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UFO Sightings Revealed By U.S. Government as UFOs Go Mainstream

Updated on June 11, 2019
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A still image of the UFO incident known as "Gimbal" that was recorded by U.S. Navy Pilots. It was the first video released from the U.S. Military's AATIP UFO investigation program.
A still image of the UFO incident known as "Gimbal" that was recorded by U.S. Navy Pilots. It was the first video released from the U.S. Military's AATIP UFO investigation program. | Source

There appears to be a sea-change going on when it comes to how officialdom deals with the nagging question about whether Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) are something that should be taken seriously or not. In 2007, in response to an effort led by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) set up an obscure program in the Pentagon called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) to investigate UFO sightings by U.S. Military personnel. What makes this program interesting is that some of its findings are no longer secret and some of the findings that have been made public are quite compelling with video evidence to support them.

The military intelligence officer that led the AATIP program for years, Special Agent-In-Charge, Luis Elizondo, left the government in 2017 to join a company called To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science that is comprised of ex-military, ex-intelligence, and ex-industry officials who have made it their mission to investigate and make public evidence of UFOs existence. Before he left his position at the AATIP program, Elizondo started a process that resulted in the release of three video clips of unidentified aircraft that were archived by the DOD. The videos, recorded by U.S. Navy aircraft during training exercises, are known as “Go Fast”, “Gimbal”, and “FLIR1” (also called the “Tic Tac” encounter). They show Navy pilots' encounters with the unidentified aircraft; some of which perform feats that appear to be well beyond the capabilities of currently known aircraft.

Gimbal UFO Incident (Date Unknown): The First Official Government Release of a UFO Encounter

Go Fast UFO Incident (2015): Official Government Release of a UFO Encounter Off East Coast of U.S.

FLIR1 (Tic Tac) UFO Incident (2004): Government Release of UFO Encounter In Pacific Off San Diego

AATIP Is Not The First Program The U.S. Government Set Up To Officially Investigate UFOs

The AATIP program is not the first official U.S. government program tasked with investigating reports of UFO sighting. The U.S. military set up two short-lived investigations into the UFO phenomenon in the late 1940s: project Sign (1947) and project Grudge (1949). After a spate of UFO sightings and a splash of media stories in the summer of 1952, the U.S. Air Force set up a project known as “Project Bluebook” that had the mission of investigating reports of UFO sightings by both civilian and military sources. It found that many reported UFO sightings could be explained as being Earthly objects, cloud formations mistaken as unidentified objects, or simply hoaxes; however, more than 700 sightings could not be adequately explained.

Project Bluebook came to an official end in January 1970 without much fanfare. Afterward, the U.S. government took a position for decades that UFO sightings were not credible enough to be an official concern. It is unknown if government investigations continued after 1970 hidden from public view buried in black budget projects. What is known is that the government quietly started another official investigation into UFO sightings when the AATIP program was founded in 2007.

The U.S. Military's secret AATIP Program was initially revealed to the world in a front page article published in the New York Times on Dec. 16, 2017.
The U.S. Military's secret AATIP Program was initially revealed to the world in a front page article published in the New York Times on Dec. 16, 2017. | Source

How The AATIP Program Was Revealed To The Public

The AATIP program focused on UFO sightings by U.S. military personnel and used an obscure acronym UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) to describe encounters instead of the more widely used and sometimes derided acronym UFO. Its existence was revealed in a story published on the front page of the New York Times in December 2017 that featured statements by Elizondo and pictures from the newly released DOD videos of Navy pilots’ encounters with UFOs. Elizondo said he resigned from his government position due to concerns that not enough was being done to investigate and address the AATIP program’s findings that UFOs were operating in U.S. airspace, opening the country (and the world community) to possible security vulnerabilities.

The AATIP program was shut down in 2012. According to a story that appeared in the New York Post on May 22, 2019, DOD spokesman Christopher Sherwood confirmed that the DOD shut down the AATIP program in 2012. In response to inquiries about whether DOD research into UFO sightings continues to this day, Sherwood acknowledged that the DOD still investigates reports of sightings of unknown aircraft by military personnel. Per the New York Post story, Sherwood said, “The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland. The department will continue to investigate, through normal procedures, reports of unidentified aircraft encountered by U.S. military aviators in order to ensure defense of the homeland and protection against strategic surprise by our nation’s adversaries.”

A major hurdle to overcome is the stigma associated with submitting reports of UFO encounters and a lack of an official reporting procedure. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Navy acknowledged in the spring of 2019 that it is in the process of setting up new guidelines for Navy pilots and other personnel to report sightings of unidentified aircraft. In other words, as far as the U.S. Navy is concerned, they want to collect data about unknown aircraft encounters and sightings. It is unclear if other branches of the military or agencies within the government have plans to implement similar reporting guidelines.

The Revelation of the AATIP Program Received Mainstream Media Attention

Luis Elizondo, who lead the AATIP UFO investigation program being interviewed by CNN.
Luis Elizondo, who lead the AATIP UFO investigation program being interviewed by CNN. | Source

U.S. Navy Prepares New Guidelines During 2019 for Reporting UFO Sightings

Why These New UFO Reports Are More Credible Than Previously Reported Sightings

As a person with a life-long interest in science, I have always had a casual yet skeptical interest in UFOs. Frankly, it doesn’t make any sense for a person to conclude that life on Earth is the only life that exists in the entire Universe. The law of big numbers dictates that there are billions of planets that have the right conditions for life as we know it to exist and evolve. The Hubble telescope has confirmed the existence of potentially Earth-like planets in other solar systems that could sustain life. Whether or not other beings on other planets are advanced enough or even care enough to visit planet Earth is a whole other question.

Since it is reasonable to assume other intelligent life exists in the Universe, it is reasonable to at least seriously consider reported sightings of aircraft in Earth’s atmosphere that display capabilities that are far beyond mankind’s current technological capabilities. My skepticism over the years regarding the topic of UFO reports is that they tended to be from sources that had questionable credibility. Stories can easily be spun and photos, as well as videos, can be manipulated to show just about anything. What is different this time around is the sources are U.S. Navy pilots and radar operators that have a whole lot to lose and nothing to gain by going on record with their reports of UFO encounters and sightings. This, coupled with the official DOD video footage of what the pilots encountered during the events they describe, gives this new set of UFO reports a very high level of credibility. Many in the UFO research community are hailing these reports as a historic event that will forever change the perception of whether UFOs are real or not and should be further investigated in a serious manner.

To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science Role In Disseminating Recent UFO Findings

The recent wave of credible UFO reports is a result of Elizondo’s efforts to publicize reports that came into AATIP while he led the program. Shortly after leaving the DOD, Elizondo joined the To The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (the Academy), which among other artistic and scientific pursuits dedicates much of its efforts to investigating UFO sightings and revealing official government findings regarding UFO sightings. The Academy, which was founded by former Blink-182 lead singer Tom DeLonge, has assembled a team of credible former government officials along with private industry aviation and defense experts.

The Academy's efforts to publicize recent UFO findings so far include the release of information through its website, interviews with the media, and production of a six-episode television series on The History Channel called, “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.” The television series focuses on the U.S. Navy encounters featured in the 2017 New York Times article and includes interviews with the Navy pilots regarding their UFO encounters, DOD video footage of unexplained aircraft as recorded by fighter jet cameras during the encounters, as well as explanations regarding what has been learned about the unknown aerial technology that has been encountered. The series also includes an interview with a former Navy radar operator who explains how he tracked the unknown aircraft as the Navy pilots encountered them.

These latest developments in the long saga regarding UFO sightings and how they are treated in official circles are likely the beginning of a new era of openness about the topic of UFOs that will expand our understanding of the universe and our place in it. As the saying goes… The Truth Is Out There!

To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences Introduction & Mission Overview

Origin of UFOs Poll

What Do You Believe To Be The Origin of UFOs?

See results

MSNBC Interview With Luis Elizondo Who Led The AATIP Program

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 John Coviello

Comments

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    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      3 months ago from New Jersey

      Paula - I'm glad you enjoyed this article about the latest developments regarding UFOs. It's certainly a fascinating topic, especially now that it's no longer just on the fringe and we have video footage from Naval aircraft and pilot testimony to consider.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I really enjoyed this fascinating article, John. This is one of those subject matters I have been curious about but never knew how I really felt, no matter how much I may have read.

      Your article is an excellent presentation with videos and evidence I find quite a bit more validating! Thank you. Paula

    • Rock_nj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Coviello 

      3 months ago from New Jersey

      So have I Randy, but in a casual way. I used to have a roommate that was a Ufologist. He was way into the subject.

      I was always skeptical of the topic of UFOs in a healthy way since a lot of the evidence was spotty and from sources that were at times questionable. These new videos and accounts by Navy pilots are certainly intriguing. Good video evidence and sources. Perhaps we will learn more about these types of sightings in the coming years.

    • Randy Horizon profile image

      Randy Horizon 

      3 months ago from Philadelphia

      Very interesting article. I've always had an interest in these types of unexplained phenomena.

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