Late last year, it was revealed that the United States Department of Defense has been secretly allocating millions of dollars toward investigating claimed sightings of unidentified flying objects made by members of the U.S. military. The endeavor lost direct funding in 2012, but continued in a support capacity to other investigative arms of the Pentagon (and likely still does) without a line of accounting on the books.

In October of last year, Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence officer that was tasked with leading this black budget program, dubbed “The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program,” resigned in protest, eluding to what he claimed were legitimate security concerns identified by his group that were not receiving the appropriate attention from senior defense officials. Soon thereafter, Elizondo accepted a position with To the Stars Academy — a for-profit media company that trades on its collection of former senior intelligence and defense officials that seek what those in the UFO community often refer to as “disclosure:” or a full release of everything the government may or may not know about UFO phenomena – though To the Stars, like many in the internet’s UFO-oriented sites and forums, refers to these mysterious craft as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs, rather than the traditional (and perhaps too sci-fi sounding) term of UFO.

To the Stars has since released declassified footage of these so-called UAPs, including footage captured from a pair of Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets tasked with an intercept, offering further credibility to Elizondo’s claims that these strange sightings warrant further investigation, if not the claims of To the Stars President, Tom Delong, who has a history of making some rather grandiose claims about the presence of advanced alien life here on Earth.

Objectively, everything about To the Stars, including the CEO being the former bassist for pop-punk band Blink 182, smells a bit fishy — but the stable of credentialed officials in his board room combined with actual DoD footage adds an almost uncomfortable element of credibility that, while perhaps not sufficient to take at face value, seems to warrant a second look.

Recently, To the Stars released a statement breaking down the five elements of a “UAP” sighting they claim make them want to “scratch our head and come to the conclusion that maybe we don’t know what these things are.” According to them, these five elements separate a sighting of known aircraft and phenomena from the types of things that keep men like Elizondo up at night.

Sudden and instantaneous acceleration: According to Delong’s organization, a UAP is capable of accelerating at rates of speed unheard of in modern aircraft, often stopping or changing direction at similarly impossible rates.

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Hypersonic velocities without signatures: At the speeds these “crafts” are seen traveling, their propulsion systems should be releasing some sort acoustic, heat, or electromagnetic signature. Further, they should produce sonic booms, vapor contrails, or possible some for of atmospheric ionization like known aircraft are known to do.

Low observability: Like Bigfoot, but across the entire light spectrum, UAPs are notoriously difficult to get a good look at or to detect via radar.

Trans-medium travel: To the Stars argues that these UAPs are able to travel with the exact same ease of motion in the atmosphere, through the water, and in outer space. Yet another thing nothing we’re aware of is capable of doing.

Positive lift: A UAP seems to produce lift without any traditional wings or visible means of propulsion. In other words, they seem to simply defy gravity, rather than using aerodynamics or thrust to remain airborne.

According to To the Stars, there will be more videos released by the Department of Defense in the near future that will further bolster their claims that UAPs are both real and worthy of investigation, though admittedly, thus far their efforts haven’t produced anything particularly ground breaking. In fact, thus far the most startling realization to come of this entire turn of events remains the story that broke in the first place: that the DoD has been secretly taking these things pretty seriously, even if we don’t.

Until more legitimate evidence is revealed, believing these claims are a matter of personal opinion — but for the sake of argument, here’s Elizondo’s take on the still-classified evidence he was privy to in his previous position:

These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of.” Elizondo explained. “Things that don’t have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological.”

“My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone.”

Watch the F/A-18 Super Hornet footage below:

Image courtesy of To the Stars Academy