More than 650 unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) sightings have been documented by the Pentagon’s research office, including over 140 new cases since January.
Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Defense Department’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) shared the details last week in a congressional hearing.
“AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology or objects that defy the known laws of physics,” Kirkpatrick told the lawmakers, downplaying accusations of “extraterrestrial” activity.
“In the event sufficient scientific data [emerges] that a UAP encountered can only be explained by extraterrestrial origin, we are committed to working with our interagency partners at NASA to appropriately inform [the] government’s leadership of its findings,” he added.
The testimony followed a 2022 Annual Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena released in January from the Office of National Intelligence. As of August 30, 2022, 510 UAP sightings had been documented.
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Of the sightings examined in the report, more than half were investigated and dismissed as “unremarkable.” They included 26 cases of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), 163 balloon or balloon-like objects and six cited as “clutter,” such as birds or debris.
However, many of the remaining objects pose unanswered questions for investigators. The majority of the objects have been reported by U.S. Navy and Air Force operators, though details are often lacking to provide sufficient evidence for a fuller investigation, according to the report.
Kirkpatrick’s congressional testimony noted that UAP reports were more concentrated along the nation’s eastern and western coast in the U.S. Internationally, most sightings were reported in the Middle East or the Pacific Ocean near China.
The majority of UAPs are reported as orbs, either flat and round or sphere-like objects. Kirkpatrick explained that the AARO is developing a new website to better document public encounters of UAPs with the goal of better sharing of information between the public, the Pentagon and the Office of National Intelligence.
“Congress established this office in law to get to the bottom of the very serious problem of unidentified anomalous phenomenon or UAP,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “While we have made progress, there remains a stigma attached to these phenomenon. There is a vast and complex citizen engagement, and there’s also very challenging scientific and technical hurdles.”
The congresswoman also made reference to the recent Chinese spy balloon that passed over the U.S. to stress the importance of the issue.
“We can look at the recent incursion of the unidentified PRC high-altitude balloon as an example and because of the UFO stigma the response has been irresponsibly anemic and slow,” Gillibrand added.