Earlier this week, it was announced that the United States Navy (USN) established a new set of operational guidelines meant to streamline reporting of unidentified flying objects spotted by pilots and other military personnel. The decision, which prompted a flurry of sensational headlines, now has support from a number of current and former Pentagon officials.

“We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again,” said Joseph Gradisher, spokesman for office of the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, in the Washington Post. According to Gradisher, there’s been an uptick in reports of “unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP)” since 2014, with reports of unidentified aircraft entering into military air space coming in as frequently as multiple times per month in recent years.

According to him, investigating these sightings is a matter of both safety and security, and the USN intends to investigate “each and every report.”

The USN’s official statements regarding the establishment of these new guidelines seem to echo Gradisher’s sentiments.

“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 USN 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.”

For UFO researchers, this comes as a refreshing approach to a subject many dismiss as a flight of fancy. While formal investigation into UFO phenomena tends to earn the ire of mainstream media outlets, many who devote themselves to investigating these reports have long contended an acknowledgement of the fact that reputable, credible witnesses are reporting unidentified aircraft operating within controlled air space isn’t tantamount to embracing the idea of alien life visiting earth.

Investigating, many enthusiasts and professionals alike champion, is national security imperative. Wherever these orbs, tic tacs, strange lights, and other unusual objects described by military aviators are coming from, ignoring them hasn’t seemed to make them go away.

“I don’t believe in safety through ignorance,” explained Chris Mellon, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence. Since leaving the Pentagon, Mellon has found a new home with Tom Delonge’s To the Stars Academy—a group dedicated to the investigation and release of information pertaining to these unexplained sightings.

“Imagine you see highly-advanced vehicles, they appear on radar systems, they look bizarre, no one knows where they’re from. This happens on a recurring basis, and no one does anything,” said Mellon.

Mellon is joined at To the Stars by other defense and intelligence professionals including Luis Elizondo, who was the head of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which was formally tasked with investigating UFO reports among a laundry list of other seemingly otherworldly endeavors.

The program received an allocation of $22 million until funding was formally cut in 2012, though it continued without direct funding for some time thereafter—with some claiming that elements of AATIP continue to this day. However, Elizondo resigned in protest in October 2017, citing the Pentagon’s reluctance to devote more resources to the effort.

If I came to you and said, ‘There are these things that can fly over our country with impunity, defying the laws of physics, and within moments could deploy a nuclear device at will,’ that would be a matter of national security,” Elizondo explained as a primary rationale to pursue these investigations.“This type of activity is very alarming,” he said, “and people are recognizing there are things in our aerospace that lie beyond our understanding.”

Perhaps the most pressing bit of evidence to be released by the Pentagon and championed by To the Stars Academy in recent years is footage and accounts of what many now call the “Nimitz Incident.” In 2004, the USN spotted and even tried to intercept strange objects in the sky operating in the vicinity of the USS Nimitz carrier strike group in the Pacific near the California coast. Footage from the FLIR camera aboard Commander David “Sex” Fravor’s F/A-18F Super Hornet confirms eye witness reports of something strange operating in the Nimitz’ general vicinity.

You can hear Fravor’s own account of the incident here: