• Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will assist in overseeing the task force.
  • Previously, the US Navy led any efforts to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena because many of the encounters involved their aircraft, CNN said.

The Pentagon is launching a task force dedicated to investigating UFO sightings by military aircraft, according to a Friday Department of Defense news release, which establishes the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF). CNN first reported the story earlier this week.

“The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs,” the DoD said in a release. “The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze, and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security.”

“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report,” the DoD added. “This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.”

Politicians and Pentagon officials have previously expressed concerns about the appearance of “unidentified aerial phenomenon” flying over US military bases. 

In April the Pentagon declassified three videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The next month, the Navy released several incident reports from encounters with unidentified flying objects (UFOs) — a generic term for any aerospace asset that is unidentifiable, rather than confirmation as an actual aerial object piloted by extraterrestrials.

In response, US lawmakers called on intelligence agencies and the Pentagon share information on these kinds of sightings, including whether the incidents could be the work of foreign adversaries, with the public, Business Insider previously reported.

“The US needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tweeted at the time.

The UAPTF will be lead by the “Department of the Navy, under the cognizance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security,” the DoD said.

In the past, efforts to investigate these unexplained aircraft were led by the Navy, CNN reported. 

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