Department of Defense Renames UFO-Tracking Office

As government officials look to get a handle on the accurate reporting and response to UAP—or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, the new term for the classic UFO—the Department of Defense has launched a new office to help track those reportings. Wednesday, Pentagon officials announced the establishment of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO. The AARO will replace the Airborne Object Identification and Management Group in an attempt to keep broader reports, including the monitoring of unidentified crafts and objects that also appear underwater.

"The mission of the AARO will be to synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense, and with other U.S. federal departments and agencies, to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in, on or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security. This includes anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged and transmedium objects," Defense officials offered in a press release.

The AARO will be helmed by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie, and will be responsible for: surveillance, collection, and reporting of UAP, system capabilities and design, intelligence operations and analysis, mitigation and defeat, governance, and science and technology. 

"It is vital to our national security and the safety of our military personnel that we maintain awareness of anomalous objects in all domains," Moultrie offered in a memo to Pentagon staff.

He added, "We must also keep pace with the development and employment of novel technology by our adversaries. In doing so, we are committed to providing maximum transparency while safeguarding classified information and controlled unclassified information. The establishment of the AARO is a significant step forward in developing the capabilities and processes that are necessary to achieve these goals."

The office was formed as a response to increased funding in Congress' annual defense budget.

"We must ensure the military and intelligence community are armed with the best possible information, capital, and scientific resources to defeat our enemies and maintain military and technology superiority," Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said in a statement about the funding.

He continued, "This amendment will play an important role in furthering Congress' ability to fact gather and further prove or disprove the origin and threat nature of whatever seems to be flying in our skies."