New U.S. navy guidelines for reporting UFOs, findings to be kept secret
Published Wednesday, May 8, 2019 1:56PM EDT
The U.S. navy is updating its procedure for pilots to report unauthorized and unidentified flying objects, the U.S. navy's chief of Information told CTVNews.ca in an email that didn’t provide a precise timeline, but stressed the changes would be coming soon.
But don’t expect any imminent revelations about “X-Files”-level secrets.
Lt. Andriana Genualdi said pilots’ reports may involve classified information on military operations, so the navy doesn’t intend on making the reports available to the general public.
“Military and civilian aviation have always had channels for reporting airspace violations and hazards to aviation safety authorities,” she said. “However, [the navy] recognized that more specific guidelines were needed in order to bring consistency to the reporting.”
Genualdi told CTVNews.ca that the goal is less about documenting extraterrestrial spacecraft than it is about tracking unauthorized aircraft flying in U.S. airspace.
By standardizing how such incidents are reported, the U.S. navy is hoping to simplify analyzing and tracking them.
The military is also aiming to destroy the stigma of navy pilots reporting UFOs which could, in turn, encourage more reporting of incursions by military aircraft from such countries as Russia or China.
Additionally, as the use of civilian drones has grown more popular, Genualdi said the threat to the safety of pilots has grown too.
She said this update in reporting procedure is the U.S. navy being proactive in dealing with an “increasingly complex airspace.”
Updated procedures for reporting will be incorporated into aircrew training, she said, adding each incident will be “investigated in its own right.”
As for the secrecy of these reports, Genualdi stressed that the military considers the “reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information.”
She didn’t expect the information to be released publicly for two reasons: firstly, that they want aircrew to be forthright in reporting what they see, and secondly because the reports may involve classified information on military or intelligence community operations.
The change comes two years after The New York Times reported on a classified, five-year, US$22-million program developed by the Pentagon to study strange aeronautical events.
The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program officially ended in 2012, but the Times reported that the program actually continued operating.
Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence told Live Science that the U.S. navy is now keen to appear accountable.
“It will make everybody happy because it sounds like a move toward transparency," Shostak said.