Pentagon’s UFO Disclosure Site To Go Live After Congress Ripped Officials Over Delay

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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A public disclosure website for the Pentagon’s UFO investigations will go live Thursday after long delays and criticism from Congress and advocates that the office in charge was falling short of transparency expectations, DefenseScoop reported.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks recently staged an intervention of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), moving the investigation team’s head to report directly to her and accelerate development and launch of a congressionally-mandated website for public disclosure of its findings, according to DefenseScoop. The website will allow Americans to view unclassified portions of AARO’s work in identifying UFOs, now referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), and eventually access a confidential portal to submit information of their own UAP sightings.

“I believe that transparency is a critical component of AARO’s work, and I am committed to sharing AARO’s discoveries with Congress and the public, consistent with our responsibility to protect critical national defense and intelligence capabilities,” Hicks told DefenseScoop. (RELATED: UFO Sightings Have Skyrocketed Since March 2021, Report Finds)

The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) set a June deadline for AARO to set up a public reporting mechanism and disclosure website and required the office to regularly brief Congress on its backward-looking catalog of all UAP incidents as well as research and ongoing investigations.

At another hearing on July 26 focused on the federal government’s UAP transparency, three former defense officials said UAPs pose “an existential threat to national security” and accused AARO of delinquency.

AARO Director Sean Kirkpatrick told Congress in April he “submitted the first version of [the website] before Christmas” but was still waiting for approval from his various superiors. At the time, AARO was investigating 650 reported incidents.

Between November 2022 and April 2023, plans for the website bounced back and forth between the under secretary for defense for intelligence and security (I&S), Ronald Moultrie, and AARO and underwent a raft of revisions, according to a timeline viewed by DefenseScoop.

Moultrie approved part of the package, an email address used for contacting AARO with UAP reports, in May but postponed deciding on the website, according to DefenseScoop. The public reporting mechanism, phase three in the plan, has not yet been approved.

The NDAA required the Pentagon to stand up AARO and have the director report both to the deputy defense secretary and the principal deputy director of intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the under secretary of defense for Intelligence and Security on administrative matters.

AARO delivered a prototype of the website for review by I&S personnel on June 27, but intelligence lawyers raised a host of privacy and security concerns that developers are still working to resolve, according to DefenseScoop.

On July 31, Hicks called a powwow with stakeholders to flesh out the website and ordered the Department of Defense to provide AARO with all resources necessary to expedite the launch.

“The department takes UAP seriously because UAP are a potential national security threat. They also pose safety risks, and potentially endanger our personnel, our equipment and bases, and the security of our operations,” Hicks told DefenseScoop, explaining why she prioritized the office among her many responsibilities.

The secure reporting portal will likely be added to the website in October, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told the outlet.

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