The US. Department of Defense is launching an investigation into unidentified sightings observed by U.S. military aircraft.
Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) on Aug. 4, DOD announced today.
The task force was created four months after the Pentagon officially released and verified the authenticity of three videos of separate encounters between Navy pilots and unidentified flying objects.
According to a press release from DOD, the new task force will be under the Department of the Navy's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.
DOD said it has established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.
"As DOD has stated previously, the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern," the statement said. "The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing."
Sen. Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, earlier CBS affiliate in Miami hat he was primarily concerned about reports of unidentified aircraft over American military bases. It was in the government’s interest to look into this mysterious presence, he said.
On May 2, DOD officially released what it described as "historical" Navy videos of still unexplained aerial phenomena, which have been the subject of speculations among "UFO" and "alien" enthusiasts.
Responding to a FOIA request, DOD authorized the release of three unclassified Navy videos on April 27. One of the videos was taken in November 2004 and the other two in January 2015. They have been circulating in the public domain after they were leaked in 2007 and 2017.
"The U.S. Navy previously acknowledged that these videos circulating in the public domain were indeed Navy videos. After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems, and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena," DOD said in a May 2 statement.
One of the video clips shows oblong-shaped objects moving through the sky in an erratic pattern. The pilots can be heard on the videos annotating the speed of the moving objects' that are shaped like space ships. "They are moving against the wind. The wind is 120 knots to the west," one of the pilots says.
DOD said it has declassified the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos. "The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as 'unidentified," DOD said.