(The Hill) — The number of reported UFO incidents has sharply increased as more than 360 incidents have been reported or discovered in the past two years, according to a new intelligence report.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its annual report on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) on Thursday as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022. The act requires ODNI to work with the secretary of defense to submit an annual report to Congress on UAP.
The report states that the Defense Department’s (DoD) All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), which was established in July last year to coordinate UAP tracking and analysis efforts beyond DoD, received 247 UAP reports since the cut-off date of ODNI’s preliminary report on March 5, 2021.
The preliminary report, which tracked the number of UAP incidents from 2004 to 2021 and was released in June 2021, found 144 reports of UAP had been made.
In addition to the 247 reports made since the cut-off date, 119 reports were issued on events that happened before March 5, 2021 but were not reported or discovered until after that date. This sets the total number of additional reported UAP incidents beyond those from the preliminary report at 366.
AARO conducted an initial analysis of the 366 newly reported incidents and found that more than half of them had “unremarkable characteristics.” The office characterized 163 reports as balloons or balloon-like entities, 26 reports as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or UAS-like entities and six as attributed to clutter.
The initial characterization does not necessarily mean a report is positively resolved or unidentified. It only allows AARO and ODNI to more effectively use its resources to characterize the remaining 171 incidents, the report states.
Most of the new UAP reporting came from Navy and Air Force aviators and operators who observed UAP while performing their job and reported them through official channels. Many of the reports do not have enough detailed data to explain what they were.
The report concluded that reporting has increased in part because of an effort to destigmatize the topic and recognize that UAP pose a potential risk to flight safety and could signal activity from adversaries of the United States.
It also states that coordinated efforts between the DoD and other government agencies have allowed officials to have access to increased data sets.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the report is a “significant step forward” in understanding the risks that aviators face, and he feels encouraged that he has seen an increase in UAP reporting.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the committee worked to destigmatize reporting and promote an “all-of-government” response to the reports.
“Unidentified aerial phenomena remain a national security matter, and I will continue to support thorough investigations of all UAP reports and oversight by the Congress,” he said.