by Eric Julien

from ExopoliticsInstitute Website

  • NAP : Non identified Aerospace Phenomenon

  • SEPRA (new GEPAN) : Service of Expertise of Rare Aerospace Phenomena

  • CNES : National Center of Space Studies

  • CNRS : National Center of Scientific Research

  • CEA : Atomic Energy Agency

An audit of the SEPRA, a service located within the CNES to study the UFO phenomenon, was carried out by the Fleximage company (sic) in November 2001. Despite its relative seniority, the OFFICIAL and CONFIDENTIAL document to which we had access is extremely topical. What is an audit? It is a report ordered by an organization, public or private, by a third considered impartial. It aims at evaluating activity and making recommendations on the action to be taken for the future of the aforementioned activity.

Here are the tasks of the SEPRA:

  • collect testimonies (20 to 50 reported statements a year)

  • investigations (1 to 2 a year)

  • base data (external contract)

  • courses and conferences (Civil Aviation, Police Force)

  • follow-up of the topical event

  • relationship with the public (incoming calls)

  • additional tasks, for a number of agents of 1,5

About thirty graphs of the audit, provided by the SEPRA, testifies to its activity and the undeniable reality of an enigmatic phenomenon for scientific study. One will be astonished however by the difference between this under-sourced institution and the private sector whose ufological associations count several hundreds of people for the same type of activity! The effectiveness of these last thus does not suffer the comparison. The difference? The stamp of the State! But who in the State? The only technical relations between the SEPRA and the internal services of the CNES (requests for data) relate to the orbitography and the balloons (20 a year).

Let us go directly to the conclusions of François Louange, director of Fleximage. The first of them is the continuation and the development of the activity of the SEPRA for “scientific” and “civic” reasons. First of all, it seems to be an excellent service for the spirit of knowledge which must prevail in a democracy. Then,

  • the choice between an internal option with the CNES and a form of Foundation

  • the strong bond of this service within the CNES whatever the selected option

  • restitution of acronym GEPAN to better indicate its main function

  • mission of investigation and analysis

  • increased resources

  • the installation of a steering committee

  • improved communication with the public

  • finally, the widening of this activity to a European dimension

This essentially resembles a list of products before entering the market.

It is however necessary to have known the experience of a public company to decipher this document at the very least revealing in the document the state of mind that prevails in the microcosm of the French official ufology. More than one state of mind, it is about a strategic orientation.


The report breaks up into four parts :

  • "current situation"

  • "arguments and opinions"

  • "recommendations"

  • "appendix"

The latter is a list of reports of talks of thirty-three personalities delivering their opinion on the UFO problem and the activity of the SEPRA, opinions which will be the subject of a summary in the second part, and on which, by definition, the audit is based. On its hundred and fifty pages, the useful part represents only thirty percent, of which the synthesis of the opinions are on four pages. What is striking is the emphasized selection.


François Louange says to us,

"that about thirty personalities were contacted in France (...) the objective of these talks was to collect in a neutral way the opinion of each one on the subject, so much on the content (interest to study testimonies of NAP) that on the form (role of the CNES and organization of work), by seeking the greatest diversity of representative opinions".

The public, which pays its taxes and which finances the CNES, therefore the SEPRA, especially if its budget must grow, does not seem "concerned of near or by far by the problems of the UFO", except to provide testimonial information which is SEPRA main function precisely.

Let us see indeed how the announced representativeness and neutrality are articulated :

- Armies: 12 is 36 %

- CNES: 10 i.e. 30%

- Research centers: 4 is 12 %

- Media: 4 i.e. 12%

- Other institutions: 2 i.e. 7%

- Citizenship: 1 is 3%.

We classified in the soldiers three members of the CNES (out of the ten) whose role concerns National Defense. Moreover, the military cabinet of Matignon belongs to the twelve representatives "National Defense". In addition to the soldiers, the reader could be astonished by the place (30%) which occupies the CNES in his characteristic to that, whereas the thin supply of in-house data does not justify it !


Let us point out that the CNES has an orientation more technical than scientific, which however requires the comprehension of the greatest mystery of all times. In the "Research centers", we find three members of CNRS and one of the CEA. It is indeed a "certain" vision of the representativeness of the scientific world. The more so as, on these four personalities, two are at the top of the… administrative hierarchy ! But where are the real researchers ? In the media, of the four people interviewed, we find three personalities of the French televisual landscape (TF1, France 2, France 3), in other words the people are very motivated by the UFO phenomenon and believe the plethora of broadcastings on the subject. Things can of course always change.


The other journalist is of a big national daily, section science and medicine. It would be very premature to count there the relevant number of articles of the UFO apart from those mentioned in the audit. The two other organizations of State are by definition subjected to the duty of reserve. You wonder "but who is thus THE representative of the citizens being expressed in the name of the sixty million French ?". Probably an effective counterweight vis-a-vis this bureaucracy. It is about a Deputy and mayor, that of a locality of twelve thousand inhabitants, near the Toulouse pole of the CNES: Ramonville Saint-Agne!

With the discharge of Fleximage, this town, with a romantic name, is completely charming. But is it representative? Nevertheless, François Louange reassures us :

"the statistical study of these opinions would not have any value of representativeness (sic), but it is however possible to summarize the dominant tendencies collected...".

This confession of a contradiction suffices for itself.

We will continue the analysis of this audit by keeping in mind the underlying goal of the sleeping partner (general direction of the CNES) :

"this review of arguments, in favour or in discredit of the continuation of the activity of the SEPRA and of its possible reorientation, rests mainly on a series of discussions with French personalities representative of all the tendencies".

This way of insisting on the representativeness of the people interviewed has something indecent about it because, let us point out it, it acts as a confidential document resulting from a public institution. It reveals the double language which will be illustrated along its reading. Words without strong actions… In reality, the audit is a remarkable work of a tightrope walker. Swung between the good will to save what is possible to save (communication with the public) and not to offend the soldiers and the top management of the CNES, the analyst skillfully stresses where it is painful.


One cannot attribute the list of “representatives” to him since it probably comes from the general direction, itself maybe “advised” by Matignon. Let us point out that the audit has been followed by some facts, which is a clear justification of the François Louange trials. The series of little steps below seems to coincide with the two years that it should take to capture the data in the remaining 3000 files at the end of 2001. Indeed, among his detailed conclusions, one of them recommend to attach SEPRA to Management:

"it would be more logical to place it, on the hierarchical level, directly under the responsibility of a direction of the headquarter, provided that this one is open and motivated".

What was made during 2004. A considered magazine with scientific vocation, dealing with sky and space, and which had shouted on the roofs the death of the SEPRA with a not disguised satisfaction did not have obviously good information from the National Center of Space Studies! A paradox or a disavowal? The other "encouraging" sign is the creation of a steering committee of ten people whose composition must be sufficiently eclectic, and, this to be formed lies with the audit. It has a few months to form, Arnaud Benedetti, director of the communication of the CNES, indeed announces the establishment of such a committee, remaining under the control of the DG of the CNES.


This audit thus seems to be the flight plan of the future SEPRA. Where will its navigation lead to? The question is to know if the attitude of the CNES will radically change in its opening to others. Let us reveal facts. The report specifies that an official letter of the embassy of the USSR arrived at the CNES in February 1983 after the GEPAN requested it. The Academy of sciences of the USSR confirmed its engagement in advanced studies on the UFO.

"This answer invited France, if it wished it, to cooperate on this subject, by indicating the Soviet organization concerned and the correspondent to be contacted: institute IZMIRAN and Mr. Migouline. Was this proposal ever followed up on the side of the CNES ".

Timidity or strategy? But by the way, what can the Academy of Sciences in France do twenty years after its counterpart ? Are the Russian scientists victims of a major hallucinatory influence ? European side, it is into 1992 that the European member of Parliament Belgian Mr. di Rupo deposited a proposal of resolution (B3-1990/90) "aiming at creation of a,

"European Center of observation of the UFO" which would be based on the competences already acquired by the SEPRA in France. This project is always officially in suspense"

... thirteen years later ! In South America, at the time of a meeting in 1998 on the NAP, between the SEPRA and the very official Comité de Estudios de Fenomenos Aéreos Anomalos in Chile,

"the president of the CEFAA officially addressed to the CNES a request aiming to the establishment of a cooperation agreement between the CEFAA and the SEPRA. Didn't this request have a positive continuation to date".

Still one? As for the USA, François Louange summarizes at the very least a curious point of view :

"on an official level, we will leave aside possible (probable) the implications of intelligence agencies of certain countries (in particular of the United States), whose activity is, by definition, covered by the secrecy. There is no information useful to wait for on this side... ".

One imagines that, if there is secret, it is precisely because there is information useful to collect! Towards who is this opening to others likely to succeed? The introduction of the audit seems to give a track :

"the study of the NAP, since roughly fifty years, is almost exclusively the private initiative object: individuals, groups, associations, etc ".

Would the serious and organized ufologists be likely to collaborate with the SEPRA in its updated version?

With the truth, François Louange does not have to cease to point out the kingly character of the mission of the SEPRA in opposition with "the ufology amateur" who however looks at CNES with the eyes of love. The analysis of the text answers in fact this throbbing question that the ufologists have posed: will the SEPRA survive ? The answer is yes, large yes ! The facts above show it.


But more than these facts, in fact the underground intentions count:

"the near total of the speakers (including the 36% "Armies") rejects the assumption firmly to entrust the mission of the SEPRA to National Defense, even if they recognize all that it is concerned with the problem. The principal reason is the insurmountable difficulty that that would create in the field of the communication, because of the management of the secrecy by the soldiers and, symmetrically, of the mistrust of the public and the media ".

Thus, the people interviewed do not reject the role of the soldiers for reasons of ethics but because the State is wary of its citizens!

Thus, translated into accessible terms,

"if it is wanted that the public continues to feed our data base via the Police Force, the SEPRA must officially be public but be semi-officially controlled by the soldiers".

In other words, all is only one business of communication to tap information of the public in the reports of Police Force, themselves military. Nothing on the scientific justification itself ! It is not moreover the immediate object of SEPRA since François Louange indicates that, of the three initial functions (counter, analysis and research), only will remain the two first.


With others the care of the Research and Development. But who? Fleximage affirms high and strong that the SEPRA must find again its capacity of communication. It is essential! That is to say. What will the public get in return of its docility in the police confessional? The audit explains it clearly:

"the general service of the COM of the CNES must have at one’s disposal already prepared answers to face the questions about the NAP, while returning according to cases towards a publication or Internet site of the SEPRA (...) regularly updated and providing a partial access to the data base".

The SEPRA is also supposed to publish technical documents and to place them at the disposal of the public. In short, to communicate a little more than today. It should be said that the number of statements recorded break down. Problem of confidence to be solved ? Let us add,

"that in the case of exceptional event, causing an unusual surge of requests on the NAP, the emergency procedure of the general service of the COM of the CNES could be actuated, as far as possible, in close cooperation with the associated SEPRA and its laboratories and experts".

There will be probably never again be waves of UFO in France but for the rains of meteorites or MIR station. Though it is,

"of the well prepared interviews will allow, if necessary, to diffuse on the audio-visual media a message clear and single going in the same direction" because it is obvious "that as from the moment when the decision will be made to maintain the SEPRA or to reinforce it, according to the recommendations of this audit (...) the speech on the NAP towards the outside of the CNES will have to be clear and single".

About which clear and single speech does speak one ? That which justifies the survival of the SEPRA, i.e. “scientific” and “civic” reasons according to the public power !


"... the fundamental role of science is to seek to understand the observable ones without no a priori. These speakers underline nevertheless that the stake could not justify too significant investments, in the current state of knowledge on the subject".

Who decides the stakes? Between Scientific Research and National Defense, which has the largest budget ?

The scientific interest of the statistics is in the correlations between several factors. Never communicated to the public ! But the director of the SEPRA had said it to us :

"we cannot make state of it yet. The results are very coherent". Coherent indeed with "the duty of the State to provide official answers to the interrogations of the public and media about the NAP, while thus avoiding leaving the entirely free field to irrational... ".

On a side the State, other the irrational ones. Isn't this a little reducing? The role of the SEPRA is a pledge of progress in knowledge for the middle and the long term. It is thus essential that it goes on and adapts to expectations. But a double question exposes itself in the audit... Who is at the disposal of who? Or of what?