When people find out what I did for a living while in the Military, their eyes kind of glaze over and they don't seem to hear what I just said. Typically, the next question from them is, "Are UFOs real?" or "Do Aliens exit?" When you think about it, if we were alone in the universe, half of my job would have been not necessary, and I could have just concentrated on missiles popping up from the opposite side of the world coming towards us. However, there is already people doing that job in Missile Warning. That was their job, and I would have not been necessary. I was the Space Officer, trained in orbital mechanics, space law (including space treaties), and launch and space operations. In fact, my Master’s Degree is in Space management. That is Outer Space, not office space.
The obvious answer is yes to both questions. However, in the military we did not call them UFOs we called the "Uncorrelated Targets" (UCTs). However, this could be confusing because anything that was not of known orbital parameters for the objects that were listed in the space catalog was considered a UCT until it could be tracked, identified, and new orbital elements recorded in the catalog. This usually happens to known objects from time to time due to perturbations of gravity, solar winds, and possibly even maneuvers. Therefore, everything in space around the earth was and still is tracked twice a day to maintain the Space Catalog.
Now why would we do that? Why expend the resources and energy to track items that we already know about? There are basically three simple reasons. One is that it is getting pretty crowded up there with space junk, rocket bodies, pay loads, golf balls, gloves etc. All of which must be accounted for when we do a space launch or mission. You don't want your space ship to run into a golf ball at 17,000+ miles per hour. That would not be pretty, and even devastating which would also generate much more space junk we would have to track. It is unavoidable, that every launch from anybody generates space junk. It could be an expended rocket body the size of a football field, or just a bolt or strap that held the stages together until stage separation.
The second reason for tracking everything is that space is to keep everyone honest. We don't want anyone hiding a weapons platform behind an expended rocket body or in or around a cluster of space junk. Doing so would be a violation of Space Law and Space Treaties. Therefore we have become the watch dogs for the world to keep weapons out of space.
The third reason is because everyting that goes up (and does not excape earth's gravity) must come down. Space Law states who ever put up the object into space is lible for the damages when it comes down. We police that for the world.
Now consider a UCT or UFO that wanted to come to our planet. Unless they had our help, they would have to deal with all this space junk which sometimes would act as a protective shield. In other words, they would have to track it all before they attempted to enter the atmosphere. Which means this attempt would "light them up" like a flashlight in a dark room regardless of the technology that was being used to clear the way. Something to contemplate.
To Be Continued...