The highly anticipated U.S. intelligence report on UFOs was released on Friday, but offered few answers to sightings of mysterious unidentified aerial phenomena.
The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence finally made public its preliminary assessment on UAPs, which revealed the U.S. government reported 144 incidents of UFOs spotted between November 2004 to March 2021. However, 143 UAPs remain unexplainable. The ODNI could only identify one UAP, which was determined to be a large, deflating balloon.
There were 18 incidents in which witnesses said they saw "unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics."
The ODNI characterized the UAP incidents into five categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall "other" bin.
"Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion," the report reads. "In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings."
"In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics," the report states. "These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."
"The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP," the report says. "The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) considered a range of information on UAP described in U.S. military and IC (Intelligence Community) reporting, but because the reporting lacked sufficient specificity, ultimately recognized that a unique, tailored reporting process was required to provide sufficient data for analysis of UAP events."
"We quite frankly have a bit of work yet to do in order to truly assess and address the threat posed by UAP," a senior U.S official said Friday. "Not all UAP are the same thing."
"This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step. The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the ranking member and former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said.
"We should approach these questions without preconceptions to encourage a thorough, systematized analysis of the potential national security and flight safety risks posed by unidentified aerial phenomena, whether they are the result of a foreign adversary, atmospheric or other aerial phenomena, space debris, or something else entirely," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said.
There is no definitive proof that the UFO sightings are aliens. Officials are concerned that the unidentified flying objects could be security threats from other countries.
"Today's rather inconclusive report only marks the beginning of efforts to understand and illuminate what is causing these risks to aviation in many areas around the country and the world," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said.
"We have no clear indications that there is any nonterrestrial explanation for them — but we will go wherever the data takes us," a senior U.S. government official said. "We do not have any data that indicates that any of these unidentified air phenomena are part of a foreign collection program nor do we have any data that is indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary."
"It is critical that the United States maintain operations security and safety at DoD ranges," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said in a memo. "To this end, it is equally critical that all U.S. military aircrews or government personnel report whenever aircraft or other devices interfere with military training. This includes the observation and reporting of UAPs."
"It's clear that we need to improve our capacity to further analyze remaining UAP observations, even as we accept that there are some limits to our capacity to characterize and understand some of the observations that we have," one official said.
Over the next three months, the Department of Defense will develop a new strategy for collecting and tracking information on UAPs.