After the Pentagon released a cache of documents outlining the United States’ military’s policy towards cataloging “unidentified flying objects” —UFOs — the U.S. Navy promised to report UFO encounters to the public on a rotating basis. Now, though, they’re not so sure that’s a good idea.
Newsweek reports that the Navy issued a statement last week indicating that they have no current plans to report UFO sightings or “unexplained aerial phenomena” encounters made by Navy pilots until they can draft formal procedures for handling, investigating, and disseminating such claims.
“There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air spaces in recent years,” the Navy said in a statement released to media on May 1. “The Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in drafts.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, admitted that the Navy has several encounters with “unexplained” or “unidentified” aircraft per month, but that, of course, not all of those encounters remain unexplained, and not all associated aircraft remain unidentified.
The revelation might seem like something straight out of “The X-Files,” but interest in the U.S. military’s UFO encounters has piqued since late 2017, when a cache of declassified Pentagon documents revealed that the government had been keeping closer tabs on UFOs and potential UFOs than Americans might have expected.
Included in the cache was a report from the USS Nimitz, which listed an incident in which “the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group tracked multiple UFOs off California’s Baja Peninsula, with pilots, radar technicians and other military officials confirming the mysterious technology,” according to Newsweek.
“At a certain point, there ended up being multiple objects that we were tracking,” one officer wrote in his official report of the incident. “They all generally zoomed around at ridiculous speeds, and angles and trajectories and then eventually they all bugged out faster than our radars.”
The New York Times also revealed, then, that former U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) had spearheaded a multi-year, multi-million dollar investigation into the Pentagon’s UFO files that included a special investigator charged with combing through UFO-related documents and a program to store and catalog UFO-related debris.
“Under [the investigator’s] direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena,” the NYT reported. “Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.”
The Pentagon program was ultimately discontinued, but branches of the U.S. military were charged with putting together a way for the public to examine UFO claims without having to wait years for the documents to be declassified. For now, though, it seems, the public will just have to wait a little bit longer.