The December 15th New York Times story that revealed a secret Pentagon UFO program that reportedly operated from 2007 through 2012 still has media outlets and UFO researchers reacting.

This UFO program was revealed by military intelligence official Luis Elizondo back on October 11, 2017 during the launch event for To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTS/AAS)—a new science, aerospace, and entertainment company founded by musician and serial entrepreneur Tom DeLonge. At this event, Elizondo, who served as senior intelligence officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, announced that he had headed up “a sensitive aerospace threat identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies.” And he alleges the program is still operating. His statement that an official UFO program currently exists was surprising enough. But he added that, through his time working on the project, he “learned that the phenomena is indeed real.” The main significance of the New York Times article is the confirmation from the Pentagon that, at least from 2007-2012, the program did, in fact, exist.

Elizondo left his Department of Defense (DoD) position to join other former high-level government/military officials and scientists at TTS/AAS. This organization just launched its Community of Interest—an online platform designed to “enable interdisciplinary collaboration on reporting and analysis of anomalies among the public at large, academia, industry partners, government and every level of law enforcement.” It was on this platform that two declassified UFO videos (which were included in the New York Times story) were published.

Many UFO researchers are understandably excited by the Pentagon’s acknowledgement of a recent official UFO study. But it’s important to avoid the desire to fill in the blanks or make more out of this information than actually exists. Here are five things to keep in mind when navigating the sensational headlines about this story and the hype it has created:

1. Official UFO Studies are Cool. But They’re Not New.

Governments around the world actively study UFOs. The US government has conducted multiple studies on the subject, notably Projects Sign, Grudge, and Blue Book.

  • Project Sign (1947) – First official U.S. Air Force UFO investigation.
    • Concluded that extraterrestrials were the best and likely explanation for some of the UFO incidents studied.
  • Project Grudge (1949) – Established with a mandate to explain away all UFO sightings and to foster the idea to the media and the general public that UFOs were just silly nonsense.
  • Project Blue Book (1952) – A 17-year study that investigated more than 12,000 UFO reports. And of those, 701 couldn’t be identified.

Although we know the US government officially investigated UFOs in the past, the recent confirmation of a contemporary government UFO study is noteworthy. It affirms what many have suspected for so many years: The government is still interested and concerned about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, despite actively denying this for decades.

2. Sorry, but this is not the “Disclosure” you’re looking for.

Many are cheering, viewing the Pentagon’s confirmation of its UFO program as the grand Disclosure many hope to receive from the government. But nothing has really been disclosed, from an official level, other than the existence of a program to study and identify aerial threats. The government has not announced that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth, or that the anomalous objects studied by the program were found to be extraterrestrial in origin. Luis Elizondo has voiced his personal opinion that evidence supports the ET possibility. UFO history is filled with former high-level government and military officials who have made extraordinary claims, or have voiced their pro-ET opinions. But no such official statement has come from the government.

Many are also exercising their conspiracy speculation skills, pondering the government’s real motive behind choosing now to reveal its UFO information. Well, again, the government hasn’t disclosed anything yet, aside from confirming the existence of a former UFO study at the Pentagon. The UFO-related information brought forward recently, and other forthcoming information, is courtesy of TTS/AAS. Although its team includes former high level military/government officials and/or contractors, the information and its analysis/interpretations are from this private company, not the government.

3. The UFO program contracted with BAASS.

Perhaps the most interesting (yet not surprising) element revealed about the Pentagon’s UFO program is that it contracted with private space pioneer Robert Bigelow—an individual whose extraterrestrial beliefs are well documented—and the Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) department of Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow has spent millions of his own fortune investigating UFOs, claims of extraterrestrial contact, and other paranormal phenomena.

It was during the time period of the Pentagon’s UFO program that BAASS was listed as one of the organizations to whom the FAA directed pilots wishing to report UFO sightings. Chapter 9, Section 8 of the FAA Air Traffic Organization Policy instructed, “Persons wanting to report UFO/unexplained phenomena activity should contact a UFO/ unexplained phenomena reporting data collection center, such as Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) (voice: 1-877-979-7444 or e-mail: Reporting@baass.org), the National UFO Reporting Center, etc.”

It was also during the same time period that BAASS contracted with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) to fund its STAR Team in exchange for access to investigation data.

4. Don’t jump to conclusions regarding the recovered UFO material.

Bigelow reportedly, at his own expense, modified buildings at Bigelow Aerospace headquarters for the purpose of storing physical material allegedly recovered from UFOs. This sounds awesome. But it’s important to refrain from making assumptions based on the limited provided information. Again, this bit of information comes from an individual, and has not been confirmed by the Pentagon. We don’t know the provenance of these material samples. And we don’t know if these artifacts were personally collected at crash sites by Bigelow’s team or government officials, or if these were just acquired by Bigelow from people claiming to have recovered something from a UFO crash. We also don’t know the results of any testing performed on this material.

5. Exercise patience.

It’s difficult to resist getting caught up in the recent UFO frenzy. It’s exciting seeing the flood of media attention the subject has received in recent weeks. But it’s all to easy to see what you want to see in these kinds of stories. So far, only tiny bits and pieces of a much larger story have been reported. Anything beyond those pieces is speculation at this point. So we just have to wait and see if any further information is released to the public before we can even consider getting a little excited (or a lot freaked out) about possible proof of extraterrestrial visitors.

If you’re interested in following the developments in this latest wave of UFO research, I suggest following To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science on Twitter (@TTSAcademy) or keeping an eye on ToTheStarsAcademy.com.