Pentagon has 'no credible evidence' of aliens or UFOs that defy physics

a still from footage shot by an MQ-9 reaper drone showing an unidentified spherical object soaring through the air
A still from footage shot by a United States MQ-9 reaper drone showing what appears to be an unidentified spherical object soaring through the air. (Image credit: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

The director of the Pentagon's new UFO office shot down hopes that the current buzz over unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) supports claims of extraterrestrial visitation.

Sean M. Kirkpatrick, chosen as the first director of the Pentagon's new All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), testified before members of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services on Wednesday (April 19). The hearing had two portions, one closed to the public and one open. 

During the open portion, Kirkpatrick definitively stated that, out of the hundreds of UAP cases his office has reviewed, "AARO has found no credible evidence thus far of extraterrestrial activity, off-world technology or objects that defy the known laws of physics." The AARO director acknowledged that this conclusion might be "unsatisfying" to those who believe they have witnessed incontrovertible evidence of physics-defying craft or objects. 

Still, Kirkpatrick stressed, UAP cases most often "resolve into readily explainable sources" when there is a wealth of scientific data at hand.

Related: Pentagon releases its long-awaited 2022 UFO report

"I want to underscore today that only a very small percentage of UAP reports display signatures that could reasonably be described as anomalous," Kirkpatrick stated in Wednesday's hearing. "The majority of unidentified objects reported to AARO demonstrate mundane characteristics of balloons, [uncrewed] aerial systems, clutter, natural phenomena or other readily explainable sources."

The AARO director added that if anyone has any evidence of otherworldly visitation or alternative theories, they should submit that evidence for peer review in scientific journals. "AARO is working very hard to do the same," Kirkpatrick stated. "That is how science works, not by blog or social media."

During the opening portion of the hearing, Kirkpatrick shared a video that his office analyzed reportedly showing what appears to be a spherical object that was filmed by an MQ-9 Reaper drone somewhere in the Middle East. In the video, the object appears to soar through the air with no apparent means of propulsion. 

While the footage certainly is captivating, Kirkpatrick stressed that there simply aren't enough data collected to make an accurate assessment of what the spherical object or phenomenon in the video might be. "This is essentially all of the data we have associated with this event from some years ago," Kirkpatrick told the Senate committee. "It is going to be virtually impossible to fully identify that just based off of that video."

A report published in January 2023 by the Pentagon's Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reached similar conclusions about other incidents. Out of the over 500 UFO/UAP cases examined for that report, many of them were found to "lack enough detailed data to enable attribution of UAP with high certainty." 

In fact, 163 were attributed to balloons or "balloon-like entities," a conclusion that took on increased significance after the wild saga of the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by a U.S. military F-22 fighter jet after flying across the country and collecting intelligence along the way. 

Following that incident, the New York Times reported that previous Chinese spy balloons over the U.S. had been misclassified as UFOs.

The term UAP previously stood for "unidentified aerial phenomena;" that was recently changed to "unidentified anomalous phenomena" in order to encompass objects or phenomena that appear in space, in water or even travel between domains.

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Brett Tingley
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Brett is curious about emerging aerospace technologies, alternative launch concepts, military space developments and uncrewed aircraft systems. Brett's work has appeared on Scientific American, The War Zone, Popular Science, the History Channel, Science Discovery and more. Brett has English degrees from Clemson University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his free time, Brett enjoys skywatching throughout the dark skies of the Appalachian mountains.

  • Mergatroid
    Nice to see the AARO has more than a couple of brain cells to work with.
    Everyone has been screaming about these cockpit videos over the last couple of years. Many of them have already been debunked.
    I have no problems believing in aliens. I just don't believe they are here, or ever have been.
    We all know how long it would take to get here at sub-light speeds. It's highly doubtful anyone has visited us.
  • Teh Snork
    Another cover-up from the Pentagon.

    Mod Edit - Language
  • Pogo
    Instead of just making a statement, it would certainly be helpful if they would release to a website a report of each sighting with a rundown of the video or other evidence along with the results of the investigation and explanation. Much like the NTSB does as an accident follow up. So that we, too, can follow the reasoning behind it.
  • billslugg
    Pictures, videos, accounts walk, isotopic analysis talks. Until someone comes up with a piece of physical evidence everything else is just gum flapping and hand shadows
  • murgatroyd
    Robin Hanson thinks it will be a couple of hundred million years before "we" (if we or our "progeny" are still around) encounter an extraterrestrial civilization. He's written a paper giving his reasoning.
    Leaving aside Hanson, Rare Earth is becoming more and more true as astronomers keep discovering how truly inhospitable to life the universe is. Thousands of exoplanets already discovered, but not one good candidate to host life. There is only one ironclad argument guaranteeing that we are not alone in the universe. Namely, if the universe extends beyond the edge of the observable universe forever, i.e., is infinite, then of necessity there will be ETs somewhere else, but not necessarily within our light cone. All the other arguments are appeals to plausibility or simply wishful thinking.

    Many people have written about the supposed fine-tuning of our universe. If any of a number of physical constants had just a slightly different value, the argument goes, our life-hosting universe could not have arisen. Are we really living in the best of all possible worlds, I wonder. Has anyone studied how a universe would have to be constructed to be teeming with life in close proximity to each other? Perhaps we will find out when we build it.
  • Michael A
    Admin said:
    In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 19, the director of the Pentagon's new UFO office shot down hopes that the U.S. government has evidence that aliens have visited Earth.

    Pentagon has 'no credible evidence' of aliens or UFOs that defy physics : Read more

    Senator Kristen gillibrand raised hell at the Pentagon for still blocking evidence being released to Congress and there will be another hearing next week, and she's mad about the pentagon also blocking funds for the investigation
  • Michael A
    Teh Snork said:
    Another cover-up from the Pentagon.
    This is exactly what senator Kristen gillibrand said at the hearing today and there will be another hearing about this next week, the pentagon is still blocking evidence to Congress and also withholding the funds for the investigation again for a second year in a row.
  • Lloyd T
    Michael A said:
    This is exactly what senator Kristen gillibrand said at the hearing today and there will be another hearing about this next week, the pentagon is still blocking evidence to Congress and also withholding the funds for the investigation again for a second year in a row.
    And to think we put these treasonous liars and in office 😞
  • slinging
    Teh Snork said:
    Another cover-up from the Pentagon.

    Mod Edit - Language
    It's always the same there never going to admit that , do people honestly think that we are the only species in the vast emptiness of space the hubble is finding new Galaxies that the scientists haven't found and what about all the documented evidence that has been released well some even Bob pope who worked with the British intelligence said there where unexplained UFO,s out there and these RAF pilots no the difference between balloons and UFO,s the Pentagon will cover up anything nobody tells the truth so I agree with your comment.
  • Unclear Engineer
    Murgatroyd, I would not be giving much credit to Haskins' "model" for the existence of advanced civilizations. It is much to simplified, and does not really have much evidence to support even the parameters that is uses.

    I'll discuss just one issue with the model: there is no reason to believe that the conditions needed for an advanced technological species to develop are uniform in their distribution in a galaxy. Stars that are born within a short period (cosmically speaking) in a cluster and disperse from there may very well have similar chemistry, age, etc, and their dispersion might be the necessary factor in their abilities to avoid life-condemning astrophysical events that come too quickly.

    So, a competing model could be that there are loose "clusters" of stars with planets developing technological species that could discover each other with much higher probability than Haskins predicts, because they are much less isolated from each other than he assumes. And I really do not believe that we have enough real exoplanet knowledge to even know if we are in such a cluster, because our current exoplant search techniques are not yet giving us a true distribution of the properties of all of the exoplanets in our galactic "neighborhood".

    So, as with most models (and modelers), I think Haskins is grossly underestimating the amount of uncertainty in his modeling.

    That said, I do not agree that the Pentagon must be covering-up the presence of extraterrestrial alien species here on Earth. In fact, I doubt that they could succeed in doing such a cover-up if the situation arose and they wanted to cover it up.

    Our problem may actually soon become the opposite, as our technological "progress" provides "deep fake" capabilities to more people with less honesty. It may not be long before somebody can "fake" a Pentagon spokesman stating that the aliens are here and they want us to do .