11, 2017, punk rocker Tom DeLonge, co-founder of the band Blink 182, held a news conference in Seattle where he announced the creation of To The Stars Academy (TTSA).

Part of the plan laid out by the TTSA team was to build systems that will collect UFO data, separate from what the military already gathers. There were also hints of a partnership in which government photos and videos of unusual objects will be released, and a way that regular people can join the effort to identify and investigate unidentified things in the sky.

Officially, the U.S. government said it stopped studying UFOs in 1969 when Project Blue Book was cancelled by the Air Force.

At the announcement event in Seattle, that version of history was challenged by a man who worked directly under Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“For nearly the next decade, I ran a sensitive aerospace identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies. It was in this position that I learned the phenomena is indeed real,” said Lue Elizondo who had resigned from the Department of Defense (DOD) two days prior to the news conference.

He operated at the highest levels of the DOD. and was the head of The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) at the Pentagon. Elizondo spent years collecting UFO data but quit to take a position at TTSA. His presence on stage when TTSA was announced confirmed that UFOs were taken seriously within a small circle in government.

Former Defense Department intelligence official Chris Mellon was also introduced as being part of the TTSA team. He confirmed a stunning UFO encounter with one of the most powerful warships in the world.

On a sunny day in 2004 off the coast of San Diego, the USS Nimitz battle group encountered a technology beyond anything known on earth. It was a mystery aircraft shaped like a 46-foot long Tic Tac that hovered and maneuvered for hours and defied the F-18’s sent to intercept.

Tic Tac video

“In a series of discreet tumbling maneuvers that appear to defy the laws of physics, the object takes a position directly behind the approaching F-18. The pilots capture gun camera footage and infrared imagery of the object but are outmatched by a technology they have never seen,” said Mellon, “At one point, the object soars to 80,000 feet, hovers, then drops at supersonic speeds, makes a full stop 50 feet above the ocean. It is not an experimental U.S. aircraft, but whose is it?”

Watch the Tic Tac, Gimble, and Go Fast UFO videos

Mellon said the incident illustrates the obvious – that higher ups in the defense department know the technology is real and that it’s not ours.

Former Lockheed Skunkworks manager Steve Justice said he thinks UFO data could be incorporated into technology that could change the world.

The TTSA announcement was reported by only a handful of media organizations, but two months later, it was on the front page of the New York Times. TTSA had revealed to The Times it had proof of a secret UFO study called AATIP, as well as a dramatic video of the U.S. Navy’s encounter with a craft dubbed the Tic Tac. In a heartbeat, the UFO topic went mainstream.

In 2016, DeLonge gave Mystery Wire a tour of his offices. He revealed he had talked his way into a seat at the UFO table, by somehow cultivating a group of high-ranking sources or advisors from within the defense establishment, the keepers of UFO secrets. He said he did it by making this pitch, “They have been backed into a corner and need a way for this to get out and I went in there saying, there will never be congressional hearings on this. I understand and accept that but what I think can happen is that we can change belief systems.”

TTSA has been prominently featured in the History Channel show “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation”.

Since the 2017 announcement, the DOD issued a news release acknowledging that an official investigation of the UFO/UAP mystery is underway. This happened after pressure from the public and Congress to disclose more information.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has asked for funding to run the investigations and require the UAP task force to make at least one unclassified report six months after funding is approved.

That report was published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on June 25, 2021. It was only nine pages long and disappointed some. But to many more it signaled a seismic shift in the way the government as a whole would investigate and talk about UFOs.

Since then the Department of Defense mandated that a permanent office for the UAP Task Force be created and lawmakers have also called for this to happen.