Pentagon UFO report finds no signs of alien life

A Pentagon study released Friday that examined reported sightings of UFOs over nearly the last century found no evidence of aliens or extraterrestrial intelligence.

The Defense Department's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office released a report detailing its review of nearly 80 years of reports on government offices and special access programs related to unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAP – a new term for what was once referred to as unidentified flying objects. 

"Of all the reports that AARO investigated and analyzed, none represent extraterrestrial or off-world technology," the report, published on March 6, said. "A small percentage of cases have potentially anomalous characteristics or concerning characteristics. AARO has kept Congress fully and currently informed of its findings." 

The team assessed that some portion of sightings since the 1940s represented misidentification of never-before-seen experimental and operational space, rocket, and air systems, including stealth technologies and the proliferation of drone platforms. 

Pentagon UAP report finds no aliens

AARO's work also involved investigating claims that there were secret or hidden U.S. government programs related to UAP that might not have been reported to Congress. The AARO team looked into those claims to verify if such programs existed. 

A representation of a UFO or Unidentified Flying Object. (Credit: Alfred Gescheidt/Getty Images)

"AARO assesses that alleged, hidden UAP programs either do not exist or were misidentified, authentic national security programs unrelated to extraterrestrial technology exploitation," AARO acting Director Tim Phillips said during a Wednesday briefing at the Pentagon.

Also, part of the report were assessments of claims made by about 30 individuals AARO interviewed, including former and current U.S. government employees who were allegedly involved in such programs or heard stories about those programs and subsequently misinterpreted what they saw or heard. 

"I wish to emphasize that we believe most of the individuals repeating these claims did so without malice or any effort to mislead the public," Phillips said. "Many have sincerely misinterpreted real events or mistaken sensitive U.S. programs, for which they were not cleared, as having been related to UAP or extraterrestrial exploitation." 

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The report said the efforts and reviews concluded that the vast majority of UAP reports could be resolved as "any number of ordinary objects, natural phenomena, optical illusions or misidentifications."

In 2022, the Department of Defense established the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), tasked with investigating mysterious flying objects that had been reported over various restricted military airspace over the last several decades.

Lawmakers directed AARO to produce the report as part of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. Friday’s report is the first volume of AARO's findings and covers a period from 1945 through October 2023. A second volume, which will be released later this year, will cover findings from interviews and research completed between November 2023 and April 2024.

U.S. officials have endeavored to find answers to legions of reported UFO sightings over the years, but so far have not identified any actual evidence of extraterrestrial life. A 2021 government report that reviewed 144 sightings of aircraft or other devices allegedly flying at mysterious speeds or trajectories found no extraterrestrial links but drew few other conclusions and called for better data collection.

The issue received fresh attention again last summer when a retired Air Force intelligence officer testified to Congress that the U.S. was concealing a longstanding program that retrieves and reverse engineers unidentified flying objects. The Pentagon has denied his claims, and said in late 2022 that a new Pentagon office set up to track reports of unidentified flying objects — the same one that released Friday's report — had received "several hundreds" of new reports but had found no evidence so far of alien life.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.