The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the creation of a new group to investigate unidentified flying objects (UFOs) within restricted airspace.
The task force, named the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG), has been established “to detect, identify and attribute objects of interests in Special Use Airspace (SUA), and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to safety of flight and national security.”
The Pentagon explained in a statement that “incursions by any airborne object into our SUA pose safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges.” Given these concerns, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks ordered the creation of AOIMSG as the successor to the US Navy’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, which was established last year.
Concerns over the potential security threat posed by UFOs have increased recently, coming to a head in June 2021 when the Pentagon revealed that the vast majority of sightings since 2004 remain unexplained. Complying with a request from Congress, the DoD’s report provided details on the 144 UFO sightings by military personnel over the past 17 years, all but one of which lack a plausible explanation.
In April 2020, the Pentagon declassified and released three videos recorded by Navy pilots, each depicting "unidentified aerial phenomena.” Among these was the famous “Tic Tac” video shot by former Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich and fellow pilot David Fravor off the coast of South Carolina in November 2004.
The infamous grainy footage shows a smooth white object – resembling a Tic Tac breath mint – flying over the water at high speed. Despite its inability to account for this and other such incidents, though, the Pentagon says there is no evidence that these UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin.
Rather, the DoD has expressed concern that some of these sightings may indicate the development of “breakthrough technologies” by other nations, potentially posing a national security threat to the US. For this reason, the Pentagon has said that it “takes reports of incursions – by any airborne object, identified or unidentified – very seriously, and investigates each one.”