The Department of Defense (DoD) has made it easier for military and civilian staffers to report UFO incidents.
The department’s UFO investigation team – formally known as the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) – released a new website that compiles operational details of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAPs) incidents, commonly known as UFOs.
Currently, the site showcases reporting trends, a frequently asked questions section, and links to official reports, transcripts, press releases, and other resources regarding the Pentagon’s UAP findings. It includes readily accessible and regularly updated information, including photos, videos, and other media of UAP cases declassified and approved for public release.
A subsequent update will allow U.S. troops and civilian Pentagon personnel to file reports about UAPs. While the information on the website will be available to the public, everyday citizens will not be permitted to submit UAP incidents to the site.
In the interim, current U.S. service members, U.S. government employees, and civil aviators are encouraged to continue to use the existing reporting mechanisms available to them through their organizations, the department said in a statement.
The DoD plans to announce a reporting mechanism for the general public in the coming months.
“AARO is focused on the facts, taking in information revealing the facts, and then when possible, declassifying that information,” Pentagon press secretary Brig Gen Pat Ryder said during an Aug. 31 press briefing.
In recent years, the Federal government has disclosed more details about UAPs, historically dismissed as science-fiction or conspiracy theories. DoD officials have never acknowledged the existence of extraterrestrials but instead have suggested that the unknown crafts could be from adversaries experimenting with hypersonics or other new technology.
The DoD stood up AARO in July 2022 after the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) mandated the establishment of a permanent office within the department dedicated to studying UAPs.
Later, the FY 2023 NDAA mandated AARO to plan, generate, and launch a public-facing website where Pentagon officials could report UAP incidents and the general public could easily access information.
The AARO established a multi-phased approach to developing the website and plans to have a fully functional site by this fall.
However, since its establishment, AARO has faced some criticism on its reporting mechanisms and delays in launching the FY 2023 NDAA-mandated online portal.
Most notably, in July 2023, during a House and Accountability subcommittee hearing, three former U.S. defense officials each testified that AARO has not seriously engaged with potential UAP observers and that DoD needed better and more transparent reporting and response mechanisms, citing the delays in delivering the website as an example.
According to the department, the launch of the new website shows its commitment to transparency with the public on AARO’s work on UAP.
“This website will serve as a one-stop shop for all publicly available information related to AARO and UAP,” Ryder said.
Hicks Takes Charge of AARO
In addition to launching the new website, AARO is also getting a new look to its leadership team.
The Pentagon’s number two official, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, will directly oversee the Pentagon’s UFO investigation team. Sean Kirkpatrick, AARO director, will report to Hicks.
This leadership change will not affect AARO’s current UAP operations or website development, Ryder said.