In the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress ordered the Pentagon to establish a new office to replace the UAP Task Force and investigate and “resolve” sightings of UFOs. Of course, we’re not supposed to call them UFOs anymore (too bad! I’m a rebel!), instead referring to them as UAP. That used to stand for unidentified aerial phenomena, but now they’ve changed it yet again to mean “unidentified anomalous phenomena.” (The nomenclature changes a lot, so bear with me.) The word “aerial” implies only objects flying in our atmosphere. The new name takes into account sightings of objects in space and even under the water, including some that can apparently travel between two or even all three environments, also known as “transmedium” objects.

As you know if you’ve been following this saga, the names of the various programs and offices dealing with this subject have changed many times over the past twenty or more years. The (hopefully) final name settled on last year was the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO. The 2022 NDAA included an order for AARO to produce quarterly classified reports to Congress on UFO investigations, along with an annual report to be made public, along with a classified annex for Congress. Their first annual report was due on Halloween of last year, but they missed the deadline by quite a bit. That report finally dropped yesterday. (You can read the full report here at the website of the Director of National Intelligence.)

Much like the report issued in June of 2021 by the (then) UAP Task Force, the public document is rather short, coming in at 12 pages, and very sparse in terms of details. There were no stunning new videos of UFOs released or even any detailed reports of individual sightings. There wasn’t so much as a hint or any mention of anything “exotic.” (That’s the word they prefer for something that might potentially be extraterrestrial or at least non-human in origin.) The majority of it dealt with administrative housekeeping, identifying the steps they have taken to establish the new office as ordered by Congress and how the reporting structure is organized, along with clarifications of ARRO’s goals. But there was at least one potentially exciting portion found on page six, where they detailed the number of new cases and sightings that have been received and are currently being investigated. And there are a lot of them, bringing the total number of cases up to more than 500. Here’s a portion of the relevant section.

The ODNI preliminary assessment on UAP discussed 144 UAP reports and had an information cut-off date of 05 March 2021. Since then, AARO received a total of 247 new UAP reports. An additional 119 UAP reports on events that occurred before 05 March 2021, but were not included in the preliminary assessment, have been discovered or reported after the preliminary assessment’s time period. These 366 additional reports, when combined with the 144 reports identified in the preliminary assessment, bring the total UAP reports catalogued to date to 510.

Since its establishment in July 2022, AARO has formulated and started to leverage a robust analytic process against identified UAP reporting. Once completed, AARO’s final analytic findings will be available in their quarterly reports to policymakers. AARO’s initial analysis and characterization of the 366 newly-identified reports, informed by a multi-agency process, judged more than half as exhibiting unremarkable characteristics.

Take note of the description of more than half of the 366 new reports as “exhibiting unremarkable characteristics.” These are the sightings that they have begun looking into which at least appear to be of mundane origin. They include 26 that appear to have been “unmanned aircraft systems” (read: drones), 163 which seemed to be balloons or “balloon-like entities,” and six that were attributed to “clutter.” (That’s military-speak for birds, weather events, or airborne trash such as plastic bags.) The report goes on to point out that none of those conclusions are definitive and fully “resolved,” however.

But that still leaves 171 sightings that they were unable to characterize. This doesn’t mean that all 171 were “exotic” in nature, of course. Some of the reports contained so few details that they will likely be unable to come to any sort of conclusion. But in perhaps the most suggestive sentence in the entire report, AARO tells us that some of the 171 UAP “appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.”

Bingo. ARRO is trying to say this in the least excitable fashion possible, but those are the ones that we’re waiting to hear about. Some of the pilots submitting these reports have described objects maneuvering in ways that they simply couldn’t understand or shouldn’t have been possible. These include objects reportedly making right-angle turns or even reversals of course at high speed or demonstrating sudden bursts of acceleration to velocities we couldn’t achieve with a hypersonic missile.

Sadly, most of the “good stuff” will likely only be included in the classified reports that Congress receives and not given to the public, at least for now. But it’s a start toward transparency and disclosure that is badly needed inside the Pentagon. Then again, it took us more than 75 years to get them to even admit the UFOs were real, so we may need to coax them along gently.

This year is shaping up to potentially be very revelatory in terms of the UFO topic. One thing to keep your eye on is a provision in the 2023 NDAA (signed by Joe Biden in December) that will protect UFO whistleblowers inside the government, the military, and civilian contractors handling classified programs. People coming forward with relevant information for AARO will not lose their careers or their security clearances or have other personnel actions taken against them. What Congress wants from the keepers of secrets (among other things) is to find out about the possibility that the Pentagon has been running deeply classified “legacy programs” without the government even knowing about it. These could include things such as “crash retrieval” programs (where the military recovers UFOs and studies them in secret) or even reverse engineering “exotic” technology with the help of civilian contractors. (Both of those possibilities were listed as potential examples in the 2023 NDAA, so that’s not just me speculating.) If this has been going on without Congress having been informed and performing oversight, heads may roll. And if they’ve been spending taxpayer dollars on such programs completely off the books, someone may wind up going to jail.

Buckle up, campers. This year may turn into a wild ride when it comes to the UFO topic.

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