The past twelve months have brought with them a chaotic array of unprecedented happenings. From COVID-19 and murderous bees to insurrection on the US Capitol and the sudden appearance and disappearance of mysterious monoliths, it only stands to reason that now would be the appropriate time for the Pentagon to publicly verify the existence of UAPs, or as many people know them, UFOs. The terms UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) and UFO (unidentified flying object) refer to any airship, or flying object that originates from unknown origins.
On the heels of the 2020 revelations, the public now anxiously awaits the first report of the UAP Task Force expected this June commissioned by the Intelligence Authorization Act passed in December 2020. While the contents of the report remain unknown, the report will provide the first detailed account across agencies of UAP activity and analysis.
In April of 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, the Pentagon released and declassified three videos taken by US Navy pilots. The videos taken in 2005, 2015 and 2019 contain footage of mysterious objects racing through the air, maneuvering in very peculiar ways. John Radcliffe, former director of National Intelligence says: “We are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for or are traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”
After the declassification of these UAPs, the Pentagon offered no comment or explanation on the footage to avoid sharing details that might be useful to adversaries. In August of 2020, after the release of these videos and growth in public interest and concern, then Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist established the UAP Task Force with the objective of detecting, analyzing and cataloging UAPs to determine whether or not they pose a threat to national security. Sanctioning and assembling the task force was an important step in both legitimizing and bringing resources and UAP information together in a way for government officials to efficiently make sense of the data and assess threats.
In December 2020, the Senate took things a step further by way of the 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act. Nested in the 2.3 Trillion Stimulus Bill, the Intelligence Authorization Act called for the release of a cross-agency report providing a thorough organized analysis of all data across all agencies on UAPs to provide a more complete picture of possible risk to national security. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a major proponent of the measure, cited the need for more cross-agency collaboration, saying, “the Committee remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the Federal Government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on unidentified aerial phenomena, despite the potential threat.”
With June around the corner, interest in the contents of the report continues to grow, with many unsure of quite what to expect. Hingham High School junior Jonathan Rayburn states, “I really don’t know what to think about all of this! It’s both surreal and exciting. I’ll definitely want to read the report before jumping to any conclusions.” It is important to note that UAPs or UFOs, while often associated with extraterrestrial life in popular media, do not necessarily have other-worldly origins.
With the UAP report deadline weeks away, speculation will soon turn to some level of truth. For those who want to believe, perhaps the centuries of speculation will be over. Only time (and data) will tell.