The Pentagon has logged almost 400 reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), which is more than double the amount that was recorded in the database last year.
As reported by POLITICO, the task force responsible for tracking UAPs – commonly known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs) – witnessed a significant increase in possible UAP encounters after last year’s preliminary report on mysterious flying objects was presented to Congress, as it encouraged more military personnel to come forward about historic events.
The report in June analyzed 144 reports of UAP between the years 2004 and 2021, including 18 that were observed to have unusual movement patterns or flight characteristics. The Office of the United States Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) deemed any explanation for mysterious aircraft as “largely inconclusive” and has continued to investigate sightings.
“Reports of sightings are frequent and continuing,” Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, said on Tuesday, during a hearing about UAPs hosted by a subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee. “The UAP Task Force database has now grown to contain approximately 400 reports. The stigma has been reduced.”
The hearing was the first of its kind in over half a century, and it revealed that 11 of the 400 UAPs that have been tracked were near misses with U.S. aircrafts. A video played during the session showed a close encounter of a spherical craft zipping past a military cockpit but it remained “unidentified” as there was no explanation given for what the object was.
It was also said that the government had not obtained any material from crashed UFOs and hadn’t studied high-profile UFO cases. The task force intends to further research the origins of UAPs and whether they could be explained by “technological breakthroughs by allies or adversaries, secret U.S. vehicles or ‘commercial platforms,’ or ‘natural or other phenomena.'”
The current process of compiling and analyzing UAP reports begins with the operational chain of command and the task force, who file the report in the database and compare it with past observations of UAPs in order to establish any correlations between locations, altitudes, speeds, shapes, and so forth, as part of their endeavours to “reach some conclusions.”
Ronald Moultrie, undersecretary of intelligence at the Department of Defense, noted that the task force had applied pioneering techniques to their studies of UAPs to try and uncover the facts. “A methodical approach is something we are doing that has not been done before,” he said. “We’re open to all hypotheses, we’re open to any conclusions that we may encounter.”
In recent years, the U.S. government has been more forthcoming in acknowledging brushes with mysterious flying objects. In 2020, legislation was passed that asked the task force to collect all available information regarding UAPs and present a “detailed analysis” of their findings, including whether foreign forces may have access to unknown aerial advancements.
The long-term goal for the UAP task force is to widen the scope of its research and broaden its dataset to hopefully draw more concrete conclusions. The sharp rise in reports this past year is a promising step forward, but explaining these UAP sightings and their origins will clearly require some deeper analysis, data collection, and resource investment.
Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.