WASHINGTON -- In the Pentagon's first update since the establishment of its office to investigate unidentified flying objects, officials offered few answers but said there was nothing to suggest an otherworldly explanation for the hundreds of reports they had received.
"We have not seen anything that would lead us ... to believe that any of the objects we have seen are of alien origin, if you will," said Ronald Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security.
Established in July, the office -- officially known as the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office -- has received "several hundreds" of reports of unidentified objects to examine, including some that go back years, said Sean Kirkpatrick, the director of the effort. Those cases are on top of the initial 144 examined in the June 2021 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Neither official would say how many of the cases had been analyzed and resolved. But Moultrie, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon Friday, said many of these cases would not be considered dangerous and may end up being "things like balloons and things like UAVs that are operated for purposes other than surveillance or intelligence collection."
Still, when asked if any of the reports were indicative of something that may pose a threat to national security, to a military facility or to US personnel, Kirkpatrick answered, "Yes."
"In the absence of being able to resolve what something is, we assume that it may be hostile, so, we have to take that seriously," said Moultrie, expanding on the considerations.
Officially, the reports being investigated are of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs), as opposed to the earlier iteration of unidentified aerial phenomena, which only focused on objects are observations in the air. Now the effort is looking at reports from air, ground, sea or space, though Kirkpatrick said most of the cases are still aerial in nature.
One of the big issues the Pentagon faced as it began to look more seriously at the issues of UAPs was the stigma around reporting. Kirkpatrick said the stigma associated with reporting sightings has been significantly reduced.
In May, Deputy Director of Navy Intelligence Scott Bray told members of the House Intelligence Committee that their database had grown to 400 reports since the release of the June 2021 report. The reports have kept coming in.
"There's not a single answer for all of this, right?" Kirkpatrick asked rhetorically Friday. "There's going to be lots of different answers and part of my job is to sort out all of those hundreds of cases on which ones go to which things."
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