Special access program

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Concept.png Special access program 
(Tradecraft,  Statecraft,  Classification,  black project)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
B-2 Spirit.jpeg
Start8 March 1972

Special access programs in the U.S. Federal Government are security protocols that provide highly classified information with safeguards and access restrictions that exceed those for regular classified information.[1]

SAPs can range from black projects to routine but especially-sensitive operations, such as COMSEC maintenance or presidential transportation support.


Two types of SAP exist—acknowledged and unacknowledged. The existence of an acknowledged SAP may be publicly disclosed, but the details of the program remain classified. An unacknowledged SAP (or USAP) is made known only to authorized persons, including members of the appropriate committees of the United States Congress.

Waived SAPs are a subset of unacknowledged SAPs in the Department of Defense. These SAPs are exempt by statutory authority of the Secretary of Defense from most reporting requirements and, within the legislative branch, the only persons who are required to be informed of said SAPs are the chairpersons and ranking committee members of the:

  • Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Senate Armed Services Committee
  • House Appropriations Committee
  • House Armed Services Committee.

Oftentimes, this notification is only oral.



Page nameDescription
Deep Underground Military BasePossible large bunkers or even extensive interconnected networks of bunkers hidden deep underground, mostly in the United States.
TR-3 Black MantaA high-tech experimental reconnaissance black project-plane from Lockheed accused of being responsible for a few UFO sightings.


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