Pentagon UFO office finds 'no empirical evidence' for alien technology in new report

a sign in the desert that reads "ufo crash site, ufo museum 114 north main street, roswell"
A sign in Roswell, New Mexico advertising a UFO crash site. (Image credit: Getty Images/David Zaitz)

The Pentagon's UFO office has once again stressed that it has found no evidence of alien technology in the skies, in space or crashed in the American desert.

The All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) was created to help the U.S. government study and resolve reports of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), a new term that includes UFOs not only in the sky but also in space as well as under water, or even those that appear to travel between these domains.

On Friday (March 8), the office released its long-awaited "Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) Volume I." The report is sure to cause controversy among the UAP disclosure movement that argues the U.S. government does, in fact, know a lot more about alleged alien presence than it publicly admits.

"AARO found no evidence that any USG [U.S. government] investigation, academic-sponsored research, or official review panel has confirmed that any sighting of a UAP represented extraterrestrial technology," the report's executive summary notes.

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

While the report notes, importantly, that many UAP reports remain unsolved or unidentified, it adds that AARO believes this is mainly due to a lack of data. If more and/or better quality information were available, many of these sightings could be identified as "ordinary objects or phenomena," AARO's report states.

"The vast majority of reports almost certainly are the result of misidentification and a direct consequence of the lack of domain awareness; there is a direct correlation between the amount and quality of available information on a case with the ability to conclusively resolve it," AARO writes.

NASA's UAP study team reached similar conclusions in its first public report, which was published in September 2023. "The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin, but we don't know what these UAP are," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at the time.

AARO's report goes on to state that, despite widely publicized claims made in a July 2023 congressional hearing that included testimony from former U.S. military and intelligence community personnel, the office found no evidence suggesting the U.S. government is in possession of crashed or reverse-engineered alien technology, nor that any hidden "UAP reverse-engineering programs" actually exist, either in the U.S. government or in private industry.

"AARO determined, based on all information provided to date, that claims involving specific people, known locations, technological tests, and documents allegedly involved in or related to the reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial technology, are inaccurate," the report states. These claims are mostly "the result of circular reporting from a group of individuals who believe this to be the case, despite the lack of any evidence," it adds.

David Grusch, former National Reconnaissance Office representative on the Defense Department's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, testifies during the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs hearing titled "Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena: Implications on National Security, Public Safety, and Government Transparency," in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (Image credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Sean Kirkpatrick, the former head of AARO, published an op-ed in Scientific American on Thursday (March 7) arguing that while it is important for the U.S. government to study UFOs, it needs to do so from a scientific perspective and without resorting to conspiracy theories.

"Many outside observers nonetheless have criticized AARO as supposedly part of a continuing government cover-up of the existence of aliens," Kirkpatrick wrote in the op-ed. "Interestingly, they have not provided any verifiable evidence of this, nor are some of the more outspoken willing to engage with the office to discuss their positions or offer up the data and evidence they claim to possess."

Instead, Kirkpatrick wrote, these critics have relied on secondhand reporting without "rigor in their critical thinking."

The former AARO chief conceded that the report's conclusions are sure to be criticized by those who believe the Pentagon and private aerospace companies possess crashed alien technology that they are hiding from the public, but notes that his former office has given every opportunity for witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward with any evidence they might have. 

"While those who came forward have provided valuable information (albeit not of extraterrestrials or cover-ups), those who chose to instead titillate the national interest only stir division and hatred against the credible men and women of AARO who are working faithfully to address this mission," Kirkpatrick wrote in the op-ed.

However, according to some accounts, many U.S. government or military personnel who refused to share their eyewitness testimony with AARO. 

"This report is not going to satisfy critics in part because there are many witnesses who did not trust AARO and would not speak with them," says Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in the Clinton and Bush administrations. 

"However, what I find most concerning is the false conflation in some news coverage of the assertion 'There is no recovered alien technology' with the notion that 'we don't have evidence of craft doing things beyond our present understanding of science and technology,'" Mellon told via email. "In fact, hundreds of credible military reports remain unexplained and are continuing to pour in."

Mellon added that "the public needs to understand why it is imperative to continue to aggressively investigating UAP, for both national security and science, regardless of the accuracy of this report."

A guard gate at the Nevada Test and Training Range that includes the Area 51 test facility near Rachel, Nevada. (Image credit: Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images)

AARO's new report goes on to list U.S. military and space programs that could have accounted for some UAP sightings.  At least "some portion of these misidentifications almost certainly were a result of the surge in new technologies that observers would have understandably reported as UFOs," the report states.

Some of the examples include Project Mogul, a high-altitude balloon program designed to spy on Soviet nuclear tests that reportedly was responsible for a balloon crash outside of Roswell, New Mexico. That incident led to the widely known story of a crashed flying saucer that persists to this day.

Another example is the Gambit project, which launched photographic spy satellites into orbit that jettisoned film canisters in reentry vehicles that were then recovered by U.S. Air Force (USAF) aircraft as they descended by parachute. Many of the USAF's formerly classified aircraft are also cited, including the U-2 spy plane, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the SR-71 Blackbird.

The AARO report points out that UAP sightings and beliefs that UFOs represent alien technology have tended to spike at times of growing concern about national security and technological surprise, such as during the Cold War. The report found that at least some UFO sightings since the 1940s represent "never-before-seen experimental and operational space, rocket and air systems, including stealth technologies and the proliferation of drone platforms."

It could be that such a phenomenon is also occurring today, as revolutionary new spaceflight and aerospace technologies are being developed and tested at a rapid pace. 

"It is understandable how observers unfamiliar with these programs could mistake sightings of these new technologies as something extraordinary, even other-worldly," the report concludes.

Update: This article was updated at 3:30 p.m. ET on March 8 to include comments from former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon.

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Brett Tingley
Managing Editor,

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.

  • Manix
    Two things to point out. The first is that ANYTHING related to the government, should not be believed. They lie constantly to their people, why would anyone think a topic this sensitive would be any different? The second point is cases go WAY further than before the technology this report talks about even existed. Another point, related to the first is that videos and reports were leaked out; this is the government's attempt to be "transparent" but a way to cover up once more and cover their asses for being exposed. Whether there is anything or not, these are the facts that make it hard for this report to be taken seriously and that it is an honest, transparent report.
  • JerryC
    Perhaps the article summary is missing key points of the report, but if this panel of self proclaimed experts cannot find solid evidence in light of so much eye witness testimony, then assert that 'there's nothing out there' -- they need to be sacked and replaced immediately. An investigation into the committee may reveal deep corruption, and probable a religious bias if not involvement in higher level coverups.