The US Department of Defence has launched a website designed to serve as a “one-stop shop” for publicly accessible data on “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (UAPs), often known as UFOs
The website will also act as a central repository for information about closed UAP cases, including images and videos as soon as they are released, according to Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder.
“The website’s other content includes reporting trends and frequently asked questions section, as well as links to official reports, transcripts, press releases and other resources that the public may find useful,” Ryder said. “The department is committed to transparency with the American people on AARO’s work on UAPs.”
The All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, is in charge of running the website. The goal is to “[m]inimise technical and intelligence surprise… of unidentified anomalous phenomena in the vicinity of national security areas,” according to the AARO website.
Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have always piqued the public’s curiosity, but in July, three military veterans testified before Congress that the government had been keeping too much information about UFOs hidden.
“UAPs, whatever they be, may pose a serious threat to our military and our civilian aircraft, and that must be understood,” Democratic Representative Robert Garcia of California said during the hearing. “We should encourage more reporting, not less on UAPs. The more we understand, the safer we will be.”
The Pentagon reported tracking more than 650 possible UAP instances in April.
The website of AARO characterises UAPs as “sources of anomalous detection” in one or more domains – such as airborne, seaborne, or spaceborne – that are “not yet attributable to known actors and that demonstrate behaviors that are not readily understood by sensors or observers”.
A form for reporting actions linked to UAPs will soon be available on the website for use by US government workers, contractors, and military members with knowledge of US programmes.
A separate reporting mechanism for the general public will be available “in the coming months,” the release said, adding that the site will “serve as a one-stop shop for all publicly available information related to AARO and UAP”.
However, AARO makes clear on its website that the reporting form is not intended to transmit classified or sensitive material and that staff members will get in touch with the individual who provided the information to find out more.
The most often reported characteristics of UAPs are that they are spherical, seen at between 10,000 and 30,000 feet, between 1-4 meters in size, and either white, silver, or transparent, according to reporting trends provided on the AARO website.
Government reports have given no explanation for some UAP occurrences, while others have given explanations for “balloon or balloon-entities,” drones, birds, meteorological conditions, or airborne debris like plastic bags.
In response to a question about how the Pentagon would prevent jokes and lighthearted reports from flooding the site, Ryder assured reporters that an upgrade would be coming shortly that “will allow DoD service members or civilians to provide reports via a private and secure means.”
“A critical aspect of this is ensuring that information can be received in a way in which it will be properly handled to ensure, again, privacy, both from a statutory and regulatory standpoint, but then also to ensure that that website and the information there is secure,” Ryder said. “So this will be something that we’ll continue to keep the public updated on. AARO is focused on the facts, taking in information, reviewing the facts, and then when possible, declassifying that information making it available.”