Late last year, the Pentagon was forced to admit that they have been secretly funding a program that aimed to investigate military reports of unidentified flying objects, or as the Defense Department refers to them, AAVs — Anomalous Aerial Vehicles. The program, given the clunky title of “The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program,” was led by Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence officer, until October when he resigned in protest, citing his concerns about the threats possibly posed by these unidentified aircraft and the lack of resources being allocated to their investigation.
The existence of the program at all seemed evidence enough to many that the government must have felt that there was something worth looking into. Over the span of five years, the Defense Department allocated some $22 million to this investigation, then allowed it to continue without direct lines of funding from 2012 forward — a small drop in the bucket of overall defense spending, but a significant expenditure nonetheless. Skeptics, however, pointed out that the program was defunded and Elizondo himself has complained that the program’s findings were not taken seriously by defense officials; both powerful indicators that UFOs as a concept may belong in science fiction, rather than defense budgets.
Soon, however, evidence that seemed to support Elizondo’s claims began to surface, including dramatic footage from a FLIR camera on the nose of an F/A-18 Hornet as it attempted to intercept a “tic-tac” shaped craft spotted near the USS Nimitz carrier strike group off the coast of California in 2004. The footage and accompanying testimony drew attention all over the world, begging hard questions about what the Navy ships spotted on radar, and even harder to explain away, just what it was pilots saw with their own eyes.