For decades the US government has kept UAP sightings classified. With the passing of the UAP Disclosure Act through a bi-partisan vote by the US House of Representatives and Senate, a new era in UAP investigation is about to begin. The Act was passed by the House on 14 July and is now in the Senate. Once passed, the public will be informed of non-security-related sightings and government whistleblowers will be protected. This new act comes after the the Pentagon confirmed that about 2-5% of the 800 cases investigated remain “truly anomalous.”
The reports of UAP (Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena) sightings from pilots, citizens, and law enforcement have increased dramatically in recent years, to more than 100 reports a month in the US alone. And, with the commercialization of drones, this is not at all surprising. In recent years, there has been an increased effort on the part of the US government to study and document UAP sightings more systematically.
The US House of Representatives in a rare bi-partisan vote approved on Friday, 14 July 2023, The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes the UAP Disclosure Act. This Act will require the release of known sightings of UAP, the term the US government now uses for unidentified flying objects (UFO). The bill requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to declassify any documents that “will not compromise national security” and records about publicly-known UAP sightings. The Act also requires the creation of secure channels for UAP reporting, including the protection of whistleblowers. Once passed by the US Senate the UAP Disclosure Act will become law.
In April 2020 the Pentagon released three unclassified videos of UAP, to clear misconceptions about whether the UAP were real. A former US Navy fighter pilot who regularly witnesses these UAP stated: “Objects demonstrating extreme capabilities routinely fly over our military facilities and training ranges. We don’t know what they are, and we are unable to mitigate their presence.”
In the past, US fighter pilots who have observed UAP have been reluctant to come forward, as they feared the stigma associated with reporting a UFO sighting. Lieutenants Ryan Graves and Danny Accoin, both Super Hornet pilots in the US Navy, together with three other unnamed pilots of the same squadron, spoke on record to the New York Times in 2019 about observations they made during the period summer 2014 to March 2015. “People have seen strange stuff in the military aircraft for decades” according to Graves. The observations made by himself and his colleagues still leave them clueless. These objects had spinning tops, moved against the wind, with no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes and could reach 30 000 feet and hypersonic speeds.
In July 2022 the DOD set up the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) to “identify unidentified anomalous phenomena that might pose a threat to national security and the operations of the military and federal agencies”. The AARO was set up after the release of the 2021 Report of the US ODNI (US Office of the Director of National Intelligence) on UAPs, which concluded that it could not explain 18 recorded cases of UAPs which exhibited unusual movement patterns such as remaining stationary mid-air, moving rapidly, and changing direction abruptly (https://www.iglobenews.org/unidentified-aerial-phenomena-us-odni-report-on-uaps/).
A recently established committee by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), consisting of a team of experts ranging from professors to former astronauts, examined about 800 reports of UAP. The panel held its first public presentation on the results of its investigations on 31 May 2023. “This does not mean aliens … but it does mean that something interesting is going on. And NASA is going to take this seriously by assigning some really high-powered people to think about it.” (Northeastern University physics Professor Jacqueline McCleary).
The NASA panellists used unclassified data available to the public to create a “roadmap” for future analysis of UAP. Although the panel dismissed most sightings, classifying them as planes, drones, weather-related or balloons, there remained a small percent of UAPs which were unidentified. Many bizarre and anomalous reports often have rather innocent explanations such as a glitch in a camera and/or unusual lighting. Yet approximately 35 reports out of 800 already reviewed by the NASA committee indeed appear to be bizarre, anomalous, and currently unexplainable.
Some, however, find it rather odd that NASA, known in the past for debunking all UAP claims, is now taking UAPs very seriously, and is even considering enlisting private companies to develop software apps to allow smartphones to capture better UAP. The goals are, according to Daniel Evans, assistant deputy associate administrator for research at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, to assess whether UAP pose risks to operations in air and space; to separate fact from fiction; and to use science to explore the unknown. “There is absolutely no convincing evidence for extraterrestrial life associated with UAPs,” Evans emphasized. But this could also be due to lack of appropriate data.
During the first public briefing of the NASA committee on 31 May 2023, astrophysicist David Spergel – president of the Simons Foundation, professor at Princeton University and chair of NASA’s commission, openly stated that the existing data and eyewitness reports do not allow for concrete conclusions. UAP sightings and reports often lack conclusive evidence or scientific verification.
There have been UFO sightings for decades. On 13 March 1997, in the skies over Phoenix, Arizona, thousands of people, including residents, police officers, and the then-governor of Arizona Fife Symington reported seeing lights in a V-shaped formation moving slowly across the sky. Witnesses described the lights as large, triangular, or boomerang-shaped, with some estimating the size to be several football fields in length, moving at a slow speed without making any sound. The phenomenon was visible for several hours and across the state. The official explanation given by the US Air Force stated that the lights were flares dropped during a training exercise conducted by A-10 Warthog aircraft southwest of Phoenix. Despite the official explanation, the Phoenix Lights sighting remained controversial: many witnesses and UFO researchers continue to question the flare explanation, pointing out that the lights appeared to be too large and did not exhibit characteristics of flares. While the official explanation attributes the lights to military flares, the Phoenix Lights sighting left many unanswered questions and fueled ongoing speculation.
The Rendlesham Forest incident, also known as “Britain’s Roswell,” is a well-known UFO sighting and alleged encounter that took place in late December 1980 in Suffolk, England. The incident began on the night of 26 December 1980, when military personnel reported strange lights in the nearby Rendlesham Forest. The lights were described as glowing objects that seemed to move and pulsate. A small group of military personnel, including Deputy Base Commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, went to investigate the lights in the forest. They witnessed bright white and multi-colored lights hovering and flashing among the trees. Some witnesses reported seeing a metallic triangular craft on the ground. Skeptics argue that the lights and sightings were misidentifications of mundane objects such as lights from a nearby lighthouse, or military exercises. Others suggest that the incident involved a potential extraterrestrial craft or a classified military experiment.
On 12 January 2023, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that the US government has received over 510 reports between late 2004 and mid-2022, with hundreds of reports since 2021 alone. NASA and AARO are now studying the skies intently. Both NASA and AARO have announced the release of reports on UAP in the summer of 2023.
The fact that NASA, the world’s premier space agency, is actively studying these sightings shows that there just might be more to UAP than meets the eye. Republicans and Democrats are joining forces to shed light on decades of denials and information suppression by the US government.