The Pentagon‘s dedicated UFO investigations office has fielded at least 291 UFO cases within the past year, according to a report made public late Wednesday night.
Some of these seemingly advanced craft appeared to exhibit ‘concerning performance characteristics,’ the military’s UFO investigators wrote, including ‘high-speed travel’ and ‘unusual maneuverability.’
The report caps off a summer hot with extraterrestrial intrigue in Washington, where multiple government UFO whistleblowers have come forward, some publicly, some behind closed doors, with allegations of an illegal UFO crash retrieval program.
The claims — which have included ‘intact and partially intact vehicles,’ exotic weapons programs, charges of witness intimidation and recovered ‘non-human’ bodies — are now being investigated by federal and congressional oversight authorities alike.
While that new report concludes that none of 2023’s airborne mysteries were the result of classified US programs, the Pentagon’s UFO chief told reporters that a few UFOs displayed ‘concerning’ signs of being made by America’s foreign adversaries.
In fact, the Pentagon UFO head said ‘a lot’ of these UFO cases have been referred to law enforcement and, in some serious cases, US counterintelligence investigators.
‘I am worried from a national security perspective,’ physicist Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the US Department of Defense’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) told CNN in advance of his office’s new UFO report.
‘There are some indicators that are concerning that may be attributed to foreign activity,’ Dr. Kirkpatrick said, ‘and we are investigating those very hard.’
The physicist — whose classified work prior to assuming leadership of AARO included stints with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the CIA — expressed fear that foreign nations may be designing espionage drones specifically to evade US radar and other detection hardware.
‘There are ways to hide in our noise that always concern me,’ Kirkpatrick told CNN.
The annual report published Wednesday by Dr. Kirkpatrick and his team included a glossary to aid in the standardization of the once fringe topic of UFOs, now known professionally as UAP, for ‘Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon.’
The glossary defined ‘UAP Threat’ as any UAP that demonstrate a national security risk to military ‘persons, materiel, or information,’ in an indication of the priority AARO has given to intelligence and espionage risks posed by the phenomenon.
In one now infamous wave of cases, following identification of a large white Chinese spy balloon last February, military officials identified more potential airborne surveillance platforms by readjusting the sensitivity of their radar system filters.
‘I suspect that filters on US systems had previously been ignoring things that were too slow, high, or small to be considered threats,’ RAND Corporation senior technical analyst and former US Navy aviator Brynn Tannehill told Wired that month.
‘Now that the parameters on the filters have been adjusted, we’re seeing more of what was already there for the past few years.’
Those adjustments to US military radar’s noise reduction methods led to the identification of an object, first spotted north of Anchorage, Alaska, reportedly the size of a small car.
Despite Dr. Kirkpatrick’s statement that his office is actively chasing down potentially similar cases, AARO’s annual report Wednesday drew a more measured conclusion.
‘None of these UAP reports have been positively attributed to foreign activities,’ according to AARO’s unclassified report for fiscal year 2023.
In addition to statistics on the typical elevations and locations at which UAP have been reported, the FY2023 AARO reported took pains to note the issue of ‘collection bias’ and its future plans to better collect space-based and undersea data on UAP.
‘The space and maritime domains need to be fully integrated into AARO’s processes,’ the report stated.
Kirkpatrick’s UFO office plans to work with the US Navy and the National Intelligence Manager for Military Integration (NIM-MIL) to improve the speed and quality of reporting on undersea UAP or sea-to-air transmedium UAP.
‘Collaboration with Space Force, US Space Command, NRO [the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees US spy satellites] and NASA is well underway,’ AARO said in the report.
In a nod to NASA’s own UAP advisory panel, the report made numerous references to the need to better calibrate, or prepare and standardize, military sensors in an effort to obtain the kind of reliable and comparable data needed to investigate UAP.
Despite the ostensible openness and promises detailed in AARO’s report, many longtime civilian UFO researchers, expressed concern that the office has overseen a retrenchment in transparency on the topic.
At least one longtime UFO researcher, government open records advocate John Greenewald, Jr., described the Pentagon’s new policies as ‘a weird mixture’ of ‘increased excessive secrecy surrounding UAP’ and ‘preaching about ‘transparency.”
Greenewald has noted new difficulties in obtaining government records on UFOs via the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the years since the creation of dedicated UAP investigative mandates internally within the Pentagon.
He flagged one comment from the new AARO report as particularly worrisome, which stated the belief that ‘most UAP will likely resolve to ordinary phenomena.’
‘AARO’s, and subsequently the DoD’s, position is once data is fine tuned and proper, most – if not all – UAP cases will resolve to simply being ‘ordinary,” Greenewald posted to X (formerly Twitter).
‘This is exactly how Project Blue Book progressed and then ended,’ he said, in reference to the US Air Force’s Cold War-era UFO investigation program.
‘They concluded the majority were explainable; they convened a panel of scientists to independently look at the findings; and it all ended with the military halting interest and stopping all funding for more than 40 years,’ Greenewald said.