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Navy-led task force will detect, analyze and track ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’

By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 15, 2020

The Navy will lead a new task force charged with detecting, analyzing and cataloging encounters with what used to be called UFOs that could threaten the United States, the Pentagon announced in a statement Friday.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, approved Aug. 4 by Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, was established so the Department of Defense can improve its “understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins” of mysterious flying objects, the statement said.

The Department of the Navy will head up the task force and report to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.

The announcement comes about two months after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to require the Defense Department and intelligence agencies to compile an unclassified analysis of data on “unidentified aerial phenomena” that includes several unexplained encounters recorded by Navy pilots over the years.

In April, the Pentagon declassified and released three video clips that had been unofficially circulating “to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage … was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

The To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science group, which had released one of the clips, said the unidentified aircraft “demonstrate flight characteristics of advanced technologies unlike anything we currently know, understand, or can duplicate with current technologies.”

The Pentagon, in its statement Friday, said its primary concerns are the safety of personnel and the security of its operations.

“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report,” the statement said. “This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as [unidentified aerial phenomena] when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.”

kidd.aaron@stripes.com
Twitter: @kiddaaron

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