Pentagon wants to hear all about your UFO sightings
Washington DC - If you see an unidentified flying object in the air, the Pentagon really wants to know about it – and don't worry, officials are promising to take you seriously.
The US Defense Department wants to remove the stigma around reporting such incidents so that it can better investigate them.
This starts with military personnel, Pentagon officials on Tuesday told members of the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing.
"We want to know what's out there as much as you want to know what's out there," said Ronald Moultrie, a top Defense Department intelligence official. "Our goal is not to potentially cover up something, if we were to find something. It's to understand what may be out there, examine what it may mean for us."
The hearing focused on a Pentagon program that started in 2017. It was meant to investigate reports from pilots and other military personnel who spotted what the Defense Department calls UAPs, short for "unidentified aerial phenomena" – what we know as UFOs, or unidentified flying objects.
This isn't the Pentagon's first attempt to record and investigate UFOs. The latest program follows another effort, known as Project Bluebook, which stopped its research about 50 years ago.
UFO videos aired for lawmakers
Scott Bray, deputy director of Naval Intelligence, said that reports of such sightings are "frequent and continuous," with more than 400 recorded by the Pentagon to date – up from the 144 reported sightings between 2004 and 2021. He attributed the rise in reports to the agency's efforts to destigmatize the sharing of such stories.
Understanding and assessing the reports is another matter. The spontaneous and often quick nature of the incidents means that officials frequently have little data to work with.
During the hearing, Bray pointed to footage of a mysterious object zooming by a military aircraft, appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye.
"I do not have an explanation for what this specific object is," he said.
Lawmakers asked Bray to play and replay the video so they could catch a glimpse of the strange images through a plane's window.
In another video, Navy personnel documented a triangle flashing off the coast of the United States. Several years later, Navy personnel witnessed another triangle floating off a different coast in the US, Bray said.
"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," he 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."
Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/forplayday & REUTERS