Pentagon Report: Some UFO Sightings Can't Be Explained With Current Science

Military officials say they have no real idea what’s going on, and need lots of money to find out.
Image: U.S. Navy Photo
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The Pentagon's long-awaited report on UFOs details 143 sightings of aerial objects that cannot be explained. Titled "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena," the report is a product of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). It’s nine pages long and while its findings are “largely inconclusive,” the report states that a small number of cases where UFOs "appeared to display unusual flight characteristics or signature management" can't be explained without "scientific advances that allowed us to better understand them."


To study the phenomenon, the Pentagon formed the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) which studied reported sightings between the years of 2004 and 2021.

The UAPTF examined 144 sightings that occurred in that time frame. Eighteen of the incidents described in 21 separate reports detailed objects with strange and currently unexplainable movement patterns. “Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion,” the report said. “In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings.” The report said that one single sighting could be explained with "high confidence." It was a large, deflating balloon, the report says.

The report states that no UFO sightings included in the report were related to classified U.S. technology (there is a segment of people interested in UFOs who believe that all sightings are associated with secret government tech). "Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however, that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected," the report said.

According to the report, many but not all of the reported sightings could likely be written off as equipment malfunctions. “Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects given that a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation,” the report said. “Various forms of sensors that register UAP generally operate correctly and capture enough real data to allow initial assessments, but some UAP may be attributable to sensor anomalies.”


Part of the problem is that many of the sightings aren’t properly recorded. “The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP,” the report said. 

Basically, the Pentagon needs more information to tell what is actually going on. It’s also possible that people are observing multiple different kinds of phenomenon and lumping them all together as UFOs. “Although there was wide variability in the reports and the dataset is currently too limited to allow for detailed trend or pattern analysis, there was some clustering of UAP observations regarding shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion,” the report said. “UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds, but we assess that this may result from a collection bias as a result of focused attention, greater numbers of latest-generation sensors operating in those areas, unit expectations, and guidance to report anomalies.”

There’s also the possibility that what people are seeing in the skies are the results of foreign technological breakthroughs. It’s possible that Russia or China have advanced drone tech that the U.S. doesn’t know about, though scientists are highly skeptical of this. On this point too, the report would only say it's investigating the issue. “We are conducting further analysis to determine if breakthrough technologies were demonstrated,” it said.

This report represents the first officially acknowledged investigation into UFOs by the U.S. Government since the Air Force conducted Project Blue Book. The recent interest in UFOs has been spurred on by several high profile sightings backed up with declassified footage from the Pentagon and eye-witness testimony from U.S. Navy pilots.

This report didn’t come to many conclusions, but it did pose a few possible ideas. “UAP probably lacks a single explanation,” the report said. “Our analysis of the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved they will fall into one of five potential explanatory categories:  airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall ‘other’ bin.”

The report is also clearly angling for additional funding. It states that "explaining UAP will require analytic, collection, and resource investment."

There was no word on whether the “other” bin involved aliens, extradimensional travelers, or time traveling Terrans. We’ll just have to keep watching the skies to find out.