Highly Anticipated Government Report On UFOs Very Thin On New Details

The highly anticipated report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) released Thursday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is short on new details and doesn’t raise the possibility that any of the sightings examined are otherworldly in nature. However, it does say that an uptick in reported sightings, mainly from Air Force and Navy aviators going through official channels, is the result of increased awareness of the potential threats posed by UAPs – formerly known as Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs – as well as decreased stigma against those who come forward.

That combination, according to the report, will better serve the U.S. military and intelligence community in figuring out what UAPs are, where they come from, and what kinds of national security risks they might pose. The increased UAP reports allow “more opportunities to apply rigorous analysis and resolve events,” the new 2022 report suggests.

The new report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence offers few new details. ODNI

But you won’t be able to find many answers to those questions in this 12-page report, an unclassified version of the document delivered to Congress on Wednesday that was compiled by the Pentagon’s newly formed All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) and ODNI’s National Intelligence Manager for Aviation (NIM-Aviation). “Many” of the cataloged cases, it notes, “remain unresolved” because a large number “lack enough detailed data to enable attribution of UAP with high certainty.”

There were 247 new UAP reports since the last time those figures were released, according to the ODNI document released Thursday. There are another 119 UAP reports on events that occurred before March 5, 2021, which were not included in ODNI’s previous report, released in June 2021

This report says AARO’s “initial analysis and characterization” of the 366 newly-identified reports, “informed by a multi-agency process,” showed that more than half exhibited “unremarkable characteristics.”

Of those, 26 were characterized as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or UAS-like entities; 163 were characterized as balloon or balloon-like entities; and six were attributed to “clutter,” which ODNI identifies as “birds, weather events, or airborne debris like plastic bags.”

The remaining 171 newly identified cases were what ODNI calls “uncharacterized and unattributed UAP reports.” An undisclosed number of those “appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.”

That was a point raised by AARO director Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick during a press briefing last month. He told reporters, including from The War Zone, “there are things that appear to demonstrate interesting flight dynamics that we are fully investigating and researching right now.”

By way of comparison, in its June 2021 report, ODNI said it investigated 144 cases and of those, only one could be identified – a large deflating balloon.

The report contained no details about the now combined 510 total cases being investigated. Nor do the overall numbers differ greatly from those provided in December by Kirkpatrick and Under Secretary of Defense Ronald Moultrie. But it does spell out the general concerns.

“UAP pose a safety of flight and collision hazard to air assets, potentially requiring aircraft operators to adjust flight patterns in response to their unauthorized presence in the airspace, operating outside of air traffic control standards and instruction,” the report stated. “To date, there have been no reported collisions between U.S. aircraft and UAP.”

As far as health concerns, “there have also been no encounters with UAP confirmed to contribute directly to adverse health-related effects to the observer(s).”

But, given that there may be a long lead time between an event and potential adverse reactions, “AARO will track any reported health implications related to UAP should they emerge.”

There are challenges to drawing conclusions, according to the new report.

“Multiple factors affect the observation or detection of UAP, such as weather, illumination, atmospheric effects, or the accurate interpretation of sensor data,” it states.

While ODNI and AARO “operate under the assumption that UAP reports are derived from the observer’s accurate recollection of the event and/or sensors that generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments. However, ODNI and AARO acknowledge that a select number of UAP incidents may be attributable to sensor irregularities or variances, such as operator or equipment error.”

Despite its lack of details in the report, the Pentagon underscored the importance of the research process.

“The safety of our service personnel, our bases and installations, and the protection of U.S. operations security on land, in the skies, seas, and space are paramount,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement published Thursday. “The All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) is leading DOD’s efforts, in coordination with ODNI and other government agencies, to document, analyze, and when possible resolve UAP reports using a rigorous scientific framework and a data-driven approach.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Senator Mark Warner said the report, mandated by the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, “reflects a step forward in understandings [on UAP] and addressing risks to aviators. Overall, I’m encouraged to see an increase in UAP reporting – a sign of decreased stigma among pilots who are aware of the potential risks that UAPs can pose.”

Created in July of last year, AARO was designed to oversee the government’s investigation into UAP and other unidentified objects on and under the sea, as well as objects shifting between air and sea spaces, and was launched in response to concerns over growing threats to U.S. military installations. Although efforts have been made to encourage individuals with information on UAP to come forward, the depth of information obtained by the government appears to be shallow, despite the number of reported UAP cases rising.

The War Zone has reported extensively on various UAP-related events in the past and official Pentagon documentation surrounding some of them. Perhaps most notably, this includes a series of enigmatic drone swarm events that occurred in the waters off Southern California in 2019. A Freedom of Information Act request saw a set of intriguing documents obtained via FOIA by The War Zone in June last year, which confirmed that the 2019 incident was indeed the result of mysterious drone activity. While truly unexplainable events could have occurred in some of the instances reported to AARO, there is compelling evidence that something far less remarkable, but still potentially threatening, is afoot.

While it still could be considered a step forward by those interested in these phenomena, the report released today provided very little in terms of new insights. While there had been hopes by some that a new era of openness on this long-abused topic had come, we will still have to wait and see just how forthcoming the government is willing to be regarding it.

We will update this story as more information becomes available. 

Contact the authors: oliver@thewarzone.com, howard@thewarzone.com

Howard Altman Avatar

Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard's work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.