The Pentagon announced its plans to launch a new office aimed to track and assess unidentified flying objects spotted in military training airspace last week.
The Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG) will be part of the office of the defense undersecretary for intelligence and security and focus on working alongside other federal agencies to “detect, identify and attribute” UFOs and assess, and as appropriate, mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks confirmed in a memo obtained by DefenseOne.com.
In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a preliminary assessment on unidentified aerial phenomena.
In the report, the UAP Task Force admitted to receiving reports of 144 unexplained encounters between the U.S. military and UFOs and didn't rule out the possibility of alien connections, though still not explicitly selling the theory either.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan amendment was introduced in Congress by New York senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, which aimed to create a more expansive military and intelligence program to study numerous reported UFO sightings of unidentified flying objects by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act establishing an "Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office" with the approval to pursue "any resource, capability, asset, or process of the Department and the intelligence community" to investigate sightings of UFOs or UAPs within the U.S. Department of Defense was being discussed in Congress, Politico reported.
“We’ve not had oversight into this area for a very long time,” Gillibrand said via Politico. “I can count on one hand the number of hearings I had in 10 years on this topic. That's fairly concerning given the experience our service members have had over the last decade.”
The amendment expands beyond a previous change made to the House version of the bill, as well as other previous public efforts to study UAPs and UFOs.
Gillibrand, who serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said she was urged to introduce the amendment due to “repeated reports over the last two or three years of these increased sightings by Navy pilots and Air Force pilots" and believes possible explanations on the sightings are so varied, which calls for a dedicated effort.
“You have a million questions that must be answered for a million reasons,” she said, citing “the entire spectrum of unidentified aerial phenomena.”
“You're talking about drone technology, you're talking about balloon technology, you're talking about other aerial phenomena, and then you're talking about the unknown,” she said. “Regardless of where you fall on the question of the unknown, you have to answer the rest of the questions. That’s why this is urgent. That’s why having no oversight or accountability up until now to me is unacceptable.”
The amendment would create a separate “aerial and transmedium advisory committee” composed of experts from several top agencies including NASA, the FAA, the National Academies of Sciences, the head of the Galileo Project at Harvard University, the director of the Optical Technology Center at Montana State University, the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, and the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics.
Earlier this month, a top U.S. spy chief said pilots nationwide are reporting numerous UFO sightings that could be of alien origin.
Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) overseeing all 16 of the nation's spy agencies, spoke publicly at the Our Future in Space event at the Washington National Cathedral on November 10 and fielded questions about UFOs, amid the growing national security debate following years of related conspiracy theories.
Haines admitted that strange encounters with unidentified flying objects needs to be highlighted for more investigation to gain a better understanding.
"The main issues that Congress and others have been concerned about is safety of flight concerns and counterintelligence issues," Haines said at the Our Future in Space event via the Sun. "Always there’s also the question of 'is there something else that we simply do not understand, which might come extraterrestrially?"
The Sun pointed out that Haines hesitated when she said "extraterrestrially," but is now the highest-ranking intelligence official to acknowledge the possibility of alien existence.