Military database of UFO encounters more than doubled in past year, officials tell Congress

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This image of a triangular UFO as seen from a US naval ship was presented to lawmakers by intelligence officials on 17 May (Us Department of Defense)
This image of a triangular UFO as seen from a US naval ship was presented to lawmakers by intelligence officials on 17 May (Us Department of Defense)

UFO sightings are so common around US military facilities that a database of encounters has grown to about 400 incidents, up from 143 announced almost a year ago.

That’s what US military intelligence officials told lawmakers Tuesday morning at the first Congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years.

“Since the early 2000s, we have seen an increasing number of unauthorized and or unidentified aircraft or objects in military control training areas,” US Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray told members of the US House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Tuesday. “Reports of sightings are frequent and continuing.”

In June 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report on UFOs — or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAPs, in the new Pentagon approved nomenclature — noting that 143 sightings since 2004 remained unexplained.

On Tuesday, Mr Bray attributed the rapid increase in the number of cases in part to better military sensors, but also to the reduction in stigma around reporting UFO/UAP sightings.

Following the 2021 report, Congress authorized funds for the creation of the new Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG) at the Pentagon, which is tasked with investigating UFOs/UAPs. US Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie, who leads the group, told lawmakers the program aims to take UFO/UAP sightings as serious issues of national security and to convince military personnel to see them that way as well.

“Our goal is to eliminate the stigma by fully incorporating our operators and mission personnel into a standardized data gathering process,” Mr Moultrie said. “We believe that making UAP reporting a mission imperative will be instrumental to the effort’s success.”

Both intelligence officials confirmed other conclusions of the 2021 report, namely that there was insufficient evidence to say the UFOs/UAPs represent foreign or extraterrestrial technology, but that they did believe they were physical objects rather than tricks of perception. As such, they should be taken seriously as potential hazards.

“As UAPs posed potential flight safety and general security risks, we are committed to a focus effort to determine their origins,” Mr Moultrie said.