Since the modern age of unidentified flying object incidents began in 1947, many organizations dedicated to the phenomena have formed (and disbanded). It can be a bit confusing to sort out the alphabet soup of UFO group acronyms, so this article attempts to introduce some of the most commonly encountered international organizations both past and present. If the group is currently active then online contact information is provided. All sites are in English except for the brief list of worldwide organizations at the end of the article.
APRO (Aerial Phenomena Research Organization): Founded by Jim and Coral Lorenzen in 1952, APRO was active until 1988. Based out of Arizona, APRO focused on using scientific techniques to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects. Dr. James E. McDonald, physicist and professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson, was one of several PhD level scientists that consulted with the group. APRO was involved with both the Travis Walton and Paul Bennewitz cases.
BUFORA (British UFO Research Association): Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, BUFORA is one of the oldest active UFO organizations in the world. This group was actually formed when several existing groups formed an alliance to pool resources and work towards the common goal of investigating UFOs. BUFORA can be found on the Internet at http://www.bufora.org.uk
CAUS (Citizens Against UFO Secrecy): Formed in the late 1970s, CAUS was against any and all secrecy regarding unidentified flying objects. With lawyer Peter A.Gersten among its founders (and its eventual head) the group took a legal based approach to its UFO investigations, concentrating on Freedom of Information Act requests. At time of writing, the CAUS website URL is now titled “Attorney Lawyer Search” and the group appears to no longer be active.
CFI (Coalition for Freedom of Information): Known for its successful FOIA related lawsuit against NASA, this group was founded in 2002. It was connected with the Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy) and co-founded Leslie Kean. At time of writing its website is inactive.
COMETA: A French UFO related think tank, whose name roughly translates to The Committee for In-Depth Study, responsible for a well known report issue in 1999. Most commonly referred to in English as The COMETA Report, the paper focused on the national defense concerns raised by unidentified aerial objects. The group included two French Air Force generals, an admiral and scientists. Most of the members were also connected to an important French defense think tank as well. Information on the COMETA Report, including an English translation, can be found at http://www.ufoevidence.org/topics/Cometa.htm
CSETI (Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence): Dr. Stephen Greer’s CSETI was founded in 1990 as a non-profit organization seeking to further the understanding of extraterrestrial intelligence. CSETI is perhaps best known for organizing presentations at the National Press Club. The groups ongoing programs include The Disclosure Project, which provides testimony by military and government personnel pertaining to UFO and alien activity, and The CE-5 Initiative, which seeks to “cultivate bilateral ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence)-human contact and relations.” More information on CSETI, including links to video of their 2001 National Press Club event can be found on their website at www.cseti.org
CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry): Formally known as CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), CSI is a non-profit group encouraging “careful, rational, critical examination of unusual claims.” Probably the best known and most active skeptical group dealing regularly with UFOs, they also publish the journal Skeptical Inquirer. Founding members include Phillip Klass, Isaac Asimov, Dr. Carl Sagan and James Randi. The group’s official website is www.csicop.org
CUFOS (J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies): The late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, scientific advisor to Project Blue Book and skeptic turned UFO advocate, founded the Center for UFO Studies in 1973. Although no longer taking active memberships since ceasing publication of its newsletter The International UFO Reporter, CUFOS still maintains a website at www.cufos.org. On it much of the NICAP material is still available as are key CUFOS articles. The group also offers a DVD archive of 30+ years of their periodicals.
FUFOR (Fund for UFO Research, Inc): Stating its mission to be “to support all reasonable and scientific efforts to learn the nature of” the UFO phenomena, FUFOR has been active since 1979. Currently boasting Dr. Bruce Maccabee and several other PhD on its board, the Fund is chaired by well known UFO researcher Don Berliner. Board member Dr. Thomas Bullard’s UFO Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery was prepared thanks to a grant from the organization. FUFOR also arranged the analysis of abduction questionnaires published by OMNI Magazine in the late 1980s. FUFOR appears to be active today and can be found at http://www.ufoscience.org/index.html
MUFON (Mutual UFO Network): Probably the largest UFO related group in existence today, MUFON was formed in 1969 as the Midwest UFO Network. Today it boasts chapters throughout not only North America but also the world. MUFON broadcasts a radio show on Wednesday nights via shortwave, maintains an interactive map of UFO sightings, publishes a journal for its members and even has its own iPhone app. Information on the activities, publications and chapters of MUFON can be found online at www.mufon.com
NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center): For over 30 years NUFORC has been taking reports of identified flying objects, first via phone and now through the Internet. Director Peter Davenport makes an appearance on The Jeff Rense Show the second Tuesday of each month to discuss recent sightings and reports are available on the group’s website www.nuforc.org . Individuals wishing to report their sightings may visit the website or, if the incident is being reported within seven days of the occurrence, may call 206-722-3000.
NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena): Formed in 1956 by physicist T. Townsend Brown, NICAP flourished under the leadership of Major Donald E. Keyhoe (US Marines, retired) in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, when the organization was as large as 5,000 strong. The published a monthly newsletter called The UFO Investigator (available for download at http://www.ufodocarchive.org/NICAP/UFO_Investigator/) and a milestone paper in 1964 called The UFO Evidence (available as a PDF or Word file at http://www.nicap.org/ufoe/cover.htm). The group declined in the 1970s and by 1980 it ceased publication of its newsletter and dissolved. In the early 1980s its assets (such as files) were purchased by CUFOS but an official NICAP website (www.nicap.org) is currently maintained by Francis Ridge which makes much of the NICAP material and other UFO related documents available to the public.
Other Groups Throughout the World
ALCIONE (Mexico, Center for Studying the Paranormal and Aerial Anomalies) www.alcione.org
CUB (Brazil, Center for Brazilian Ufology) www.cubbrasil.net
RUFORS (Russia, UFO Research Station) www.rufors.ru