The Pentagon revealed that it is forming a new group to look into unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP) months after a U.S. intelligence report triggered requests for deeper investigation into sightings and probable indicators of extraterrestrial life.

The group will spearhead the U.S.’s efforts to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace (SUA), and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to the safety of flight and national security,” according to a statement from the Pentagon.

The establishment of the office is a significant step forward for the Pentagon, which had previously revealed almost nothing publicly about UFOs or its highly classified studies into the unexplained happening’s in the skies over America, such as close encounters between military pilots and UFOs.

According to The Hill, “Invasion of Special Use Airspace by any flying object raises safety and national security concerns, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).

“DOD takes reports of incursions—by any airborne object, identified or unidentified—very seriously, and investigates each one,” the Pentagon added.

The new group will be known as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, according to Kathleen H. Hicks, the deputy defense secretary. An executive council consisting of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the director of the Joint Staff, and senior officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will be in charge of it.

The group will concentrate on special-use airspace, including military operations regions, firing ranges, and other restricted locations for national security or other reasons. Unidentified aerial phenomena in the special-use areas, according to Dr. Hicks’ memo, pose a significant safety risk to military pilots and raise “potential national security concerns.”

In June, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report that reviewed unidentified aerial phenomena seen since 2004, noting that 143 remained unexplained. Of those, 21 reports involving 18 events may have shown technological know-how unknown to the U.S., such as objects moving without visible propulsion or with high acceleration thought to be beyond the capability of Russia, China, and other terrestrial nations.

Earlier this month, the director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines, warned that the government needs to improve its data collection on the mysterious events. Haines stated that the primary focus was on whether the event was caused by planes from rival countries spying on the United States, but she did not rule out alternative possibilities, reported N.Y. Times.

“The main issues that Congress and others have been concerned about are basically safety of flight concerns and counterintelligence issues,” she said. “But of course, there’s always the question of, is there something else that we simply do not understand that might come extraterrestrially?”

Haines’ extraterrestrial remark did not necessarily relate to extraterrestrials but rather more mundane reasons like meteorites and solar flares that could affect flight safety.

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