AARO Historical Report vol.1 press conference with Tim Phillips


Senior Member.
Discussion of the AARO report itself: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/aaros-historical-uap-report-volume-1.13375/

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[h3]Media Engagement With Acting AARO Director Tim Phillips on the Historical Record Report Volume 1[/h3]
March 6, 2024
Excerpts (slightly out of order):

Case Load
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In the last month, we closed about 122 cases that was reported to AARO. 68% of those cases we assess to be some form of what I call aero garbage, balloons, trash that's up there in the atmosphere at — that are advanced sensors, we're able to detect. And then since it was unknown, it was reported to us as a UAP. And we had to research the cases. As far as other advanced technologies, there's been some cases, but we can't discuss that here.


So we've had about 1,200 cases that we've looked at. We approximately receive anywhere between 90 and a 100-110 a month*1 from the operating forces. And you'll see in our reporting, there's a real bias to the Department of Defense because they're out there flying. They tend to have the advanced sensors. And if you're clearing a range before you go hot, if you're looking for something, you might find it. We're starting to see an increase in civil aviation sightings, you know, from — through the FAA and through NASA. We're starting to get few or more cases in, and you'll see that reflected in our heat map on our website. You'll see, with the bright red, that tends to reflect where DOD is operating, where they have those detections.

I would say that we — we probably, on average, around 100 cases a month¹ we are clearing. And the ones that we can declassify, we'll publish to our website or we'll report back through official channels to the services and the organizations that reported those contacts.

[¹ Eds. note: The number of cases ARRO receives and resolves widely varies from month to month.]
Why People see UFOs
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And in some cases, they were lawfully present at a location in a time when a sensitive technology was being developed or tested. They witnessed something, they didn't understand what it was, they reported it to us. And we were able to go back to the program owners and to the range and ask, by the way, what were you flying during this week? By God, I would have thought it would have been a UAP myself when I actually saw the picture of it.

So these are rational people making observations and just relating to what they know. And that's where that popular culture comes in.
Pop culture (UFOs in the media) determines how people describe unfamiliar events.

Alien visitors are not classified
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I was actually asked this on the Hill yesterday, you're investigating a UAP incident and you discover it's an extraterrestrial. Are you going to classify that? And the answer is no. If we go to our classification guide, we don't classify something because it's not from this world. That's not our job, OK?
Sensor Kits
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And AARO's been around for about 18 months. And we just achieved initial operating capability, I would say, in October² of last year is when we actually were able to bring the staff on and start develop some of the sensors and the capabilities, the flyaway kits, so we could respond quickly when there's a UAP incident.
[² Eds. note: AARO achieved IOC in July 2023.]
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MR. PHILLIPS: Sure. We're working with some of the government labs such as the Department of Energy labs. And we have a great partner with Georgia Tech. And what we're doing is developing a deployable configurable sensor suite that we can put in Pelican cases. And we're this — we're going to go be able to deploy it to the field to do a long-term collect.

Since the UAP target, the signature, is not clearly defined. We really have to do hyperspectral, you know, surveillance to try to capture these incidents. So we are going to declare a mission capability IOC for our GREMLIN system. That's the name of the deployable surveillance system that we've been developing for the last year.⁷

We're currently at a very large range in Texas. We've been out there going against some known UAS targets, but some unknown targets, picking up a lot of bats and birds. We're learning a lot about solar flaring. We're really starting to understand what's in orbit around our planet and how we can eliminate those as anomalous objects. So we're going to do that and then we're going to go to the department and say, we are ready to deploy our system in response to a national security site or a critical infrastructure with a UAP problem.

[⁷ Eds. note: While GREMLIN is approaching IOC, AARO is also in the early stages of developing a smaller suite of deployable sensors for rapid response to a UAP incident.]
Non-Aerial Phenomena
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Q: Sir, I think AARO, all-domain is included in the name. To what extent are there anomalous phenomenon that are not in the air, but somewhere else?

MR. PHILLIPS: You're absolutely correct because the vast majority of the reporting tends to be in the atmosphere because that's where we're operating. We've received one report in the maritime domain. And we've received no reports in space. However, we do have working groups in space and in the maritime. [...]

I would love to tell you, we'd be more mature in space. I was amazed at the ability of the community of interest to be able to understand their domain. And what we found is, the more data that any domain has, the deeper understanding of these unknown phenomena that exist. So when we did talk to our partners who work in the space domain, they had very few things that they didn't understand in space.
PRC Balloon
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AARO assisted in helping identify the high-altitude balloon that came from China.³

[³ Eds. note: While AARO supported interagency cooperation during the February 2023 People's Republic of China high-altitude balloon incident, that case centered on an ‘identified' object and was not within AARO's purview. AARO did provide advice and support regarding the three initially unknown objects that were discovered and tracked shortly after the PRC balloon incident.]
Access and Authority
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Wherever there was a claim, as I had said, you know, previously, it could be an IC agency, it could be another department, it could be in a dusty archive, in DOD. We had access to it. NARA was wonderful as far as giving us access for all the SAPs and CAPs programs out there.⁴ There is an archive. And a lot of this is not digitized. It's a lot of, you know, old school library work where you're going through boxes and boxes, or microfiche trying to explore.

But the claim was the first step, if we just went — we followed every lead we could find to run these to ground. And we had a, you know, two approaches. We had career law enforcement officers who are on our staff. They're DOD law enforcement people who are know how to conduct investigations. And then we have IC officials that follow analytical tradecraft standards who have conducted field interrogations. Very proficient. And we did everything we could to examine these claims. And we found no actual UFO materials in any allegation or incident that was reported to us that we — or that was given to us by Congress.

[⁴ Eds. note: NARA assisted with archival research. Research into SAPs and CAPs was done through the appropriate SAPCO or CAPCO offices.]
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And the LNOs being offered to us. So we have unsolicited — we've had other government agencies, military services, who've come to us and have put one of their officers on our staff.

And having that LNO really, really assists us as we navigate DHS⁶ or NASA. It's nice to have somebody who understands the terrain.

[⁶ Eds. note: AARO enjoys a close working relationship with DHS, but does not have a DHS liaison working within the office.]
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So I don't think there's ever been a government organization with the authorities and with the amount of funding that we receive from Congress. As the acting director, I work for the Deputy Director of Defense.⁵ There's actually been — there's — trying to get information, we've actually had to solicit her personal assistance to open a door. I don't believe any previous government attempt to research UFOs, UAPs has ever had that type of top cover.

[⁵ Eds. note: The AARO director reports to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.]
The Report
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Just probably a good 100 days of tech editing and legal review.
[Alien visitors are not classified]
I was actually asked this on the Hill yesterday, you're investigating a UAP incident and you discover it's an extraterrestrial. Are you going to classify that? And the answer is no. If we go to our classification guide, we don't classify something because it's not from this world. That's not our job, OK?

this part deserves more of a highlight
this part deserves more of a highlight
The context here is that UFO reports are often classified.

Tim Phillips details that in many cases, the observers actually saw secret US technology that was unknown to them, looking like UFOs do in popular culture. The report is then classified because it is of classified technology, not because it is of an actual UFO (it's not).