19:30 GMT16 May 2021
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    Last year, the Pentagon launched a special task force "to detect, analyse, and catalogue" Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) that "could potentially pose a threat to US national security".

    The Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General (IG) has launched a formal evaluation into the US Department of Defence (DoD)'s actions related to UFOs, also referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) or Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs).

    In a memorandum released on Monday, Randolph Stone, assistant inspector general for Evaluations on Space, Intelligence, Engineering and Oversight, said that the evaluation is due to kick off in May 2021 and that the goal is "to determine the extent to which the DoD has taken actions regarding" UAPs.

    "We may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds, and we will consider suggestions from management for additional or revised objectives", he added.

    Stone also pointed out that the evaluation would be performed "at the Offices of the Secretary of Defence, Military Services, Combatant Commands, Combat Support Agencies, Defence Agencies, and the Military Criminal Investigative Organisations".

    The Pentagon has not commented on the matter yet, but Politico quoted Christopher Mellon, former deputy assistant secretary of defence for intelligence, as calling an IG probe a positive step to prod the American military to take UAP-related issues more seriously.

    "You are looking at how is it possible that restricted military airspace is being routinely violated for months and years and nobody is informed in the Defence Department or the Congress and there is a complete system breakdown. That's a valid thing for them to investigate", Mellon argued.

    US Gov’t 'Has Acknowledged the Reality' of UFOs, Ex-DoD Official Says

    The IG evaluation was announced after Luis Elizondo, former head of the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Programme, told the New York Post in late April that a soon-to-be-released DoD report on UAPs comes at a time when "the [US] government has acknowledged the reality" of UFOs.

    "I think they all want answers and I think they are all willing to ask the hard questions", he added.

    Elizondo also argued that senior US national security officials had been unwilling to release more UAP-related information to the public because "they felt that it made them look inept". According to him, "they felt in some cases that it challenged their philosophical and theological belief systems […]", and "they just couldn't process it".

    The remarks followed US media reports claiming that the Pentagon-confirmed imagery featuring "pyramid-shaped" UFOs, as well as other such objects resembling a "sphere" and an "acorn", will be deciphered as part of the DoD's "ongoing investigations" into UAPs.

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    The sightings include an 18-second video of what looks like three "pyramid-shaped" craft hovering over the USS Russell in July 2019 as well as images of three other mysterious objects, one of which was reportedly shared online last year.

    DoD spokesperson Susan Gough said that she "can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by [US] Navy personnel".

    In August 2020, the Pentagon launched a special task force to further look into UAPs under Deputy Secretary of Defence David Norquist. The DoD emphasised at the time that they "take any incursions by unauthorised aircraft into our [Pentagon] training ranges or designated airspace very seriously", pledging to "examine each [such] report".

    According to the US National UFO Reporting Centre, there were 46 UAP sightings in New York City alone in 2020, compared to the 35 tracked there the previous year. Notably, the figure marked a 283% spike versus 2018, when just a dozen UFOs were spotted.

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