RAND researchers urge US to develop public reporting system for UAP sightings 

Credit: US Navy

In a newly published research paper, the RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) has urged the US authorities to consider developing a system for public reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), in order to minimize hoaxes and incidents of misidentified objects. 

After the House Oversight Committee met on July 26, 2023, to hear the testimony from several military veterans about the secretive stance maintained by the US government regarding UAP, also known as UFOs, interest in this phenomenon has rocketed. 

Google searches for the term ‘UFO’ increased 4.88 times in the US and 5.25 times globally. 

While congressional testimony about the ‘non-human biologics’ found at the UAP crash site might have sparked a revival in ufology, the RAND report’s lead author, Marek Posard, is more concerned about the potential abuse of emerging airborne technology by humans than about extraterrestrial threats. 

“UAPs are an area of rising concern,” he wrote in an article published in The Hill media outlet. “Like all countries, however, the US has finite resources to monitor everything flying in its vast airspace every second of the day.” 

For instance, the Chinese spy balloon incident in early 2023 raised important concerns about the ability of the US to detect airborne threats. 

Posard, along with colleagues from RAND Ashley Gromis and Mary Lee, analyzed over 101,151 public reports of UAP sightings across 12,783 US Census Bureau designated places. 

During the research, they found that UAP sightings were more likely to occur within 30 kilometers of military operations areas, where routine training occurs. This suggests that some of the sightings could be attributed to authorized aircraft, which civilians may mistake for UAP due to a lack of awareness about military activities in their vicinity. 

Published research report recommends that US government authorities conduct outreach with civilians located near military operations areas, and additional outreach to notify nearby civilians when there is Air Force activity in their area, to reduce the likelihood of misidentifications.  

Accurate public reporting of UAP threads in the future could be crucial, as airborne technology worldwide is becoming increasingly advanced.  

As a result, the report calls for the design of a detailed and robust system for public reporting of UAP sightings. Such a system would leverage various technologies, location types, sighting features and validation criteria to minimize hoaxes. 

“There are a lot of suspicious things that could potentially be flying in the sky, and they’re very real threats,” Posard said in an interview with Governing. “Having a system in place where people can report those sooner rather than later can be quite useful, but it’s not helpful if people are cooking up conspiracies or stories that are not rooted in fact.” 

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