On January 12, 2023, the US Director of National Intelligence released a new report on UAPs in 2022, an action now required by US law. According to the report, the Pentagon’s new UAP sighting agency processed 247 fresh UAP sightings last year.
After a surge of public interest in unidentified atmospheric phenomena and a wave of high-profile witness reports from reliable sources such as Navy fighter pilots, the Pentagon created the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). AARO’s purpose is to investigate the phenomenon of UAPs or unidentified aerial phenomena. UAPs, as they are now commonly called in light of the fact that the word UFO has taken on a meaning that associates unexplained atmospheric phenomena with extraterrestrials through constant references in pop culture.
The new report is a high-level summary of the U.S. military’s UAP investigation since their first report on the matter in 2021.
“In addition to the 144 UAP reports covered during the 17 years of UAP reporting included in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) preliminary assessment, there have been 247 new reports and another 119 that were either since discovered or reported after the preliminary assessment’s time period,” the report says. “This totals 510 UAP reports as of 30 August 2022. Additional information is provided in the classified version of this report.”
According to the report, the Pentagon has received more reports of UAPs in the past year, with most of them coming from U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots.
“The observed increase in the UAP reporting rate is partially due to a better understanding of the possible threats that UAP may represent, either as safety of flight hazards or as potential adversary collection platforms, and partially due to reduced stigma surrounding UAP reporting,” says the report. “This increased reporting allows more opportunities to apply rigorous analysis and resolve events.”
The report also notes that some of these 247 observations had reasonable explanations.
“Multiple factors affect the observation or detection of UAP, such as weather, illumination, atmospheric effects, or the accurate interpretation of sensor data,” the report says. “Regarding review or analysis of UAP events, 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.”
In addition to the 247 new reports, AARO also investigated another 144 reports of sightings that occurred before the Pentagon became interested in the subject. When they began to track these events, most of them turned out to be balloons or “ball-shaped objects”.
Of the 366 new reports, 26 looked like drones, 163 looked like balloons, and 6 looked like clutter, which the report defined as “birds, weather or airborne debris like plastic bags.”
The remaining 171 messages – “uncharacterized and unattributed messages about UAPs” do not lend themselves to a simple explanation, the report says:
“Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.”