UFO Sighting Reports to Government Increase as Stigma Lifts

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The US government has been looking into hundreds of reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, popularly known as UFOs, as broad public interest has grown and the stigma attached to reporting incidents has thawed.

In an unclassified report released Thursday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it’s aware of 510 reports of unidentified aerial phenomena—366 more compared to the office’s first unclassified assessment in 2021. The reports come after Congress and government agencies have started to dedicate more resources and studies to UFOs, after years of skepticism.

“Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) reporting is increasing, enabling a greater awareness of the airspace and increased opportunity to resolve UAP events,” the 2022 report to Congress said.

The intelligence community also assesses “that the observed increase in the UAP reporting rate is partially due to a better understanding of the possible threats that UAP may represent, either as safety of flight hazards or as potential adversary collection platforms, and partially due to reduced stigma surrounding UAP reporting,” the report said.

Photographer: Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray explains a video of unidentified aerial phenomena, as he testifies before a House Intelligence Committee subcommittee hearing in May 2022.

The House Intelligence Committee in May held the first congressional hearing since the 1960s into unidentified flying objects. The Defense Department wants to remove any shame in reporting suspected UFOs, reasoning that public sightings could represent national security threats, such as enemy drones or dangerous debris.

Earlier: UFO Sightings Aren’t for ‘Kooks’ Anymore, Lawmaker Says

Even so, Pentagon officials have said they haven’t found any evidence yet that aliens are responsible for the reported sightings, which are being analyzed. In fact, the new report states that of the 366 newly-identified sightings, half are “exhibiting unremarkable characteristics.”

Twenty-six of the events are characterized as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or UAS-like entities — commonly referred to as drones; 163 as balloon or balloon-like entities; and six are attributed to clutter.

The Pentagon’s new All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office is primarily working with other federal agencies to review unidentified aerial phenomena incidents.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at rtiron@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com; Sarah Babbage at sbabbage@bgov.com

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