The US community's long-awaited report examined 144 reports of what the government terms "unidentified aerial phenomenon" (UAP) — only one of which investigators were able to explain by the end of the study.
Here are some key things noted in the document about the findings:
- Investigators found no evidence that the sightings represented either extraterrestrial life or a major technological advancement by a foreign adversary like Russia or China, but acknowledge that is a possible explanation. "We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained," the report says. A senior US official said that of the 144 reports, they "have no clear indications that there is any non-terrestrial explanation for them — but we will go wherever the data takes us."
- But Investigators were also convinced that the majority of the sightings were "physical objects," the official told reporters on Friday. "We absolutely do believe what we're seeing are not simply sensor artifacts. These are things that physically exist," the official said, noting that 80 of the reported incidents included data from multiple sensors. In 11 cases, investigators believed that there was a "near-miss" collision with US personnel.
- Investigators were particularly stymied by a limited number of incidents where UFOs reportedly appeared to exhibit "unusual flight characteristics," according to the report, which notes these observations "could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing, or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analysis."
- Still, the nine-page report makes clear that more work must be done to identify these objects as "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."
- But despite that challenge, the report does conclude that these objects "clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to US national security." The report said "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."
- Worryingly for national security professionals, the report also found that the sightings were "clustered" around US training and testing grounds. But investigators downplayed those concerns, assessing that "this may result from a collection bias as a result of focused attention, greater numbers of latest-generation sensors operating in those areas, unit expectations and guidance to report anomalies."
Read more about the report here.