Washington —The Defense Department announced Thursday that its office tasked with overseeing efforts to address unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs, launched a new website to provide the public with declassified information about the mysterious objects.
The site aims to serve as a “one-stop shop” for publicly available information related to the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, known as AARO, and UAPs, the formal government name for the seemingly inexplicable objects previously known as UFOs, Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said at a news briefing.
Ryder said the website will provide information including photos and videos on resolved UAP cases as they’re declassified and allowed for public consumption. The site will also be updated in the future to allow service members, federal employees or contractors “with direct knowledge” of government programs or activities related to UAP to submit reports for review by the AARO, according to the Pentagon.
“The department is committed to transparency with the American people on AARO’s work on UAPs,” Ryder said.
The website currently includes a message from Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the AARO, as well as brief descriptions of the office’s mission and vision. Several videos listed feature unresolved military encounters with UAP. The site also highlights a report on UAP reporting trends, including the objects’ “typically-reported” characteristics, altitudes and hotspots.
The information posted to the site is what has been declassified “to date,” Ryder said.
UAPs are considered objects detected in the air, sea and space that can’t be identified. As of the end of August 2022, there have been more than 500 UAP sightings over the last 17 years, according to a January report from the intelligence community. Many of the object sightings were reported by U.S. Navy and Air Force aviators and operators.
Kirkpatrick told a NASA study group in May that the office “has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology, or objects that defy the known laws of physics.”
The AARO was established through the annual defense policy bill approved by Congress in 2021 and is considered the leading federal agency for UAP efforts. This year, lawmakers from both parties are seeking to use the defense legislation, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, as the vehicle for making the federal government release more information about the objects.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, introduced an amendment to the Senate’s version of the defense bill that would mandate the National Archives and Records Administration to create the “UAP Records Collection,” which would house information from federal agencies related to the issue. Records in the collection would have the “presumption of immediate disclosure,” which means a review board must provide reasoning for the documents to remain classified.
Interest from Congress in UAPs has grown in recent years, but it reached a flashpoint in July when the House Oversight Committee held a hearing featuring testimony from a former military intelligence officer and two former fighter pilots, who had first-hand experience with the mysterious objects.
In the wake of the hearing, a bipartisan group of House members called on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to form a select committee tasked with investigating the federal response to UAPs.