News and Commentary

Department of Defense Announces Task Force To Investigate UFOs
A general view of of the Pentagon ,headquarters of the US Department of Defense in Washington DC.
Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

The Department of Defense confirmed Friday evening that it has created a task force to help understand the role of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP), a term roughly synonymous to what the public considers to be UFOs (i.e., unidentified flying objects).

In a press release, the department said that the task force, dubbed UAPTF, was focused on investigating potential threats to national security and “gaining insight” into the “nature and origins of UAPs.”

The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.

As DOD has stated previously, the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern. The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing. 

The subject of UFOs has drawn increased attention over the last year, following the federal government’s confirmation of several videos that have been circulating online beginning in 2017 depicted UAPs. The videos were filmed in 2004 and 2015.

“The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena,” a spokesperson for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare told the Black Vault blog, reported The Washington Post.

“The ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ terminology is used because it provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges,” said the spokesperson.

The Pentagon officially released the videos in April of 2020, copies of which can be viewed in a montage clipped by CNBC.

Joseph Gradisher, the Navy spokesperson, later told The Washington Post that the term “UAP” was used due to its lack of cultural significance, which could deter military personnel from reporting a relevant incident.

“The reason why I’m talking about it is to drive home the seriousness of this issue,” Gradisher told TIME magazine in an interview. “The more I talk, the more our aviators and all services are more willing to come forward.”

However, Gradisher also noted that the “frequency of incursions have increased since the advents of drones and quadcopters.”

The New York Times reported back in July that the name of the task force appeared in a Senate committee spending report, and that the task force planned to later release some of its findings to the public.

The Times reported: 

While retired officials involved with the effort — including Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader — hope the program will seek evidence of vehicles from other worlds, its main focus is on discovering whether another nation, especially any potential adversary, is using breakout aviation technology that could threaten the United States.

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