KEY POINTS

  • A Pentagon watchdog will look into how the Department of Defense has addressed unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP)
  • This comes after a string of UFO sightings reported by military aircraft
  • The Pentagon is set to release a detailed report about UFOs later this year

The Department of Defense's watchdog will be investigating how the Pentagon has addressed reports of UFO sightings over the years.

Navy personnel were able to take photos and videos of UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), in 2019 — an event whose authenticity was only recently confirmed by the Pentagon. In a Monday memo to military and intelligence leaders, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) expressed its intent to investigate the Pentagon's protocol when it comes to the reports it has received regarding UAPs, CNN reported.

"The objective of this evaluation is to determine the extent to which the DoD has taken actions regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)," wrote Randolph Stone, assistant inspector general for evaluations on space, intelligence, engineering and oversight.

"The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing," the statement continued.

The decision to investigate comes after a string of UFO sightings in recent years that have been spotted by military aircraft.

Just last month, the Defense Department confirmed the authenticity of circulating photos and videos taken by Navy personnel of three triangle-shaped objects blinking and moving across the sky, CNN previously reported.

Sue Gough, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, also said that the photos taken by Navy personnel of three UFOs -- reportedly shaped like an acorn, a sphere and a metallic blimp -- are legitimate.

To investigate the rising number of UFO sightings by military aircraft, the department formed a task force last year that is designed to look into UAPs. The Pentagon is expected to release a detailed report about UFOs by June. 

John Ratcliffe, former director of the National Intelligence, said in a March interview that the upcoming report will detail "difficult to explain" UFO sightings and will outline "a lot more sightings than have been made public."

"There are instances where we don’t have good explanations for some of the things that we’ve seen, and when that information becomes declassified, I’ll be able to talk a little bit more about that," Ratcliffe said.

In an interview with Fox News, the former director explained what the Pentagon considers to be UAPs.

"When we’re talking about sightings, we’re talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots that have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain," Ratcliffe said.

"Movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for, or traveling at speeds that, you know, exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom," he continued.

The Pentagon is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to revive US industrial capacity during the coronavirus outbreak The Pentagon is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to revive US industrial capacity during the coronavirus outbreak Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB