A spokesperson from the Department of Defense said in a statement that the Pentagon has been investigating reports of UFO phenomena, and continues to do so today.
A statement provided to the New York Post by Department of Defense spokesperson Christopher Sherwood allegedly confirmed the existence of a previously secret government initiative called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.
The statement claimed that it was established to “pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena.” The AATIP was shut down in 2012, according to the DOD, but Sherwood claims that the Pentagon is still very much involved with investigation of UFO reports.
“The department will continue to investigate, through normal procedures, reports of unidentified aircraft encountered by US military aviators in order to ensure defense of the homeland and protection against strategic surprise by our nation’s adversaries,” he said.
An author and former UFO investigator for the British Government, Nick Pope, referred to Sherwood’s statement as a “bombshell revelation,” the Post reports. “Previous official statements were ambiguous and left the door open to the possibility that AATIP was simply concerned with next-generation aviation threats from aircraft, missiles and drones,” Pope commented.
Pope also explained that the term used by the Pentagon to characterize UFOs is “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” which was implemented to deliberately differentiate from the cultural connotations surrounding “UFO.” “It also shows the British influence, because UAP was the term we used in the Ministry of Defense to get away from the pop culture baggage that came with the term ‘UFO,’” he said.
The existence of the AATIP was first established in 2017. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the New York Times that he was responsible for procuring $22 million in annual funding for the AATIP, saying that it was “one of the good things I did in my congressional service.”