U.S. Navy Drafting New Guidelines for Personnel to Report 'Unidentified Aircraft'

An image from a Navy jet fighter's infrared targeting camera taken during an encounter with an unidentified aerial phenomenon.

An image from a Navy jet fighter's infrared targeting camera taken during an encounter with an unidentified aerial phenomenon.

The U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for their personnel to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft”, reported Politico on April 23rd.

According to a statement by the Navy:

There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years. For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.

As part of this effort the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft.

The new guidelines could represent increased public acceptance by government agencies of what they refer to as "unexplained aerial phenomena” (UAPs), and may come, at least in part, as a result of the frustration felt by pilots who have witnessed the seemingly impossible aircraft.

“Imagine you see highly advanced vehicles, they appear on radar systems, they look bizarre, no one knows where they’re from. This happens on a recurring basis, and no one does anything,” said Chris Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official and ex-staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee; currently employed by To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science. “Pilots are upset, and they’re trying to help wake up a slumbering system.”

To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science (TTSA) is a public benefit corporation created in 2017 to study UFOs.

Those involved with TTSA have slowly disseminated information on UFOs since news of the Pentagon’s secret UFO program broke in December of 2017, but the speed at which information has so far been released has met with doubt and impatience from many in the UFO community.

Representatives for TTSA say that the delays in UFO disclosure are due to the government’s hesitancy to publicly acknowledge the issue.

“Right now, we have a situation in which UFOs and UAPs are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored. We have systems that exclude that information and dump it," Mellon said. "In a lot of cases [military personnel] don’t know what to do with that information—like satellite data or a radar that sees something going Mach 3. They will dump [the data] because that is not a traditional aircraft or missile.”

However, recent statements by Luis Elizondo, former Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence officer and program head for the secret Pentagon UFO project named the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP), were more optimistic.

On December 14th, 2018, Elizondo said in an interview with journalist George Knapp that "people would be surprised to know just how frequent and the volume at which [UFOs] are apparently recorded and observed by active duty military people on missions," and hinted at "new information" about which, if it got out, people would be "very, very surprised."

The accumulated UFO-related releases of the last two years have many assuming that the “unidentified aircraft” mentioned by the Navy’s statement includes UFOs; something supported by the statements of Mellon and Elizondo.

“If I came to you and said, ‘There are these things that can fly over our country with impunity, defying the laws of physics, and within moments could deploy a nuclear device at will,’ that would be a matter of national security,” Elizondo said. “This type of activity is very alarming, and people are recognizing there are things in our aerospace that lie beyond our understanding.”

The former head of the AATIP described the Navy's apparent new-found respect for UFO sightings as “the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades.”

Former British Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope also found the news significant, as shown in a tweeted statement.

“Regarding the U.S. Navy UFO story: the Navy could kill the story if they said something like ‘when we use the phrase ‘unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft’ we exclusively mean aircraft and drones, nothing more’,” he said. “Sometimes it’s what isn’t said that’s most significant.”

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