Aliens and spaceships and sightings — oh my! Unidentified flying objects, aka UFOs, are great sci-fi, but a new report might soon reveal whether we can get rid of that “fiction” label. By the end of June, Congress is expected to receive an unclassified report revealing what the Pentagon knows about unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) — aka, UFOs. I may be getting ahead of myself, but honestly, I really wanna believe aliens are real.
The report is being developed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the UAP Task Force, a Pentagon-founded organization that was developed to investigate the military’s close encounters with UAP’s — many of which have been difficult to rationalize, even from a scientific perspective. For years, in-flight military footage has revealed UAPs that seem to instantly accelerate and fly at supersonic speeds without breaking the sound barrier. Now, politicians in Congress, concerned about national security, are demanding answers.
As much as I want to go straight to the X-Files with my hopes for this report, it’s not expected to quell the curiosity of UFO enthusiasts. At least, not entirely. Other than eyewitness accounts of close encounters, the report is expected to share a “detailed analysis” of UFO data known by the government, per The New York Times, and flag anything that may be considered a threat to national security. It will also outline a process to collect UFO data in the future. And while the report as a whole will be released to the public, there may also be a classified section. Rats.
The report is also a rarity in American politics: a bipartisan issue. In late 2020, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, then the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, successfully added to the Intelligence Authorization Act a requirement that the Pentagon prepare a detailed unclassified report to Congress on UAPs. “We cannot allow the stigma of UFOs to keep us from seriously investigating this,” Rubio said in a statement to ABC ahead of the report’s release. And former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a Democrat, has long pushed for more attention to UFOs — in 2007, he secured $22 million in funding to create the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which has since been replaced. “An unofficial taboo regarding the frank discussion of encounters,” Reid wrote in a May 2021 New York Times essay, “could harm our national security and stymie opportunities for technical advancement.”
But don’t get too excited just yet: Because it’s an intelligence-based report, the sources and methods used to obtain the information will be protected “to prevent potential adversaries from getting an idea of how we learn things,” a Pentagon official told ABC News on June 3. Instead, the report will focus on “providing context and information [the Pentagon has] on these phenomena,” said John Kirby, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, during a June 1 briefing. Per ABC News, legislators are concerned about whether these UAPs are actually technological threats from foreign nations, rather than aliens.
But OK, you can also get a little excited. While President Joe Biden has been kind of cagey on the subject of UFOs, former President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, has been a little more open. “There's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are,” Obama told James Corden in May. “We can't explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern.” Well, if it helps, I can think of one possible explanation: ALIENS.
Congress is expected to examine the much-anticipated report by June 29, when lawmakers may ask: Is the world facing a sci-fi situation? I’m not saying it’s aliens — but if it is — then I, for one, welcome our new extraterrestrial overlords.