A new group, overseen by military and intelligence agencies, has been formed to investigate reports of "unidentified aerial phenomena" in restricted airspace, the Pentagon has announced.
The Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group is replacing the Navy's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, which the military started in 2020 to "improve its understanding and gain insight into" UFOs, according to a Defense Department announcement Tuesday.
"Incursions by any airborne object into our SUA (special use airspace) poses safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges," the release said. "DOD takes reports of incursions — by any airborne object, identified or unidentified — very seriously, and investigates each one."
The new group came after collaboration between Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and other Department of Defense officials. It is set up to address concerns detailed in a preliminary report submitted to Congress in June, reports The New York Times.
The group aims to lead efforts to "detect, identify and attribute objects" in restricted airspace, as well as mitigate any threats to military flights, according to the announcement.
In the June report, explanations were not provided concerning 143 sightings military pilots and others had reported over the past 20 years, leading some in the intelligence committee to demand more analysis and research be conducted.
The report ended up sparking theories that the phenomena could involve visitors from outer space, notes the Times.
The new group is being overseen by an executive council, which will include the undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, the director of the Joint Staff, and senior officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In the June report, the DNI's office said that of the 143 unexplained incidents, 21 reports that involved 18 episodes were determined to have potentially used technology that is unknown in the United States, including objects that moved without propulsion that could be observed or with a form of rapid acceleration that is believed to be beyond Russian, Chinese, or that of other nations.
An acting director will be named for the new group and will be empowered to standardize reporting, oversee data analysis, and identify shortfalls in detection.
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