The Defense Department is standing up a new organization to investigate unexplained aerial phenomena, particularly where it potentially affects military activities, the DOD announced July 20. The move was directed by Congress.
The new organization is the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, which replaces the Airborne Object Identification and Management Group. AARO will report to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, Ronald S. Moultrie. The AARO itself will be under the direction of Sean M. Kirkpatrick, most recently chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s missile and space intelligence center.
The organization is mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, which contained language directing the Pentagon to create a formal organization to routinely investigate UAP as they affect defense activities. It was spurred by hearings wherein the Pentagon was unable to explain video obtained from Navy F/A-18s, ships, and other units of unknown flying objects that came close to U.S. military platforms and activities.
Defense witnesses speculated at the time that UAPs could be adversary nation systems unknown to the U.S., or something else. The Pentagon has avoided characterizing UAPs as extraterrestrial in nature, but has acknowledged such a possibility, as the services do not think the performance of the objects observed to be within the technological capabilities of China, Russia, or other nations.
“The mission of the AARO will be 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 or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special-use airspace, and other areas of interest,” the Pentagon said.
The AARO will also, “as necessary … mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security. This includes anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged and trans-medium objects.”
The new organization is also to coordinate its activities with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The new organization’s “main lines of effort” include:
- Surveillance, collection, and reporting of UAP-related activity.
- Identify UAP system capabilities and their design.
- Conduct intelligence operations and analysis of UAPs.
- Mitigate and “defeat” UAPs.
- Provide governance for UAP-related activities.
- Obtain science and technology of unknown systems.