The U.S. Navy is coming up with new guidelines that will make it easier for pilots and Navy personnel to report sightings of unidentified flying objects.
It's not really about aliens
While these new guidelines that encourage reporting of unidentified objects may excite believers in extraterrestrials, they have nothing to do with alien spacecraft sightings. Rather, the Navy is concerned about aircraft it doesn't know about entering U.S. military airspace.
In a statement to Politico, a spokesperson for the Navy explained, "There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years."
This is especially problematic now that drones have become popular. In December, a drone entered the airspace of London's Gatwick airport, causing panic and delays.
Being able to analyze these sightings could help to better detect the presence of hostile aircraft and other "hazards to aviation safety." These UFO sightings happen often enough, Politico reported, that Navy leadership believes they can no longer be ignored. The Navy told Politico in a statement that it "takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report."
The U.S. Air Force, the statement said, treats these reports similarly.
The Navy also said that "[f]or safety and security concerns," it was "updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft."
An unnamed senior military official told CNN that some recent UFO sightings are actually classified military tests. This has been a common explanation for UFO sightings in the past, including the infamous 1947 crash at Roswell, New Mexico, which the U.S. government later confirmed was a high-altitude balloon.