WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has no formal approach to report or track sightings of unidentified flying objects, an internal watchdog said, the latest in a government push to get more serious about incidents that some pilots have pointed to as evidence of extraterrestrial visitation.
The report makes no mention of those claims and offers no fresh insight into the mystery around videos the Pentagon released in 2020 showing objects that appear to fly at high speed and move in ways that defy conventional physics.
Those encounters confounded the national security establishment and provoked accusations that the government is covering up what it knows.
The Defense Department Inspector General’s report released Thursday said a two-year investigation concluded there was no “comprehensive, coordinated approach” to address what the military calls “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” or UAP.
The Pentagon “has no overarching UAP policy and, as a result, it lacks assurance that national security and flight safety threats to the United States from UAP have been identified and mitigated,” the inspector general said.
Potential alien sightings have long been the stuff of popular speculation — and science fiction. The topic exploded into the mainstream after the release of the Pentagon videos. During congressional hearings in July, three former military officers described encounters with what they called high-tech, unexplained flying objects. One accused the U.S. of secretly holding onto extraterrestrial wreckage. But some analysts have said the sightings are probably a combination of optical illusions, drones, litter and advanced technology being tested by other nations.
While the inspector general’s report offers no details about past sightings and gives no explanations for what they might have been, it includes a few tantalizing details about the history of such incidents. It says the Pentagon’s first “UAP-focused activities” began in 1947 with the creation of “Project Sign” to investigate what were then referred to as unidentified flying objects.
Air Force personnel reported 243 sightings in 1947-1949, and then investigated some 12,000 such reports from 1952-1969 under what was dubbed Project Blue Book. The Pentagon stopped tracking the phenomena again until 2000, when Congress funded a new program to study them. In 2022, the Pentagon formed the All‑domain Anomaly Resolution Office to study such sightings.
Last year, the Pentagon created a website — www.aaro.mil — to detail its work to get to the bottom of a slew of reported incidents.
Tuesday’s report said the Pentagon’s response to such incidents “is uncoordinated and concentrated within each Military Department.”
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