Pentagon Launches New Task Force to Study UFOs

The Pentagon set up a new investigative unit to probe puzzling UFO sightings and incidents reportedly encountered by U.S. military personnel, officials confirmed[1] Friday.

Officially assembled[2] in early August, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, or UAPTF, will be steered by the Department of the Navy. Its formation follows increasing focus[3] from Defense officials and Congress on unexplained flying objects spotted near military bases and restricted airspace.

“[Defense] established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs,” Pentagon officials wrote in a press release published Friday. “The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”

Though Defense personnel did not immediately clarify what sparked the creation of the new task force, the department in April authorized[4] the release of three videos captured[5] by U.S. Navy pilots that appear to show airborne objects operating in inexplicably aerodynamic ways. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified,’” the agency revealed at the time. Shortly after the release, President Trump deemed[6] the footage “a hell of a video,”—and added, “I just wonder if it’s real.” 

In May, The Drive published multiple hazard reports[7] spotlighting brushes between unidentified aerial phenomena and Navy aircraft obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA request. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee in June also voted[8] to require the Defense Department to craft a detailed report for the public synthesizing all UAP-related data so far collected.

“[T]he safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern,” Pentagon officials said in Friday’s statement. “[Defense] and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report.”

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