Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force
|Predecessor||Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program|
|Type||United States governmental study|
|Purpose||Study of unidentified flying objects|
|Office of Naval Intelligence|
United States Department of Defense
The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) is a program within the United States Office of Naval Intelligence used to "standardize collection and reporting" on sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), sometimes termed UFOs. The program was detailed in a June 2020 hearing of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
In December 2017, the United States Department of Defense confirmed the existence of a defense program used to collect data on military UFO sightings, despite the disbandment of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in 2012. Like its predecessor program, the UAP Task Force is managed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in collaboration with the Office of Naval Intelligence.
After the June 2020 Senate hearing, Senator Marco Rubio requested the release of video footage of unexplained aerial vehicles collected by the United States Navy, including the Pentagon UFO videos.
On June 24, 2020, the Intelligence Committee voted to require United States Intelligence Community and the United States Department of Defense to publicly track and analyze data collected on unexplained aerial vehicles. A report from the task force will be issued to the Intelligence Committee 180 days after the passage of the intelligence authorization act.
Writing for Politico, Bryan Bender quoted Christopher Mellon, the advisor to the company To the Stars, as saying "It further legitimizes the issue", adding "That in itself is extremely important. People can talk about it without fear of embarrassment." Mellon also said "We are talking dozens of incidents in restricted military airspace over years."
In July 2020, Rubio stated that he was worried that an adversary country had achieved "some technological leap" that "allows them to conduct this sort of activity", while also saying that there might be a conventional explanation that was "boring".
On April 12, 2021, the Pentagon confirmed the authenticity of pictures and videos gathered by the Task Force, purportedly showing "pyramid shaped objects" hovering above USS Russell in 2019, off the coast of California, with spokeswoman Susan Gough saying "I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel. The UAPTF has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations." Science writer Mick West demonstrated that the pyramids were most likely an airplane, Jupiter, and stars, distorted because of the lens was out of focus.
The following month, Gough further confirmed a second video had been recorded by Navy personnel and is under review by the Task Force. The video, recorded on July 15, 2019, in the combat information center of USS Omaha, purportedly shows a spherical object flying over the ocean as seen through an infrared (IR) camera at night, moving across the screen before stopping and easing down into the water.
On June 25, 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report on UAPs, commonly known as the Pentagon UFO Report. The report found that the UAPTF was unable to identify 143 objects spotted between 2004 and 2021. The report said that 18 of these featured unusual movement patterns or flight characteristics, and that more analysis was needed to determine if those sightings represented breakthrough technology. The report said that some of these steps are resource-intensive and would require additional investment. The report did not link the sightings to extraterrestrial life, with officials saying "We have no clear indications that there is any nonterrestrial explanation for them — but we will go wherever the data takes us".
The program was officially approved on August 4, 2020, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, and announced on August 14, 2020. "The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security." On June 25, 2021, the preliminary assessment was delivered.
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- "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. June 25, 2021. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
- Merchant, Nomaan (June 25, 2021). "No ET, no answers: Intel report is inconclusive about UFOs". apnews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
- Kube, Courtney; Edelman, Adam (June 25, 2021). "UFO report: Government can't explain 143 of 144 mysterious flying objects, blames limited data". NBC News.
- "Establishment of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force". U.S. Department of Defense. August 14, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
- "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" - Unclassified intelligence assessment by DoD on the progress of the UAPTF