In brief: The Department of Defense is asking current and former US employees, military personnel, or contractors to report any knowledge of official government projects involving UAPs (formerly UFOs) or alien activity to its All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) website. The Pentagon launched the site in September, but the reporting functionality was still in the works.
On Halloween, AARO Director Sean Kirkpatrick held an off-camera press conference announcing that the AARO was ready to take first-hand reports of UAP activity and related programs from government personnel. The reporting apparatus is already available on the newly formed AARO website.
"Apparently, we have a bit of humor in our PA group by having a UAP briefing on Halloween," said Dr. Kirkpatrick. "Today, per Section 1673 of the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, AARO launched the second phase of our secure reporting mechanism on the aaro.mil website."
The director said they want only first-hand knowledge. He also stressed that it is not a whistleblowing platform and classified information should not be relayed. The online form is user-friendly, guiding the informant through the process and checking for eligibility requirements. Personnel will review submissions by hand and follow up with respondents when necessary. Personal information will remain confidential and viewable only by AARO staff.
Kirkpatrick stressed that the form is only intended for government personnel with direct knowledge of alleged UAP programs but acknowledged that many civilians might be interested in reporting their own direct UFO-related experiences. The AARO may implement such functionality in the next phase of the project.
"We understand that members of the public are also interested in reporting UAP sightings to AARO," said Kirkpatrick. "We are exploring methods for how the public can do so in the forthcoming third phase of the secure reporting mechanism, but I don't have anything to announce about that today."
The purpose of the reporting form is to compile a historical record of alleged US UAP/alien programs dating back to 1945. The AARO will hand this report to Congress by June 2024 for review. It is unclear if the information will ever reach the public.
Although the form on the website does not collect classified information, the AARO is cleared and authorized to accept secret information at all levels during subsequent interviews with respondents.
"By law, AARO can receive all UAP-related information, including any classified national security information involving military intelligence or intelligence-related activities at all levels of classification, regardless of any restrictive access controls, special access programs, or compartmented access programs," the director said.
The Biden administration formed the AARO in July 2022 to collect and review UFO reports dating back decades. It arose from necessity after Congress began its probe into the subject and uncovered a DoD report on UAP activity in 2021. After that, more than 400 Naval pilots came forward with first-hand accounts of UFO experiences. The AARO website intends to catalog these and other reports.