The Pentagon hopes to deploy what it calls “Gremlin systems” to collect information about phenomena formerly known as Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs.

The All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, is developing the deployable, configurable sensor suites to collect information when unidentified objects in the air, water, and space, appear near national security sites or critical infrastructure, said Tim Phillips, AARO’s acting director.

“If we have a national security site, and there are objects being reported within restricted airspace, or within a maritime range, or in the proximity of one of our spaceships – we need to understand what that is,” Phillips told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s why we are developing sensor capability that we can deploy in reaction to reporting.”

Ultimately, AARO plans to tell the Department of Defense that it will be able to deploy the Gremlin system when Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, or UAPs, are reported, Phillips said. 

“Since the UAP target, the signature is not clearly defined, we really have to do hyperspectral surveillance to try to capture these incidents,” Phillips said.

Phillips spoke with a group of reporters ahead of AARO’s release of its first volume of a congressionally directed report on the history of U.S. government programs dealing with UAPs.

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The report found that none of the UAP sightings investigated represented evidence of extraterrestrial technology. Nor did AARO find any evidence to support claims that the U.S. government or private companies have been reverse-engineering extraterrestrial technology.

“AARO assesses that all of the named and described alleged hidden UAP reverse-engineering programs provided by interviewees either do not exist; are misidentified authentic, highly sensitive national security programs that are not related to extraterrestrial technology exploitation; or resolve to an unwarranted and disestablished program,” according to an unclassified version of the report, which was released on Friday.

UFO flying in the sky, illustration. (AP)
UFO flying in the sky, illustration. (AP)

Some lawmakers have expressed concern that sightings of unidentified aircraft could indicate that adversaries such as China or Russia have developed technology that far exceeds anything the United States possesses.

But when he was asked at Wednesday’s briefing if AARO had found any evidence of such breakthrough technology, Phillips said he was unable to answer the question.

Regarding the Gremlin systems, Phillips said AARO has been developing the sensor suites since last year.

He did not specify how large these devices are other than they are meant to fit inside a Pelican Case, a hard plastic suitcase often used to transport electronics and firearms.

Currently, the Gremlin system is being tested in Texas to see how well it can detect unmanned aerial systems, or drones, Phillips said. The system has also detected “a lot of bats and birds,” he said.

“We’re learning a lot about solar flaring,” Phillips said. “We’re really starting to understand what’s in orbit around our planet and how we can eliminate those as anomalous objects.”

It is possible that AARO could deploy Gremlin systems to national security sites and other locations ahead of UAP sightings so the surveillance suites can monitor the phenomena in real time, Phillips said.

No evidence of aliens

One of the key findings of AARO’s report to Congress is that it found no evidence of a secret program to keep the existence of extraterrestrial visits to Earth a secret from the American public.

“Although many UAP reports remain unsolved or unidentified, AARO assesses that if more and better quality data were available, most of these cases also could be identified and resolved as ordinary objects or phenomena,” the report says. “Sensors and visual observations are imperfect; the vast majority of cases lack actionable data or the data available is limited or of poor quality.”

However, the report does disclose there was a proposal for “Kona Blue:” Under which the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, would conduct paranormal research and look for evidence of any recovered or reverse-engineered alien technology.

But Kona Blue was never approved by the DHS and its supporters never provided empirical evidence to support their claims, according to the report.

“It is critical to note that no extraterrestrial craft or bodies were ever collected — this material was only assumed to exist by KONA BLUE advocates and its anticipated contract performers,” the report found.

Kona Blue was intended to be a successor to a defunct Defense Intelligence Agency effort: The Advanced Aerospace Weapons System Application Program, or AAWSP, also known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP, which was canceled in 2012 due the Defense Department’s concern about the project.

While the purpose of AAWASP/AATIP was to conduct scientific research, the company awarded the contract for the program delved into reviewing UFO reports and proposing to set up laboratories to examine any recovered UFO materials, the report found.

“AAWSAP/AATIP also investigated an alleged hotspot of UAP and paranormal activity at a property in Utah—which at that time was owned by the head of the private sector organization—including examining reports of ‘shadow figures’ and ‘creatures,’ and exploring ‘remote viewing’ and ‘human consciousness anomalies,’” according to the report. “The organization also planned to hire psychics to study ‘inter-dimensional phenomena’ believed to frequently appear at that location.”

Unprecedented access

Phillips said he hopes the congressionally mandated report and other information collected by AARO will help to “demystify” the topic of UAPs.

Despite U.S. officials’ repeated statements to the contrary, a number of people believe that the U.S. government is in fact hiding extraterrestrial bodies, craft, and other evidence of alien visits to Earth.

Phillips assures those who might be skeptical of the report’s findings that AARO had unprecedented access to classified programs while looking into the issue.

“Nobody blocked where we could go or the questions we could ask,” Phillips said. “Nobody in the government influenced the findings in the report. As a career intel officer, I am just amazed at the access we had to some of our nation’s most sensitive programs.”

AARO looked into every claim that it received, Phillips said. The organization’s staff includes career law enforcement officials and members of the intelligence community. In some cases, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks helped AARO get the information that it needed.

“I don’t believe any previous government attempt to research UFOs/UAPs has ever had that type of top cover,” Phillips said.

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