Encounters with unidentified aircraft by pilots have once again prompted Department of Defense officials to take action.
More specifically, the Navy confirmed that the service is drafting guidelines to establish a formal process for pilots and military personnel to report UFO sightings, Politico first reported.
The move comes following a surge in what the Navy called a series of intrusions by advanced aircraft on Navy carrier strike groups.
“There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years,” a Navy spokesperson told Politico.
"For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.
To improve upon past investigations, the Navy wants to establish a formal process so that “such suspected incursions can be made to cognizant authorities.”
The Navy confirmed a fleet-wide message on the UFO-reporting initiative is in the works.
While this development comes sans any admission of the existence of alien life, it signals a return to DoD acknowledgement that the series of recently documented encounters are at least authentic enough to warrant further investigation.
So prevalent was the DoD’s interest in tracking the phenomena years ago that it established a program inside the Pentagon solely dedicated to investigating reports of UFO sightings.
The existence of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which ran from 2007 until 2012, was confirmed by DoD officials in December 2017, who noted it was done away with when it "was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change.”
Former military intelligence official Luis Elizondo, who claims to have spearheaded the AATIP, told Politico the Pentagon should be taking a more aggressive approach to analyzing data surrounding UFO encounters.
“If you are in a busy airport and see something you are supposed to say something,” he said.
“With our own military members it is kind of the opposite: ‘If you do see something, don’t say something. ... What happens in five years if it turns out these are extremely advanced Russian aircraft?”
Elizondo will be appearing in a six-part documentary series titled “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation™" — the trademark symbol is part of the title — alongside other former Pentagon officials and Blink-182 co-founder Tom DeLonge, who founded To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences as a means to prove the existence of alien life.
Joining Elizondo on the History Channel docuseries is former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence for both the Clinton and Bush administrations, Chris Mellon.
Mellon, who was also instrumental in drafting the legislation that led to the creation of Special Operations Command, echoed Elizondo’s call for a formal reporting process.
“Right now, we have situation in which UFOs and UAPs are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored,” he told Politico. “We have systems that exclude that information and dump it.”
Mellon cited a number of examples in which military personnel simply “don’t know what to do with that information — like satellite data or a radar that sees something going Mach 3."
“They will dump [the data] because that is not a traditional aircraft or missile,” he said.
DeLonge’s To the Stars shot onto everyone’s radar last year after the company released a declassified 2015 video that reportedly showed U.S. Navy pilots encountering a UFO.
The clip, called “GO FAST,” is "an authentic DoD video that captures the high-speed flight of an unidentified aircraft at low altitudes,” a TTSA press release said.
Such encounters have sparked questions from congressional lawmakers who have requested briefings by the Navy’s senior intelligence officials and members of its aviation community, the report said.
The Navy did not specify who had requested briefings.
In 2017, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with former Sens. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, openly backed the establishment of the AATIP.
“I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or sorry I got this thing going,” Reid told the New York Times in 2017. “I think it’s one of the good things I did in my congressional service. I’ve done something that no one has done before.”
Dr. Hal Puthoff, a NASA quantum physicist and DoD adviser, and Jim Semivan, a former senior intelligence member of the CIA, will also be lending their expertise to the History Channel’s upcoming series, which is set to debut in May.
Elizondo, Mellon, Puthoff and Semivan all currently work for TTSA.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.