WASHINGTON — The government does not yet have an explanation for all of the dozens of unknown weather phenomena reported over the course of nearly two decades that a Pentagon task force has investigated, according to Friday’s report, an outcome likely to fuel theories of worldly visits.
The document, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said a total of 143 reports collected since 2004 remain unexplained. Among these are 21 reports of unknown phenomena, comprising 18 episodes, that may show unknown technological capabilities of the United States: objects moving without noticeable thrust or with rapid acceleration believed to exceed the capabilities of Russia, China, or other terrestrial nations. But the report said more careful analysis of those events was needed.
There is no evidence that any of these events involved secret US weapons programs, unknown technology from Russia or China, or extraterrestrial visits. But the government’s report did not rule out those interpretations.
The nine-page document essentially refuses to draw conclusions, declaring that the available reports are “largely inconclusive,” noting that the limited and inconsistent data created a challenge in assessing the phenomena.
The report said the number of views was too limited to analyze a detailed pattern. As they congregate around military training or testing venues, the report found that this could have been the result of group bias or the presence of sophisticated sensors in those areas.
Government officials have outlined a plan to develop, if additional funding becomes available, a better program to monitor and collect data on unexplained phenomena in the future.
The failure to reach a conclusion about the unexplained episodes has raised questions about how seriously the government has taken them so far and whether it has gathered enough scientific expertise to examine them.
Officials said there is too little data to draw a conclusion about many of the episodes. But both scientific experts and enthusiastic amateurs have advanced explanations that range from the mundane to the otherworldly, and the report does little to prove or reject their theories.
Government officials were reluctant Friday to acknowledge the possibility that the phenomenon was an extraterrestrial complex, a sign of how likely they are to consider that explanation.
there was There is no certain evidence that unexplained phenomena are strange The spacecraft in the report. But since the government has offered no explanation for many of the events, the new report is sure to fuel the enthusiasm of those who think they could be.
Among the unexplained incidents were three notable videos of weather phenomena captured by the US Navy and Witnessed by the pilots In the last years.
The report released Friday is an interim one, and it’s how former officials involved in inspecting the Pentagon expected the government to initially deal with Congress’ demand for a non-confidential report on what it knows about flying objects.
The government intends to brief Congress within 90 days of efforts to develop an improved collection strategy and what officials call a technical roadmap for developing technology to better monitor phenomena, senior government officials told reporters Friday. Officials said they will provide lawmakers with periodic updates after that.
The Pentagon and intelligence agencies have eschewed the term UFO and referred instead to UAP, or Unspecified Weather Phenomena. It was a kind of renaming, to reduce public enthusiasm and remove the stigma that a UFO could carry, in order to encourage pilots to report their observations and scientists to study them.
The new report laid out five categories of possible explanation for the phenomenon: covert technology developed by a hostile power like Russia and China, the latest classified US technology, a naturally occurring phenomenon, and airborne chaos like errant weather balloons and cabin “another class.” That final group could include extraterrestrial technology.
But among the episodes the staff examined, only one could be identified and categorized: a “large deflated balloon” that was classified as airborne chaos.
A senior government official said officials had no indication that the unexplained incidents showed things that were part of a foreign intelligence-gathering program or significant technical advances by a potential adversary. A senior official said they were unable to confirm that any of these incidents were part of a US government program or the defense industry.
However, the report does not completely rule out the presence of a Russian or Chinese aircraft or a secret US program.
The report was made public because of a provision that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced into the massive spending bill passed by Congress.
“The Department of Defense and the intelligence community have a lot of work to do before we can understand whether these aerial threats are a serious national security concern,” said Mr. Rubio.
Among the incidents examined by the task force, a senior official said, “there are no clear indications of any non-ground explanation” for them, adding that the government will “go where the data takes us” as the investigation continues.
The report avoids any real discussion of the possibility that unexplained phenomena are extraterrestrial in nature. A senior government official said it was not the purpose of the government task force to search for extraterrestrial life, a responsibility that rests with NASA.
Perhaps as a result, government officials have said that in the future they will focus only on taking notes of the phenomenon and have no plans to try to communicate things.
The Navy reported most of the events the government investigated. While the Air Force has tried in recent decades to distance itself from the body of UFO reports, unhappy with her own history, I started a new data collection program in 2020.
Government officials said that upon further examination, the 21 reports showing unusual acceleration or movement may prove to have normal explanations. A senior government official said government analysts checked cameras and sensors that recorded the phenomena for possible defects.
The report stated that the sensors of the cameras that recorded some of the episodes were not “generally suitable for identifying” unknown phenomena.
Mick West, a science writer focused on debunking conspiracy theories, said there are plausible, but dry, explanations for each of the Navy’s recordings that are likely more than some kind of unusual technology.
In one of the videos, the sharp movement of the object can be attributed to a shift in the movement of the camera. In another case, an object that appears to be moving quickly appears to be in fact moving more slowly when the relevant trigonometric arithmetic is applied. West said the image of a rapidly spinning object flowing over clouds was caused by infrared glare.
The report appears to give West’s explanations at least a partial vote of confidence by noting that the vantage point for sensors capturing images or other data is important in determining whether an object “demonstrates space-superior capabilities”.
“They don’t make any big claims; they say some of the things they see appear to be showing unusual behavior and more study is needed.” Clearly they’re not saying they are extraterrestrials – they’re not going anywhere near that.”
Later on Friday, the Pentagon announced that it would develop procedures to collect data and analyze reports of unidentified phenomena, and add staff and other resources to examine events.
This effort may require some outside expertise, but scientists, who have long avoided studying UFOs, will likely need to cajole.
“No one wants to risk being attacked by true believers or ostracized by their peers,” said Chris Impey, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona. “If the Pentagon or the government asks for scientific input and gives them some data and a few resources, people will get involved.”