UFO

Pentagon Unveils New Website for Reporting (and Learning About) UFOs

The Pentagon has opened up a new portal on the internet for professionals to submit reports about UFOs — now officially known as unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs — and for the rest of us to find out about the reports that have been released.

AARO.mil, the website for the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, is still a work in progress. For example, a promised online form for contacting the AARO is labeled as “Coming Soon.” But the version unveiled today offers eight videos showing UAPs, plus archives for congressional reports and briefings, press releases and links to other resources.

“The website will serve as a one-stop shop for all publicly available information related to AARO and UAP,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Department of Defense’s press secretary, said today during a briefing.

Setting up the new website is just one sign that the UAP issue is gaining attention — and credibility — at the Pentagon. This week, DefenseScoop reported that Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has taken on direct oversight of AARO and its director, Sean Kirkpatrick.

That move was aimed at speeding up AARO’s development and the website’s launch. “I believe that transparency is a critical component of AARO’s work, and I am committed to sharing AARO’s discoveries with Congress and the public, consistent with our responsibility to protect critical national defense and intelligence capabilities,” Hicks, who played a lead role in establishing AARO last year, told DefenseScoop.

When the website is fully ready for prime time, it will serve as the secure channel for current or former government employees, military personnel and contractors to register UAP reports. In a news release, the Defense Department said that the secure reporting tool will be launched this fall. “A mechanism for members of the general public to make reports will be announced in coming months,” the Pentagon said.

Civilian pilots were encouraged to report UAP sightings to air traffic controllers. AARO said it would receive UAP-related pilot reports, known as PIREPs, from the Federal Aviation Administration.

AARO lists three UAP categories:

  • Airborne objects that are not immediately identifiable.
  • Transmedium objects or devices.
  • Submerged objects or devices that are not immediately identifiable and that display behavior or performance characteristics suggesting that the objects or devices may be related to objects or devices in the first two categories.

AARO says the Defense Department considers UAPs to be “sources of anomalous detections in one or more domains (i.e., airborne, seaborne, spaceborne and/or transmedium) that are not yet attributable to known actors and that demonstrate behaviors that are not readily understood by sensors or observers.”

The website doesn’t explicitly mention possible extraterrestrial origins for UAPs. One of the reasons why government officials and lawmakers are becoming more concerned about UAPs is because they may represent intrusions by the likes of Russia or China. A prime example would be the Chinese spy balloon that floated across the United States before it was shot down by an Air Force fighter jet.

Alan Boyle

Science writer Alan Boyle is the creator of Cosmic Log, a veteran of MSNBC.com and NBC News Digital, and the author of "The Case for Pluto." He's based in Seattle, but the cosmos is his home.

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