Originally Published: 01 SEP 23 11:42 ET By Haley Britzky, CNN
(CNN) — The US Department of Defense has launched a website intended to be a “one-stop shop” for publicly available information on “unidentified anomalous phenomena” – UAPs, more commonly known as UFOs.
The site will also serve as an information hub of resolved UAP cases, including photos and videos as soon as they’re declassified, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday.
“The website’s other content includes reporting trends and frequently asked questions section, as well as links to official reports, transcripts, press releases and other resources that the public may find useful,” Ryder said. “The department is committed to transparency with the American people on AARO’s work on UAPs.”
The website is managed by the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO. The mission, according to AARO’s website, is to “[m]inimize technical and intelligence surprise … of unidentified anomalous phenomena in the vicinity of national security areas.”
While the topic of unidentified objects has long been of public interest, notice increased in July when three military veterans testified before Congress that the government has been too secretive regarding what it knows about the mysterious objects.
“UAPs, whatever they be, may pose a serious threat to our military and our civilian aircraft, and that must be understood,” Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California said during the hearing. “We should encourage more reporting, not less on UAPs. The more we understand, the safer we will be.”
In April, the Pentagon said it was tracking more than 650 potential cases of UAPs. AARO’s website describes UAPs as “sources of anomalous detection” in one or more domains – such as airborne, seaborne, or spaceborne – that are “not yet attributable to known actors and that demonstrate behaviors that are not readily understood by sensors or observers.”
The site will soon include a form through which US government employees, contractors, and service members with knowledge of US programs can make reports of activities related to UAPs. That reporting mechanism is expected to be launched this fall, according to a Pentagon press release.
A separate reporting mechanism for the general public will be available “in the coming months,” the release said, adding that the site will “serve as a one-stop shop for all publicly available information related to AARO and UAP.”
AARO emphasizes on the website, however, that the reporting form is not meant to convey classified or sensitive information, and that AARO staff will reach out to the person who has submitted the information to gather more information.
According to reporting trends shared on the AARO website, the most commonly reported characteristics of UAPs are that they are round, spotted at roughly 10,000 to 30,000 feet, 1-4 meters in size, and either white, silver, or translucent.
Some UAP cases have not been explained in government reports, while others have been attributed to “balloon or balloon-entities,” as well as drones, birds, weather events or airborne debris like plastic bags.
Asked Thursday how the Pentagon would ensure the site’s reporting capability isn’t overrun by jokes or non-serious reports, Ryder told reporters that there would soon be an update to the site that “will allow DoD service members or civilians to provide reports via a private and secure means.”
“[T]hat’s a critical aspect of this, is ensuring that information can be received in a way in which it will be properly handled to ensure, again, privacy, both from a statutory and regulatory standpoint, but then also to ensure that that website and the information there is secure,” Ryder said. “So this will be something that we’ll continue to keep the public updated on. AARO is focused on the facts, taking in information, reviewing the facts, and then when possible, declassifying that information making it available.”
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