The Pentagon has announced the establishment of a task force to review "unexplained aerial phenomena," or UFOs, that have been observed by the U.S. military, according to a Pentagon statement.
The move continues an effort begun in recent years to investigate incidents in which the U.S. military has encountered such phenomena, including those captured on Navy fighter videos that the Pentagon declassified in April.
The new Defense Department task force will investigate incidents of unexplained aerial phenomena encountered by the U.S. military, whether it be by pilots or other means.
"On Aug. 4, 2020, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF)," said the Pentagon statement.
"The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs, it continued. "The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security."
"As DOD has stated previously, the safety of our personnel and the security of our operations are of paramount concern," said the statement. "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."
Since 2018, a Navy task force has been informally investigating UFO incidents involving its pilots as well as personnel of other military services and has coordinated information with U.S. intelligence agencies.
The new UAP task force will be run by the Navy and report to the under secretary of defense for intelligence, formalizing the work that it has been doing in recent years, said a U.S. official.
Another U.S. official said that the task force is intended to be a long-term effort as UFO incidents arise in the future.
CNN was first to report the details of the new Pentagon task force.
The task force’s work will remain classified, though that could change if the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s proposal for an unclassified report on UFOs is adopted by the full Senate and House of Representatives.
In April, the Defense Department declassified three previously leaked videos recorded by Navy fighter aircraft in 2004 and 2015 that showed "unexplained aerial phenomena" flying at high speed off the coast of California.
The release of the videos sparked renewed interest in UFOs and what else the U.S. military may know about similar incidents.