The Department of Defense is now pivoting their UFO project that had just started eight months ago. The initial role of the office was to investigate and track UFOs or any unidentified aerial phenomena, but they’re now looking to expand its reach.

The office was initially called Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG). In 2021, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, in collaboration with the Director of National Intelligence, established the office as the “successor to the US Navy’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.”

The AOIMSG had a synchronous effort across the US military in detecting, identifying, and attributing unknown objects in the air and space.

“Incursions by any airborne object into our SUA pose safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges. Therefore, DOD takes reports of incursions – by any airborne object, identified or unidentified – very seriously, and investigates each one.”

department of defense sign
The Department of Defense sign before incoming Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III arrives at the Pentagon after being confirmed as secretary of defense, Washington, DC, Jan. 22, 2021. (Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service/get archive)

But, in less than a year, they’re expanding and restructuring the office’s purpose because of the evidence the office is finding. In their press release, the DoD announced that they are now renaming the office as the “All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office” or AARO, “due to the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022, which included a provision to establish an office, in coordination with DNI, with responsibilities that were broader than those originally assigned to the AOIMSG.”

Hicks is still working on the project with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). But, it was announced by USD Hon. Ronald S. Moultrie that Dr. Sean M. Kirkpatrick, the most recent chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center, as AARO’s newest director.

AARO will now be the central command for all coordinated efforts throughout the DoD and the federal government to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in, on or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to the safety of operations and national security.”

In another statement, Hicks said that the office will become the “focal point for all UAP and UAP-related activities and may represent the Department for such activities.”

While the office will be focused on airborne objects, the new scope will allow them to investigate unidentified objects submerged in water or anything “transmedium.” Transmedium refers to an object’s ability to fly across different environments. So, for example, if an object could fly through the atmosphere to another domain like space or water, it will be considered “transmedium.”

UFO (Source: kai Stachowiak/Public Domain Pictures)

The AARO Executive Council (AAROEXEC), led by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security (USD(I&S)) Ronald Moultrie, will align AARO’s primary missions, which are:

  1. Surveillance, Collection, and Reporting
  2. System Capabilities and Design
  3. Intelligence Operations and Analysis
  4. Mitigation and Defeat
  5. Governance
  6. Science and Technology

Who is Dr. Kirkpatrick?

Known as Dr. K to most of his staff, Dr. Kirkpatrick is bringing over two decades of experience and depth of experience to the office. He has experience in space policy, research and development, acquisitions, and operations, specializing in space/counter space mission areas.

Born in Columbus, GA, to an Army family, he had a keen interest in physics during his younger years. He enrolled in the University of Georgia as a Physics undergraduate and eventually finished his Ph.D. in nonlinear and nonequilibrium phonon dynamics of rare earth-doped fluoride crystals. He’s also working as an adjunct professor at the UGA>

After graduating from school, his foundational career began in the Defense and Intelligence agency, exploring projects related to science and technology.

Dr. Kirkpatrick also received several scientific and intelligence awards, including the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal, four National Intelligence Collaboration medallions, the NRO Innovation and Achievement Award, and the DIA Director’s Award of Excellence.

As for Dr. Kirkpatrick, AARO is the ideal platform for him to explore theories about UFOs and space. In 2021, he said that he’s interested in having the capability to “see and metaphorically hear everything that’s going on between 100 kilometers off the face of the planet to wherever we are, and right now we can’t do that.”

“Unlike physics, intelligence is not an exact science. But, like systems engineering, there is a lot of art and science mixed together.” – Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., 2016