The Department of Defense has launched a new online tool allowing government workers to submit reports detailing any "government programs or activities" relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena dating back to 1945.
The tool is hosted on the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office's (AARO) website, which went live in August after it was established under 2022's defence authorisation act, according to CBS News.
While UAP is often treated as a synonym for "UFO," AARO's website states that it considers "anomalous phenomena" to include "sources of anomalous detections in one or more domains (i.e., airborne, seaborne, spaceborne, and/or transmedium) that are not yet attributable to known actors and that demonstrate behaviours that are not readily understood by sensors or observers."
While a UAP does not necessarily mean "alien spacecraft" — for example, an unknown drone or spy balloon from a foreign country could be considered UAP — it would include any alleged extraterrestrial sightings under its definition.
The tool is currently only available for current and former government workers, whether they be members of federal agencies or contractors, AARO Director Sean Kirkpatrick said a civilian reporting system is being considered.
"We are exploring methods for how the public can do so in the forthcoming third phase of the secure reporting mechanism," he told CBS News.
The tool is not just a way for government workers to report strange sightings; it is intended to collect reports of “government programs or activities” related to UAP. The tool is likely a response to some lawmakers’ concerns that government agencies are aware of or involved in work related to UAPs without the knowledge of Congress or the American public.
“We need to tell the folks at the Pentagon, they work for us, that government, we don’t work for them. And that’s exactly the point. This is an issue of government transparency. We can’t trust a government that does not trust its people,” Republican Congressman Tim Burchett said during a congressional hearing on UAPs earlier this year.
Since the new tool accepts reports as far back as 1945, it could receive details on perhaps the most famous UFO incident in history — the Roswell crash of 1947.
Mr Kirkpatrick said he welcomed reports from current and former government workers.
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to strongly encourage any current or former U.S. government employees, military or civilian, or contractors who believe that they have firsthand knowledge of a U.S. government UAP program or activity to please come forward using this new secure reporting mechanism,” Mr Kirkpatrick said in a DOD transcript. “We want to hear from you.”
Information submitted will be "protected and confidential" and will only be shared with his staff "for the purposes of contacting people for interviews."
The new tool will be separate from existing reporting systems, like those maintained by the FAA to catalogue and investigate pilots' unusual sightings.
“Operational reporting is different,” he said. “That is, pilots flying around, and he sees something in his airspace and he needs to report it. That goes through operational channels.”
Mr Kirkpatrick said the form is intended to allow whistleblowers "and anyone that wants to come forward ... present their case and make their statement, for the record."
The director said his office was currently working to declassify some previously unseen information, which includes "operational videos" and "historical documents" which the department is "about to release in the coming days and weeks."
The tool's creation comes on the heels of a congressional hearing during which former US intelligence official David Grusch testified that he was aware of a "multidecade" Pentagon program to recover crashed UAP. He further testified that the US government had recovered "nonhuman biologics" from UAP crash sites and insinuated that people had been murdered to cover up the information.
The former intelligence official said he preferred to use the term "nonhuman" rather than alien or extraterrestrial, and was asked during his testimony about "multidimensionality" origins for the unidentified craft — the idea that rather than UAP being alien in origin, they are actually visiting from other dimensions of reality — and said he was aware of the theories associated with multidimensionality, but noted that they were only theoretical.
Mr Grusch did not provide evidence for his claims, instead insisting he give lawmakers specific details in a secured environment, outside of the view of the public. Many of his claims were attributed to people he had spoken with, rather than first hand knowledge.
It is unclear if any secured meetings with lawmakers ever occurred. At least three lawmakers present at the hearing — Representative Matt Gaetz, Nancy Mace, and Mr Burchett, three of the eight lawmakers who voted to oust Congressman Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House — appeared to take Mr Grusch's claims as true.
A Pentagon spokesperson denied any knowledge of Mr Grusch's claims, saying the agency "has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently."