The US Department of Defense has officially established a task force to study UFOs.

On Friday, August 14, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a press release to announce the establishment of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF). According to the release, the UAPTF was approved on August 4, 2020 by Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist. This task force will be led by the Department of the Navy, with oversight by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.

As was previously reported, the DoD reiterates that the UAPTF has been established “to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs,” and its mission is to “detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”

The Build Up

Mentions of some new task force related to UFOs were seen back in May of this year when researcher John Greenewald brought attention to statements obtained by writer Roger Glassel from DoD spokesperson Susan Gough who stated that, “The investigation of UAP sightings by the multi-agency task force is ongoing” — multi-agency meaning the DoD and the U.S. Navy. That was really the first realization of a current UFO task force.

An article published in the New York Times on July 23rd reported that the UAP task force is the continuation of the pentagon’s previously revealed UFO program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which reportedly ended in 2012. And the New York Times says that “The program never lapsed.” The article even states that Luis Elizondo, AATIP’s former head, “confirmed that the new task force evolved from the advanced aerospace program.”

The discussion of the task force in the New York Times was related to a draft of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that was submitted by Senator Marco Rubio on June 17th on behalf of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Within the committee comments was a section titled, “Advanced Aerial Threats.” And this essentially detailed a request for a report to be assembled to provide a summary of the current UFO situation by the Director of National Intelligence in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and other relevant parties. And that information is supposed to come from a few different sources, including the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.

The comments in the Intelligence Authorization Act state that “The Committee supports the efforts of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force.” The report being requested specifically asks for “A detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence reporting collected or held by . . . the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.”

Susan Gough issued a statement to Popular Mechanics and other journalists on July 26 stating that the DoD is “creating a task force to gain knowledge and insight into the nature and origins of UAPs, as well as their operations, capabilities, performance, and/or signatures.” And she added that “The mission of the task force will be to detect, analyze, catalog, consolidate, and exploit non-traditional aerospace vehicles/UAPs posing an operational threat to U.S. national security and avoid strategic surprise.”

Creating Confusion

As we’ve come to expect with messaging from the Pentagon regarding the topic of UFOs, there’s already been plenty of confusion surrounding this task force. As stated above, prior statements indicated that a task force was being created, while other statements directly asserted that a task force has operated for some time. And media outlets haven’t helped the issue, as seen with the New York Times comments above.

Summary

So, we’ve got official confirmation that the US Government has an official (and current) group focused on UFOs. Regardless of whether this task force is, in fact, a newly created effort, it demonstrates that the government continues to have an active interest in UFOs, including data collection and data sharing. Any effort to attempt to analyze and identify mysterious objects in our skies is a worthwhile effort.

Time will tell what, if any, of the data collected by the UAPTF reaches the public.

About the Author

Jason McClellan is an author, podcaster, TV personality, veteran UFO researcher & journalist, bourbon enthusiast, ska and punk devotee, vegan, and animal lover. You might have seen him on NatGeo, Syfy, History, or at conferences talking about UFOs.

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