The Office of the United States Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released its long-awaited report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) detailing the government’s official stance on mysterious flying objects.
The nine-page report from ODNI analyzed 144 reports of UAP between the years 2004 and 2021, but anyone hoping to see the government confirm extraterrestrial threats will be disappointed as ODNI has deemed any explanation for mysterious aircraft as “largely inconclusive.”
However, the report does say that “a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics,” though whether this is a result of human or systems error, spoofing, or other explanations requires further analysis.
Nothing to See Here
“Limited data and inconsistency in reporting are key challenges to evaluating UAP,” the report says. “No standardized reporting mechanism existed until the Navy established one in March 2019. The Air Force subsequently adopted that mechanism in November 2020, but it remained limited to USG reporting.”
The analysis largely narrowed in on UAP incidents that were witnessed firsthand by military aviators and from systems, the analysts deemed “reliable.” Despite the 2004-2021 research window, most of the reports come from the last two years “as the new reporting mechanism became better known to the military aviation community.”
There’s No One Answer for UAP
According to the report, there are multiple types of UAP observed over the years and the government has created five categories to describe them. They are airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or U.S, industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a “catchall ‘other’ bin.’
Of the 144 reports from United States Government sources, analysts couldn’t come away with easy conclusions. Though an example of just how broad the UAP category is, the report states that one reported UAP the government identified ended up being nothing more than a large balloon.
“We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon.”
Gorgeous Photos of Earth from Space
There Is Evidence of Advanced Technology at Work
According to the report 18 incidents in 21 reports were observed to have unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics.
“Some UAP appeared to remains stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion.” In a small number of incidents, some systems processed radio-frequency energy with these UAP sightings.
Aliens? Still Inconclusive
ODNI says additional resources are required to dive deeper into the UAP phenomena. At the very least UAP are a clear flight safety issue and in some cases “pose a challenge to U.S. national security.
However, explaining UAP will require deeper analysis, data collection, and resource investment. The long-term goal for the UAP Task Force (UAPTF) is to widen the scope of its research and broaden its dataset to hopefully draw more concrete conclusions. The UAPTF has requested additional funding for research and development to help expand its data collection both past and present.
The UAP Hunt Continues
In recent years the U.S. government has been more forthcoming in acknowledging brushes with mysterious flying objects. In 2020 legislation was passed that asked the UAPTF to collect all available information regarding mysterious flying objects and present a “detailed analysis” of their findings.
While ultimately the goal was to uncover whether foreign forces may have access to unknown aerial advancements, rather than finding aliens, the report presented today shows a wide range of possibilities. Potentially foreign aircraft, or just a large, deflating balloon.
You can read the full ODNI UAP report here.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor.