A new Pentagon office set up to track reports of unidentified flying objects has received “several hundreds” of new reports -- but no evidence so far of alien life, according to the agency officials.
The All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) was set up in July and is responsible for not only tracking unidentified objects in the sky, but also underwater or in space -- or potentially an object that has the ability to move from one domain to the next.
The office was established following more than a year of attention on unidentified flying objects that military pilots have observed but have sometimes been reluctant to report due to fear of stigma.
US intelligence agencies said between 2004 and 2021 there were 144 such encounters, 80 of which were captured on multiple sensors.
Since then, “we've had lots more reporting,” said anomaly office director Sean Kirkpatrick. When asked to quantify the amount, Kirkpatrick said “several hundreds.”
An updated report with specific figures on new reports is expected by the end of the year.
The new office was set up not only to examine the question of whether there’s extraterrestrial life, but also because of the security risk posed by so many encounters with unknown flying objects by military installations or military aircraft.
In May, Congress held its first hearing in more than half a century on the topic, with multiple members expressing concern that whether or not the objects are alien or potentially new technology being flown by China, Russia or another possible adversary, they create a security risk.
So far, “we have not seen anything, and we're still very early on, that would lead us to believe that any of the objects that we have seen are of alien origin,” said Ronald Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security. “Any unauthorised system in our airspace we deem as a threat to safety.”
The office is also working on ways to improve its ability to identify unknown objects, such as by recalibrating sensors that may be focused just on known adversary aircraft or drone signatures, Moultrie said.
One reason for the hundreds of additional reports coming in may be the outreach the department has done to destigmatise reporting potential encounters. Each service has also established its own reporting processes, the Pentagon said.
Beyond unidentifiable objects, there’s a lot of new technology -- such as future stealth bombers and stealth fighters, drones and hypersonic missiles being fielded by both the US and China -- that could be mistaken for a UFO.
According to officials, the new office has been coordinating with the Pentagon and the US intelligence community to get the signatures of US technology in order to rule out those aircraft or drones.