The White House has announced it is putting together a new UFO task force to study the potential security risks posed by new airborne objects detected in US airspace.
The new group, created on orders from national security adviser Jake Sullivan, will see experts from the Pentagon, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies come together to analyze unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) and determine whether they are a threat.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Monday said: ‘Every element of the government will redouble their efforts to understand and mitigate these events,’ adding the task force would examine the ‘broader policy implications’ related to the detection and analysis of UFOs over mainland US.
The announcement came late on Monday, just one day after a US air force F-16 fighter jet shot down a UFO over the Great Lakes – the third unidentified object to be downed in as many days.
On Friday a UFO was shot down close to Deadhorse, Alaska, and on Saturday a second was downed over Yukon, Canada.
US officials are yet to collect and analyze the wreckage and are still unable to determine what the objects were, or where they were from.
A number of Republicans – and some Democrats too – have publicly demanded that the Biden administration provide as much information as possible about the UFOs.
‘People are scared, upset, & are believing crazy things being said on the internet about the 3 objects shot down by our military. There are not aliens & no evidence of them. But there is a lack of transparency from the Biden admin and simple explanations are owed to the people,’ tweeted Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday.
Additionally, Sen. Rand Paul tweeted: ‘As Ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I demand that POTUS and the Department of Defense tell us what they know – and what they don’t – immediately.’
The UFO narrative wasn’t helped by Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of NORAD and US Northern Command, who wouldn’t say aliens were off the table during a briefing Sunday night.
‘I’ll let the intel community and the counterintelligence community figure out [what the UFOs are]. I haven’t ruled out anything,’ VanHerck said.
‘At this point we continue to assess every threat or potential threat, unknown, that approaches North America with an attempt to identify it.’
The object detected Sunday was described by defense officials as an unmanned ‘octagonal structure’ with ‘potential surveillance capabilities’ and strings attached to it.
An F-16 fighter jet shot it down from around 20,000ft over the Great Lakes at 2:42pm – after two other crafts were destroyed over Alaska and Canada on Friday and Saturday.
The UFO shot down over Alaska has not yet been recovered, though analysts said it was about the size of a car.
The one shot down over Canada was shaped like a cylinder, officials said.
A Chinese balloon was shot down on February 4 over South Carolina, meaning the US air force downed four objects in just eight days.
VanHerck said that, unlike the Chinese spy balloon, all three UFOs gunned down over the weekend were of a similar size and speed.
He added that the since the Chinese balloon was found in late January, the US adjusted its radar so it could track slower objects. He explained that this radar adjustment, plus the heightened state of alert following the Chinese balloon, explains the frequency of UFO sightings.
‘With some adjustments, we’ve been able to get a better categorization of radar tracks now,’ he said, ‘and that’s why I think you’re seeing these, plus there’s a heightened alert to look for this information.’
VanMerck said the air force is still unsure how the three objects were staying aloft, as they currently have unknown propulsion systems. He added: ‘We’re calling them objects, not balloons, for a reason.’
Marco Rubio, the Vice Chairman of the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, tweeted: ‘The last 72 hours revealed to the public what was happening for years, unidentified aircraft routinely operating over restricted US airspace.
‘This is why I pushed to take this seriously and created a permanent UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena – equivalent to UFOs) task force two years ago.’
But the White House press secretary and Kirby sought to calm the situation yesterday.
‘I know there have been questions and concerns about this but there is no, again, no indication of aliens or extra terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. Wanted to make sure the American people knew that, all of you knew that,’ Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Kirby meanwhile said the three objects could be innocuous.
‘There could be completely benign and totally explainable reasons for why these objects are flying around up there. Certainly don’t have to be nefarious at all,’ Kirby said.
‘There are corporate entities that operate these kinds of things. There are academic research institutions that do this sort of thing. We just don’t know.’
‘As soon as we can find out, we can get the debris, we can find out, we will absolutely share what we can,’ Kirby added.