According to the office director established to investigate the incidents, The US government receives dozens of reports of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, more commonly known as UFOs, each month, with the potential for “hundreds, if not thousands,” more reports expected soon.
The office said that they have received approximately 800 reports of unidentified objects to investigate as of this past April, up from 650 reports in August 2022, Sean Kirkpatrick, who heads the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office at the Pentagon, told CNN. Nearly all new reports refer to objects observed in the air; only one comes from a maritime sighting.
Kirkpatrick said the vast majority are benign objects, such as balloons or drones, but some may result from America’s enemies seeking to spy on the US.
“There are some indicators that are concerning that may be attributed to foreign activity, and we are investigating those very hard,” said Kirkpatrick, speaking exclusively to CNN before releasing the annual report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
The report, published on Wednesday, said the object sightings may represent an issue for flight safety. The report found that most sightings and observations come from near-restricted military airspace, likely due to the additional sensors and radars around the facilities.
A portion of the increase in reports comes from the Federal Aviation Administration, which monitors the airspace around US airports and is starting to provide information to the Pentagon.
About half of the reports contain enough data to be ruled out as “mundane things,” such as errant balloons or floating trash, Kirkpatrick said, but 2-4% are truly anomalous and require further investigation.
The report said only “a very small percentage” of observations have “interesting” signatures, such as high-speed travel or “unknown morphologies.”
Kirkpatrick’s office has transferred “a lot” of cases to police for further investigation and, if necessary, counterintelligence. But some sightings could potentially be foreign adversaries spying on the United States like the Chinese spy balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina in February.
The annual report on UAPs, put together by the Defense Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said, “Although none of these UAP reports have been positively attributed to foreign activities, these cases continue to be investigated.”
Asked if the Pentagon could definitively identify a sighting of an unidentified object as belonging to a foreign adversary, Kirkpatrick said that his office is “looking at some very interesting indicators of things, and that’s about all I can tell you.” But the office, which has more than 40 employees and is expected to grow, can’t say that for sure yet.
“There are ways to hide in our noise that always concern me,” Kirkpatrick said, referring to the extraneous readings picked up by US radars and other sensors. “I am worried from a national security perspective.”
But Kirkpatrick could explain why certain reports raised suspicions about foreign involvement.
“It could just be a foreign entity. It could be a hobbyist. It could be anybody,” he said. “And those are the things that we have to look into.”