UAP Reporting Included In Intelligence Authorization Bill 

Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

One of the first steps towards formalizing the Pentagon’s investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) has been taken with the inclusion of provisions in the Senate’s proposed Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2022 that would require quarterly classified reports on sightings to Congress.

Introduced by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the bill calls for the intelligence community and the Department of Defense to relay all UAP-related data “immediately to the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) and to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.”

The bill specifically states that within 90 days of the enactment of the Act—and on a quarterly basis thereafter—that the Pentagon’s UAP investigation group report its latest findings to Congress. 

The UAPTF was a temporary task force established in 2020 by the Defense Department to compile a report on the unidentified phenomena to Congress. Following the disclosure of this report on June 25, 2021, the Pentagon announced that Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks had directed the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to “develop a plan to formalize the mission currently performed by the UAPTF.”

The Pentagon, meanwhile, has yet to say how the UAP research mission will be undertaken and whether the role will be assumed by a specially created group or by continuing the work of the task force. Although it was widely thought that the U.S. government’s official evaluation of UAPs—formerly known as unidentified flying objects—ended in 1969 with the closing of the U.S. Air Force’s 17-year long Project Blue Book, the New York Times revealed in 2017 that the Pentagon had been running a similar effort from 2007 called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.