The U.S. Navy is updating its protocol for how pilots and other personnel report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” in response to strange aerial sightings and the need to destigmatize the reporting of them.
"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years," the Navy said in a statement to Politico. "For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.
"As part of this effort, the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities," it added. "A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft."
The new protocol doesn't mean the Navy believes its personnel has seen UFOs, but rather that the strange sightings warrant an investigation and need to be formally documented.
“Right now, we have situation in which UFO (unidentified flying objects)s and UAP (unexplained aerial phenomena)s are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored,” Chris Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official and ex-staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the news site. “We have systems that exclude that information and dump it.”
The military has been criticized in the past for paying little attention to such sightings. The Navy said that it has provided briefings on the matter in response to requests from Congress, but declined to identify who was briefed.