On October 31, the Pentagon unveiled a reporting form for providing information about unidentified flying objects (UFOs), also known as unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP).
However, this new reporting tool is not accessible to the general public. It is exclusively available to current or former federal employees, military personnel, and contractors.
Moreover, it is only open to those individuals with “direct knowledge of alleged U.S. government programs” concerning UAP, according to a Defense Department news release.
Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), expressed, “We want to hear from you,” in the release.
All information shared through this platform will be kept secure, although classified information should not be disclosed on the initial form. Those who provide information may be contacted by officials from the AARO, a branch within the Defense Department, to arrange follow-up interviews.
This move by the Pentagon reflects a resurgence of interest and an unprecedented level of transparency regarding UAP in recent years.
In 2020, the Defense Department released three videos, one from 2004 and two from 2015, showing “unidentified” aerial phenomena. These videos, recorded by Navy pilots, depict unclear objects moving at high speeds through the sky.
In July, Congress conducted a public hearing during which former military officials provided testimony based on their alleged first-hand encounters with UAP.
One of these officials, a former Navy commander, recounted observing a “small white Tic Tac-shaped object” during a flight over the ocean in 2004.
He emphasized that the object “did not operate according to any of the known aerodynamic principles that we expect for objects flying in our atmosphere.”
Despite the surge of attention UAP are now receiving, anecdotal reports of otherworldly objects should be met with a high degree of skepticism, according to experts.
“There’s no good evidence that UAP sightings are non-human (alien) craft,” Mick West, a science writer who specializes in UFOs, told McClatchy News. “Eyewitness accounts are unreliable. Video evidence invariably turns out to be much less interesting than claimed.”
“However, there’s still value in investigating sightings that are unexplained,” West said.
“If a pilot is failing to identify something ordinary (like a balloon), then that’s a problem because it’s (at the very least) a distraction. There’s also the possibility that there are things like adversary drones — either being used offensively or for surveillance. And we can’t 100% rule out the possibility of some technological advance.”