A new report from the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) shows a large increase in the number of sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP — colloquially known as UFOs — but no explanation as to what they are or where they came from.

Congress mandates that a report detailing UAP investigations be produced by the ODNI every year, and the latest report confirms 366 sightings, including 127 sightings prior to March 2021 that hadn’t been included in the preliminary report published last June.

AARO was able to identify 195 of the UAPs as “unremarkable” in their flight characteristics and 163 were identified as balloons of one sort or another. 126 sightings were connected to civilian drone activity.


The new numbers indicate a steep rise in UAP sightings: The preliminary report released in June 2021 listed just 144 reports, covering a 17-year period. With the subsequent additions, the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, had 510 UAP reports in its files at the end of August 2022.

Officials say they believe the rise in UAP reports is due to U.S. government efforts “to destigmatize the topic of UAP and instead recognize the potential risks” the phenomenon poses, both as an aviation hazard and “potential adversarial activity,” such as foreign surveillance efforts.

AARO is focusing on 171 sightings that they can’t explain away, including some in which objects “appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.”

Related: The Truth Is Out There. Meh.

“The safety of our service personnel, our bases and installations, and the protection of U.S. operations security on land, in the skies, seas, and space are paramount,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Friday in a statement on the report’s release. “We take reports of incursions into our designated space, land, sea, or airspaces seriously and examine each one.”

That’s been the driving force behind the formation of the AARO office and the demand by Congress that they be kept informed of what’s happening with the investigations on an annual basis. This is not about solving the UFO mystery as much as it is about identifying what is clearly a potential threat to the security of the United States. Whether the UAPs are terrestrial or extraterrestrial in nature, the amazing technology that allows them to perform jaw-dropping feats of aerial maneuvering worries the brass, and getting to the bottom of the mystery has become a priority.

Task & Purpose:

Most of the newly reported sightings come from the military, specifically U.S. Air Force pilots and Navy aviators. Those were reported to officials at the AARO and its predecessor the Office of Naval Intelligence’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.

“We continue to assess that this may result from a collection bias due to the number of active aircraft and sensors, combined with focused attention and guidance to report anomalies,” the report said.

One curious addition to AARO’s mission was to expand the definition of a UAP to include objects in the air and sea, as well as “transmedium objects.”

AARO defines that last category as “Objects or devices that are observed to transition between space and the atmosphere, or between the atmosphere and bodies of water, that are not immediately identifiable.”

The mystery will continue to baffle us and rouse our curiosity. But the military remains worried and apprehensive, because they know the United States has no aircraft that could go toe-to-toe with whatever is out there.

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