Pentagon Response To UFOs Has Major Deficiencies, Watchdog Finds

DC, UNITED STATES 04.19.2023 Courtesy Video /

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Pentagon’s response to UFOs is uncoordinated and excludes major Department of Defense (DOD) commands, according to an unclassified summary of an Inspector General report released Thursday.

Roughly a year after Congress tasked the Pentagon with developing a comprehensive plan across its vast breadth of components for documenting and seeking to understand Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) — the government’s technical term for UFOs — major DOD elements still don’t have guidance, the DOD IG report found. Gaps in collection and analysis could leave threats to flight safety unaddressed.

“The DOD 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 report found.

“The DoD may not have developed a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for understanding, identifying, and protecting against unidentified phenomena that may present a safety threat to military personnel and territory,” it said.

The full, classified report was delivered in August, but the IG opted to publish an unclassified summary in the interest of being transparent with the U.S. public, IG head Robert Storch said in a statement released on January 25.

DOD has for decades struggled to understand UAPs due to competing priorities even though military pilots continued to report sightings of strange objects. Congress’ defense policy bill for 2022 ordered the Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office to synchronize UAP collection, analysis and reporting incidents throughout the DOD.

However, geographic combatant commanders, who oversee all forces from the disparate services within a particular region of the world, were left out of the guidance chain, the report found. Combatant commands are responsible for dealing with threats within their regions.

Officials said that they had waited on the Pentagon to hand down guidance for collecting, identifying and analyzing apparent UAP encounters, according to the report. Instead, the combatant commands improvised on existing procedures for addressing UAP incidents.

The IG recommended that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff give formal guidance to combatant commanders, including at a minimum “tools to help commands determine the threats posed by unidentified anomalous phenomena.”

The Joint Staff agreed, although the chairman himself did not directly respond to the IG’s request. They since have developed procedures for UAP detection, reporting, collection, analysis and identification within their geographic areas of responsibility, a move that could potentially mediate one of the IG’s major initial concerns.

“In the absence of DOD-level guidance, the DOD Components have developed varying informal processes to detect and report UAP incidents,” according to the report.

For example, an Air Force surveillance drone operator said the service had designated strange airborne objects as a “special interest item,” requiring reporting within 24 hours. Simultaneously, the Army said it had adapted the Air Force’s Marauder system for the same purpose because it had not developed its own processes.

Military services and combatant commands have submitted some reports to the AARO, but they are not required to do so.

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