The U.S. Defense Department’s internal watchdog office is launching an evaluation this month to see what the U.S. military has been doing when it comes to UFOs, or in modern-day Pentagon parlance, “UAPs,” short for “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.”
The Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General announced in a May 3 letter that the evaluation will seek to “determine the extent to which the DoD has taken actions regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.”
This effort will fold in the offices of the defense secretary, the military services, combatant commands and other players.
No timeline is given in the letter regarding when the probe will wrap up, but it comes as the clock ticks down on a report that is due to Congress from U.S. intelligence agencies regarding what they know about UFOs.
The $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill that President Donald Trump signed in December gave the intel agencies 180 days to provide an unclassified report on UFOs to Congress’ Intelligence and Armed Services committees, CNN reported.
Citing the Senate Intel Committee’s directive, CNN reported in January that the report must contain detailed analyses of intelligence and data regarding UFOs compiled by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the FBI and the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.
The report is also required to include information on how to centralize information on UFO encounters and analysis, while determining whether such phenomena are a national security threat.
The Pentagon stood up the UAP Task Force last summer to monitor ongoing encounters with mysterious objects in the sky and determine whether they pose a danger.
Long the subject of crackpot conspiracies, the possibility of UFOs visiting Earth took on a potential sheen of legitimacy in 2017, when The New York Times broke a story that featured Navy pilot encounters with UFOs that were caught on camera.
Just last month, the Navy confirmed as authentic leaked video and images from the U.S. warship Russell that purportedly show UFO sightings off San Diego in 2019.
And last spring, the Navy released several videos showing pilots’ strange encounters with mysterious flying objects.
The announcement of the IG evaluation is just one more sign the Pentagon is taking such encounters seriously.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.