Department of Defense Office Advances Mission to Identify ‘Anomalous Phenomena’ > US Department of Defense > Department of Defense News

In July, DOD established the Office of All Domains Anomaly Resolution to, among other things, identify “unidentified anomalous phenomena” that could pose a threat to national security and the operations of the military and other federal agencies.

An “unidentified anomalous phenomenon” is anything in space, in the air, on land, at sea, or under the sea that cannot be identified and that could pose a threat to US military installations or operations.

“We have an important but challenging mission to lead an interagency effort to document, collect, analyze and, where possible, resolve reports of any unidentified anomalous phenomena,” said Sean M. Kirkpatrick, AARO Director.

Since the AARO office got up and running this summer, Kirkpatrick said his team has made significant progress in establishing its mission.

“We have transferred the data and responsibilities of the previous Navy-led UAP task force and have disestablished it,” he said. “During that transition, we have taken the opportunity to expand, standardize and integrate UAP reporting and re-evaluate the data we have collected.”

The AARO has a variety of UAP reports that are historical in nature to evaluate, and is also receiving new reports. Kirkpatrick said the AARO will need to apply “a rigorous methodology” to the job of analyzing both old and new reports and that his team has developed an analytical framework to do just that.


[We’re] working with military departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to standardize, integrate, and expand UAP reporting beyond aviators, to all service members, including sailors, submariners, and our Space Guardians.”

Sean M. Kirkpatrick, Director, AARO

In the past, the type of work that AARO is tasked with now involved only reports of anomalous phenomena seen in the air. But that has changed. Now, AARO hopes to assess anomalous phenomena in all domains. And that means that people operating in those other domains are now free to file UAP reports as well. Kirkpatrick said that’s something the AARO has been working on with the services.

“[We’re] working with military departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to standardize, integrate and expand UAP reporting beyond aviators, to all service members, including sailors, submariners and our space rangers,” said Kirkpatrick.

In addition, an AARO effort, Kirkpatrick said, is working with both the military and the intelligence community to ensure that the US government’s own activities do not end up as reports of a UAP.

“We are establishing very clear mechanisms with our ‘blue’ programs, both our DOD and IC programs, to rule out any conflicts that come up with ‘blue’ activity to ensure that we eliminate them and can identify them well in advance,” Kirkpatrick said.

AARO is a new office within the DOD, and Kirkpatrick said that from the beginning, the office is working hard to establish a comprehensive and rigorous standard of operations.

“We apply the highest analytical and scientific standards,” he said. “We execute our mission objectively and without sensationalism and do not rush to conclusions.”

AARO’s work is not done in a vacuum. Instead, he is obligated to keep Congress abreast of what he is doing with regular briefings, said Ronald Moultrie, assistant secretary of defense for intelligence and security.

“Since its establishment, AARO has been providing regular updates to Congress on its efforts to document, analyze, and resolve reports of anomalous phenomena,” Moultrie said. “The department already submitted its first quarterly UAP reports required by Congress in August and November, and we will continue to provide quarterly updates.”

Congress isn’t the only one that wants to know more about unidentified anomalous phenomena. The American public does too, Moultrie said. And AARO and the department are committed to transparency there.

“The department takes the public interest in UAP seriously,” Moultrie said. “As I told congressional leaders in May, we are fully committed to the principles of openness and accountability to the American people. We are committed to sharing as many details with the public as we can.”

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