The US held its first public hearing on UFOs in five decades and a top defence official said an increasing number of UFO sightings have been reported in the last 20 years.
Scott Bray, deputy director of Naval Intelligence, told lawmakers that the agency has seen an increasing number of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft or objects in military-controlled training areas and ranges, said an AFP report.
He revealed that they had recorded around 400 such sightings and 11 close encounters.
He clarified that the Pentagon has no reason to suspect these objects are non-terrestrial in origin. However, he did not rule out the possibility of aliens. "We've made no assumptions about what this is or isn't," said the top defence official.
Some of these sightings are on the radar systems of the US military and they are later decided to be drones or birds. Another possibility is tests of military equipment or technologies by other nations like Russia and China. The Pentagon's priority is determining whether these aerial objects are a threat to the United States.
Democratic Representative Andre Carson of Indiana said at the hearing that the UFOs are a potential national security threat and need to be treated that way, reported AFP.
Bray said the rise in the phenomena may be due to the efforts carried out by the US military to destigmatise UFO sightings. This has encouraged people to be forthcoming about sightings and encounters.
In a report submitted in June 2021, the American intelligence had claimed that no evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials in the skies have been found. But, no explanation can be given for dozens of UFO sightings by military pilots.