If late-night movies are any indication, the first thing one is supposed to do when sighting a UFO in the night skies is to demand, "take me to your leader."
In reality, the Pentagon wants you to send an email. Really.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Pentagon officials told members of the House Intelligence Committee that the Defense Department would like to start investigating UFO sightings. Specifically, a new department called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group will handle the reports of UFOs. You can report sightings HERE.
Defense Department intelligence official Ronald Moultrie was present at the hearing and shared that the department wants to know what’s out there as much as anyone else.
“Our goal is not to potentially cover up something, if we were to find something,” Moultrie said. “It’s to understand what may be out there, examine what it may mean for us.”
But removing the stigma doesn’t mean U.S. officials will listen to any report right out the gate, instead, they will begin with reported sightings from military personnel.
In 2017 a program was started by the Pentagon with the goal of investigating reports from pilots and other military personnel who spotted unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs — the Defense Department’s term for UFOs.
Prior to that was a program that ended its research 50 years ago, called Project Bluebook, and it was the Pentagon’s first attempt to record and investigate UFOs.
According to the deputy director of Naval Intelligence, Scott Bray, UAPs are frequently reported, with more than 400 reported by the Pentagon to date. Additionally, from 2004 to 2021, there have been 144.
But now, understanding UAPs is not just to prove a hoax, but instead, a way to understand what could possibly be security threats.
“Unidentified aerial phenomena are a potential national security threat, and they need to be treated that way,” Rep. André Carson, the chairman of the Intelligence subcommittee that held the hearing, said. “For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis. Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did.”
During the hearing, Bray spoke with footage of a mysterious object that could be seen flying by a military aircraft in less than a second. Bray said he doesn’t have “an explanation for what this specific object is.”
Bray showed another example to lawmakers, a video of a triangle flashing off the coast of the U.S., which was caught on camera twice, years apart.
Even though they now know what the object was, Bray said the investigation was crucial to understanding fully.
“We’re now reasonably confident that these triangles correlate to unmanned aerial systems in the area. The triangular appearance is a result of light passing through the night vision goggles and then being recorded by an SLR camera,” Bray said. “This is a great example of how it takes considerable effort to understand what we’re seeing in the examples that we are able to collect.”
Soon, more of these reported sightings will be investigated in an effort to understand some of the most puzzling phenomena.