Congress recently held a hearing on UFOs or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and charged the Pentagon with managing UAP sightings. In true military fashion, the Department of Defense (DOD) set up the new UAP sighting management office and gave it a name that only an acronym hall-of-famer could love. It was called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Group or AOIMG. Naturally, there were snickers, if not polite guffaws, for such a name. In layman’s parlance, it’s the Pentagon UFO office.
That name had to go, and it did. But AOIMG at least gave the audience some notion as to what the purpose of the office was. Now, the official name is even more abstract. The AOIMG, whose mission is to identify unidentified aerial phenomena, will assume a more extensive portfolio and be called the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO. It’s definitely fuzzier and more open to interpretation.
However, there is an element of operations security inherent in the new name. It is not likely someone bent on using sightings information gathered by the new UFO office for ill toward the United States would know what was happening inside by the placard on the door. Furthermore, the name is abstract enough for members of the organization to expand the mission to include a lot of stuff and still fall into the “all-domain anomaly” category. Why not call the group the “UAP Analysis Program Office” or UAP Office. Simple. Everyone would know to look for the office under the letter “U” in the phone listing and know what it does.
Nonetheless, a DOD press release explained the AARO would have a mission essentially the same as the AOIMG, which is to:
“…synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense, and with other U.S. federal departments and agencies, to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in, on or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security.”
Additionally, the office will include strangely occurring, or “anomalous, space, airborne, submerged, and transmedium objects,” according to a Defense Department July 20 press release. The DOD information sheet did not expand on precisely what “transmedium objects” are. A good guess would be objects transitioning from water, flying through the atmosphere, and into space. So, transgender fortune tellers are probably not included.
UFO Office Attracting Interest
The Pentagon’s greater enthusiasm toward identifying and understanding UAP stems from Congress’ increasing interest in the subject. As Defense News explained, during a congressional hearing earlier this year, “lawmakers questioned Pentagon officials for more information about sightings of UFOs, with many lawmakers voicing criticism about a lack of transparency surrounding the issue.” As a result, the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act mandated more frequent reporting on the operations and findings of the AOIMG, now AARO, hopefully resulting in greater transparency and more detailed public information on UAP sightings.
To that end, responsibility for the AARO will remain with the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. However, for the day-to-day management of AARO operations, Dr. Sean M. Kirkpatrick has been named the UFO office director. Kirkpatrick has a PH.D. in physics and “brings over two decades of experience and a significant depth of expertise in scientific and technical intelligence and space policy…specializing in space/counterspace mission area,” according to the new director’s official biography. Kirkpatrick’s impressive credentials will certainly prompt an expectation of seriousness from the new entity.
As the number of sightings of objects with unknown advanced aeronautical performance characteristics increases, understanding what they are and if they are benign or hostile is a national security imperative. Furthermore, greater transparency from the new AARO will go a long way to disabuse conspiracy theorists’ and X-Files reruns aficionados’ fantastical speculations. An open kimono approach by the new office will also address critics’ concerns who maintain that the Pentagon is simply engaged in a “power grab” to control UAP information. What is encouraging is that Congress and the Pentagon are aligned on the issue of UAP.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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