Pentagon sets up a group to investigate unexplained aerial footage

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Pentagon sets up a group to investigate unexplained aerial footage

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Tuesday night announced a new group to investigate reports of unidentified air incidents in sensitive areas, work that will be overseen by both military and intelligence agencies.

The group will lead the effort to “detect, identify and characterize objects” in restricted airspace, as well as reduce any threats to military flights.

The announcement follows the release of a report in June that failed to provide an explanation for 143 sightings of strange occurrences by military pilots and others over the past two decades.

The report disappointed some within the intelligence community, who believed that more analysis and research should have been done to try to classify and explain the phenomenon. The release of a report that said the explanation of the sighting was ambiguous, further heightened the theory that the video or images could be visitors from space, a theory that few in the US government take seriously.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H Hicks said the new group would be called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group. It will be overseen by an Executive Council, composed of senior officials from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Director of Joint Staff and the Director of National Intelligence.

The group will focus on special-use airspace, including military operations areas, firing ranges, and areas restricted for national security and other uses. In a memo, Dr Hicks said unidentified air incidents in special-use areas represent a potential safety issue for military pilots and raise “potential national security concerns”.

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In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report reviewing unidentified airborne incidents observed since 2004, stating that 143 remained unexplained. Of those, 21 reports, including 18 episodes, demonstrated technical information possibly unknown to the United States, such as objects moving without observable propulsion or with rapid acceleration that could be detected by Russia, China or other terrestrial nations. considered to be beyond their capabilities.

Government officials said privately that the information collected contained no evidence of the use of Russian or Chinese advance technology, much less space-travelling aliens. But officials acknowledged that the government’s failure to provide more explanation would fuel a wide range of theories, some more conspiratorial than others.

While the unexplained sightings were mostly around military installations or operations, the report said the collection may have been the result of bias or the presence of state-of-the-art sensors.

Some believe that any phenomenon demonstrating the technology is beyond the capabilities of the United States requires in-depth study. Skeptics believe that most or all of the visuals, including video recorded by cameras on military fighter planes, can be explained by tricks of optics or by naturally occurring phenomena.

But the military research that underpinned the intelligence report did little to address those theories or to provide specific explanations for the various scenes that captured the public’s imagination.

A military intelligence officer for years, Luis Elisondo led a small, focused group within the Pentagon called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The Pentagon has said the program was closed in 2012, but supporters of the program said it continued. In 2020, the Pentagon announced that it had a new group, the Unknown Air Incident Task Force.

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The memorandum issued by Dr. Hicks states that the task force will immediately transition to the new synchronization group. He said the Oversight Council will select an acting director for the new group and issue guidance, subject to Dr. Hicks’ approval.

The new director will have the power to standardize incident reporting of unknown regional events, oversee the analysis of data at unexplained scenes, and identify deficiencies in detection capabilities.

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