UFO Sightings By US Troops Surge
Intelligence officials cite recent efforts to reduce the stigma of reporting odd aerial phenomena. Many cases remain unexplained.
Sightings of unidentified flying objects by U.S. pilots, or as the military now calls them, “unidentified aerial phenomena,” has risen sharply since April 2020, when the military declassified three videos taken by Navy pilots that purport to show strange, even unexplainable aircraft.
In the 17 years before March 2021, the military recorded just 144 alleged UFO sightings by troops. But between March 2021 and August 2022, troops reported 366, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI.
The top U.S. intelligence office said that 171 of those cases involved an “uncharacterized and unattributed UAP”—meaning that neither the intelligence agencies or the Pentagon can explain them.
A big reason for the increase is that the Pentagon and the intelligence community are now paying better attention to UAPs, according to the intelligence officials. In August 2020, the Pentagon stood up the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, which has since been rebranded the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office.
“AARO and ODNI assess that the observed increase in the UAP reporting rate is partially due to a better understanding of the possible threats that UAP may represent, either as safety of flight hazards or as potential adversary collection platforms, and partially due to reduced stigma surrounding UAP reporting. This increased reporting allows more opportunities to apply rigorous analysis and resolve events,” the report said.
Most of the sightings can be identified as Chinese surveillance drones, weather balloons, and other forms of aerial clutter, Pentagon officials said.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Thursday that the AARO office "has closely worked with each of the service branches to come up with a streamlined reporting system to be able to collect that information. And then, in addition to the military branches, [it] is also working with the interagency. So organizations like NOAA”—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association—“the Coast Guard, the Department of Energy, just to name a few. And so by establishing those reporting procedures, what it does…is it allows the collection of data, and more data allows us to be a little bit more rigorous in terms of how we go after investigating these incidents.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement: “Overall, I am encouraged to see an increase in UAP reporting – a sign of decreased stigma among pilots who are aware of the potential threat that UAPs can pose.”