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(Stars and Stripes)

UFOs have been an intriguing mystery for Americans for decades.

The subject, however, recently rocketed out of the realm of strictly science fiction when several declassified Defense Department videos were released, showing Navy pilots encountering oval objects that moved at great speed. In one video, an F-18 fighter jet pilot flying along the East Coast of the United States gasps, “Wow! What is that, man? Look at that flying!”

And for the military, it isn't science fiction at all; in many ways it's about national security.

To try to understand what the Pentagon calls UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena, Military Matters host Rod Rodriguez talks with Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations; and James Fox, director of the documentary film "The Phenomenon."

For Mellon and Fox, it's a failure across the board if we don't study these phenomena "to provide strategic warning of potential breakthroughs, major breakthroughs by a potential adversary and technology," Mellon said.

"It's unacceptable that you have objects of unknown origin, whizzing around with impunity in super sensitive airspace," Fox said. "That's unacceptable. We should know what's going on."

What are these phenomena, and what are we going to do about them?

Whatever truth is out there, the Military Matters podcast is working to find it out for you.

Thanks for listening to Military Matters. Subscribe today!

The full transcript of the podcast can be found here.

podcast@stripes.com

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