The Pentagon announces a new task force to research UFOs

The Pentagon announces a new task force to research UFOs
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper delivers a speech during the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 18, 2019. The ASC Conference is a professional development seminar that offers the opportunity for Department of Defense personnel to participate in forums, speeches and workshops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

On Friday, the Pentagon announced that it is launching a task force to better understand UFOs.


In a press release, the Defense Department, perhaps to avoid association with the extraterrestrial implications of "Unidentified Flying Objects," used the term "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon," but it's clear what it's referring to: objects in the sky of unknown origin.

"On Aug. 4, 2020, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF)," the press release said. "The Department of the Navy, under the cognizance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, will lead the UAPTF."

It continued:

The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.

As DOD has stated previously, the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern. 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. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing.

The government's study of UFOs has drawn increasing public attention in recent months, most notably because of a series of New York Times articles about the issue. The Navy recently officially released video taken by pilots of unknown objects in the sky behaving bizarrely, though the footage had been circulating for years prior.

But while there has been some implication that the Pentagon's interest indicates a strong possibility that evidence exists of actual alien life, there's little reason to believe that's true. Undoubtedly, there have been objects and phenomena detected in the U.S. skies that have confounded expert pilots; perhaps they're from private owners or foreign nations. And yet many of these sightings and events almost always have plausible, mundane explanations that don't require appealing to the existence of extraterrestrial beings who have traveled to Earth.

And when reports and evidence have suggested the potential of alien life, it often turns out to be a mirage. For example, a New York Times report initially suggested former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid had attested to the existence of otherworldly objects in the government's possession. But the story was later corrected:

An earlier version of this article inaccurately rendered remarks attributed to Harry Reid, the retired Senate majority leader from Nevada. Mr. Reid said he believed that crashes of objects of unknown origin may have occurred and that retrieved materials should be studied; he did not say that crashes had occurred and that retrieved materials had been studied secretly for decades.

Much of the supposed evidence for alien visitation turns out to be exactly like this: striking at first, but it falls apart upon inspection. And perhaps one of the best reasons to doubt the existence of alien ships visiting Earth is the ubiquity of cell phones. If alien UFO sightings were genuine, why haven't we seen clear and decisive video evidence from a witnesses' phone?

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