The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its annual report on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) on Thursday, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022. The act requires the ODNI to work with the secretary of Defense to submit an annual report to Congress on the subject of UAP.
The report states that the Defense Department’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), which was established in July 2022 to coordinate UAP tracking and analysis efforts beyond the department, received 247 UAP reports since the cutoff date of the ODNI’s preliminary report on March 5, 2021.
In addition to the 247 reports made since the cutoff date, 119 reports were issued on events that happened before March 5, 2021 but were not reported or discovered until after that date. This sets the total number of additional reported UAP incidents, beyond those from the preliminary report, at 366.
The AARO conducted an initial analysis of the 366 newly reported incidents and found that more than half of them had “unremarkable characteristics.” The office characterized 163 reports as balloons or balloon-like entities, 26 reports as unmanned aircraft systems or similar entities, and six as attributed to clutter.
The initial characterization does not necessarily mean a report is positively resolved or unidentified. It only allows the AARO and ODNI to more effectively use their resources to characterize the remaining 171 incidents, the report states.
Most of the new UAP reporting came from Navy and Air Force aviators and operators who observed UAP while performing their job and reported them through official channels. Many of the reports do not have enough detailed data to explain what they were.
The report concluded that reporting has increased in part because of an effort to destigmatize the topic and recognize that UAP pose a potential risk to flight safety and could signal activity from adversaries of the United States.
It also states that coordinated efforts between the Defense Department and other government agencies have allowed officials to have access to increased data sets.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the report is a “significant step forward” in understanding the risks that aviators face, and he feels encouraged that he has seen an increase in UAP reporting.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the committee worked to destigmatize reporting and promote an “all-of-government” response to the reports.
“Unidentified aerial phenomena remain a national security matter, and I will continue to support thorough investigations of all UAP reports and oversight by the Congress,” he said.
**By Jared Gans