Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has recently assumed personal responsibility for the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), the team investigating Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP). Alongside this move, a new website for public reporting of UAP incidents will soon be live. https://www.aaro.mil
Hicks is now conducting weekly meetings with AARO’s first director, Sean Kirkpatrick, who has been reassigned to report directly to her. This move comes as part of a broader initiative to accelerate the development of AARO and fulfill its congressional mandate, which includes the launch of a public website for sharing unclassified findings and for collecting reports from the public on UAP sightings.
In recent conversations, Hicks and Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon provided insights into the near-term plans for AARO and discussed the upcoming launch of a new reporting website. Hicks emphasized that transparency is essential to AARO’s mission. “Transparency is crucial for our work, and I am committed to making our findings accessible to both Congress and the general public, while also safeguarding national defense and intelligence data,” she said.
A Growing Public Interest in UAPs
The U.S. government has shifted from the term UFO to UAP to describe phenomena that could involve vehicles capable of operating underwater or in space. Public interest and congressional attention on the topic have surged in recent years, propelled by multiple authenticated videos showcasing interactions between U.S. military pilots and unidentified objects.
Hicks founded AARO following its official mandate in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. She elaborated on the challenges facing AARO, stating, “The mission is complex. We are striving to integrate scientific, intelligence, and operational efforts to identify and understand UAPs that pose national security concerns.”
Challenges and Future Steps
Despite its importance, AARO has faced criticism for delays, particularly in launching the website intended for public reporting of UAPs. Kirkpatrick acknowledged these delays but also highlighted the progress made, including the completion of the first version of the website last year. He now awaits further direction from senior officials.
Hicks stepped in to provide the oversight needed for faster progress, particularly regarding the website. The new platform is expected to feature updates on AARO’s activities, including declassified information on UAP cases. It will also provide a secure channel for both government affiliates and the public to report UAP sightings.
“In the coming months, we’ll be introducing a secure reporting mechanism, initially aimed at current or former government employees, military personnel, or contractors,” Pahon confirmed.
Hicks remains committed to the transparency and efficacy of AARO. “Our aim is to understand these phenomena better and enhance our capabilities for detection and analysis. This is crucial for both national security and public safety,” she concluded.
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