In an unclassified report released on January 12, 2023, by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), it was revealed that around 510 Unidentified Arial Phenomena (UAP) sightings (or UFOs as most people know them) were confirmed from 2021–2022. This is more than triple the 144 confirmed sightings recorded over the previous 17 years. What is even more interesting is that the US government has not been able to explain over half of these.

It is tempting to conclude that aliens are closing in on earth, but inherent reasons exist as to why more UAPs have been spotted flying through the skies.

Project Blue Book – UFO sightings

Reports of flying saucers in America became a cultural phenomenon in the 1950s, with mass UFO sightings drowning public media outlets. While the majority were hoaxes, it was enough to force the Pentagon to start collecting data. An initiative called ‘Project Blue Book’ called on the US Air Force to investigate UFO sightings from 1947 to 1969. The program investigated over 12,000 sightings, with over 700 still unidentified. This was enough to keep people invested for years to come and led to the formation of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) in 2007.

Its leader, Luis Elizondo, became convinced that some sightings were otherworldly. However, he felt his evidence was being met with collective skepticism within the Pentagon, so he brought the project into the public eye in 2017.  

What does Blink-182 have to do with UFO sightings?

Elizondo resigned from the AATIP project and joined forces with Tom DeLonge, former lead singer of Blink-182. From rockstars to celestial stars, DeLonge started a company called the ‘To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences’, after quitting the band in 2015. The aim of the company was to analyze and explain UAPs.

The academy’s first project was a documentary series called Unidentified, where they released the first three UFO videos ever taken by Navy pilots. Three years later, the Pentagon confirmed that these videos were real. Former intelligence officer Chris Mellon told the Washington Post that the current progress may have never been made if the videos had not leaked.

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By GlobalData

The present-day

In 2021, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led efforts to include an amendment in the latest defense bill requiring the Department of Defense to set up a permanent office for investigating UAPs. Subsequently, the UAP Task Force (UAPTF) program was detailed in a hearing in June 2020.

In June 2021, the UAPTF issued a preliminary report covering the 2004–2020 period. A year later, the UAPTF was succeeded by an organization called the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

Don’t call the Men in Black just yet

Of the 366 new sightings in the most recent UAP report, 26 were found to be drones, 163 were found to be balloons or “balloon-like entities”, and three were found to be “other airborne clutter”. The report sees 171 objects classified as “uncharacterized sightings” having “demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities”.

But contrary to popular belief, UAP analysis is not all about finding aliens. A UAP could also be an unidentified piece of US or foreign technology and thus needs to be taken seriously. In fact, the safety concerns created by the Russia-Ukraine war, and US-China tensions, are a key reason for a growth in UAP sightings.

Another cited reason is a reduction in the stigma surrounding UAP sightings. In the years past, pilots were likely nervous about what their peers would think if they stepped forwards about a UAP they had spotted, and feared ridicule. However, a solid initiative has allowed these pilots to feel more comfortable coming forward. All of the efforts made to date have worked to both lift the curtain on UAP initiatives and reduce the stigma and skepticism surrounding UAP evidence. These efforts will not only benefit conspiracy theorists but also country leaders when addressing genuine concerns about national security.