Earlier this year, the Pentagon released three videos that show unidentified flying objects—yes, UFOs—spotted by military aircraft near U.S. coastlines. Though they’re officially calling them “Unmanned Aerial Systems” (UAS), which essentially translates to drones, the message is clear: nobody knows what they are or where they came from.
This week, two unnamed officials in the U.S. Department of Defense told CNN that the Pentagon is organizing a task force to get to the bottom of the mystery (and other similar sightings). All we know so far is that Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will be one of its leaders, and the Pentagon is supposed to officially reveal the new organization sometime in the next few days.
Hazard reports for the three sightings disclosed that two of the UAS were white, and they were all visually similar to drones. One of the reasons it’s so important to investigate them is that the random appearance of an unpredictable aircraft poses a threat to U.S. military personnel.
“I feel it may only be a matter of time before one of our F/A-18 aircraft has a mid-air collision with an unidentified UAS,” one official explained in the report.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of national security; naturally, the Department of Defense wants to know if other countries are developing new surveillance technology or even weaponry that’s hovering over U.S. soil.
And, finally, everybody wants to know if aliens have finally landed on Earth. This is far from the government’s first endeavor to find out. In 2007, the Pentagon launched its most recent classified program (that we know of) to study UFO activity, which ran until 2012. The details of their investigation are still under wraps, but program head Luis Elizondo told CNN in 2017 that they “found a lot.”
“My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” he said.
While you’re waiting for the Pentagon to debut its shiny new task force, amuse yourself with 12 wild UFO stories from history.