This summer’s blockbuster read was a congressionally mandated government report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence titled Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
It had a little something for the UFO believer and nonbeliever alike — a minimal something, but something nonetheless.
The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)
hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP. The
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) considered a range of information on UAP
described in U.S. military and IC (Intelligence Community) reporting, but because the reporting
lacked sufficient specificity, ultimately recognized that a unique, tailored reporting process was
required to provide sufficient data for analysis of UAP events.
• As a result, the UAPTF concentrated its review on reports that occurred between
2004 and 2021, the majority of which are a result of this new tailored process to
better capture UAP events through formalized reporting.
• Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects given that a
majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared,
electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.
In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight
characteristics. These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or
observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis.
There are probably multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations based on the
range of appearances and behaviors described in the available reporting. Our analysis of
the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved they will
fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric
phenomena, USG or U.S. industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a
catchall “other” bin.
UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.
Safety concerns primarily center on aviators contending with an increasingly cluttered air
domain. UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary
collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a
breakthrough or disruptive technology.
Consistent consolidation of reports from across the federal government, standardized
reporting, increased collection and analysis, and a streamlined process for screening all
such reports against a broad range of relevant USG data will allow for a more
sophisticated analysis of UAP that is likely to deepen our understanding. Some of these
steps are resource-intensive and would require additional investment.
And a Handful of UAP Appear to Demonstrate Advanced Technology
In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or
Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver
abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion. In a small
number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with
The UAPTF holds a small amount of data that appear to show UAP demonstrating acceleration
or a degree of signature management. Additional rigorous analysis are necessary by multiple
teams or groups of technical experts to determine the nature and validity of these data. We are
conducting further analysis to determine if breakthrough technologies were demonstrated.