Further use of emerging technologies marks the path forward for the intelligence community to uncover more compelling evidence of unidentified flying objects (UFO), and to learn more about their meaning and intent, former Federal government officials said at NextGov’s technology summit on August 17.

Lue Elizondo, former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (ATTIP) at the Department of Defense (DoD), explained that gathering hard data from a variety of sensors has provided a crucial bridge in the government’s approach to studying UFOs – also referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).

In addition to eyewitness UFO/UAP testimony, Elizondo said, Federal government personnel can utilize ground-based sensors, sea-based sensors, airborne sensors, and now space-based sensors to provide compelling reports to Congress on the issue.

“On top of eyewitness testimonies from trained observers, we have data from sensors as another layer of information that is all corroborating the same information at the same time and place under the same circumstances. That is very compelling,” said Elizondo.

A recent preliminary assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena reported that 80 out of 144 sight reports involved observation with multiple sensors that captured enough real data to allow initial assessments.

While Federal agencies have compiled enough data to present compelling evidence of UAPs, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at the August 17 event that the government must continue working on the most important questions – what are UAPs, and what do they represent.

According to Reid, it would be negligent – and even become legislative malpractice – if the Federal government does not go further to find out more about UAPs.  That’s mainly because UAPs are a matter of national security concern.

“We have evidence of these multiple sightings. But I think it’s essential that we continue trying to find out what these things are,” said Reid.

For a subject once relegated mainly to the province of science fiction, the Federal government has come a long way in recent months in acknowledging the validity of UAP sighting data. And a June 2020 vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee requires U.S. intelligence agencies and the DoD to compile an unclassified report covering all data collected on UAPS.

Elizondo explained that transparency on the issue by the Federal government – not just within the classified space but also with the public – is vital because democracy cannot work for the interests of the American people if the government is not truthful, especially with national security concerns.

“There’s someone, somewhere with some technology that can come in unimpeded any time they want to at will and undetected over our sensitive facilities,” Elizondo said of UAPs. “That’s a problem.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.