According to a report first published by Politico, the U.S. Navy (USN) is currently drafting new guidelines for use by military personnel when reporting sightings of unidentified aircraft. This once again draws attention to the Pentagon’s efforts to better understand this unusual phenomenon.

“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. “For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.”

As part of this effort,’ the USN statement reads, ‘the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft.”

In 2017, news came to light that the Pentagon directly funded a secret investigative group tasked with the pursuit of these claims, as well as the exploration of other seemingly “far out” technological concepts that relate to them. The head of that group, Luis Elizondo, resigned from his position in protest that same year, citing the Department of Defense’s unwillingness to allocate more funding and resources to the effort. According to Elizondo, a breadth of classified evidence exists to support his assertions.

For the public, the most pressing part of this revelation may be that the U.S. military has indeed continued its investigative efforts into the unidentified flying objects (UFO) phenomenon, despite publicly dismissing the topic as outlandish. In the minds of many UFO researchers, learning the government devoted millions to the subject in recent years is a form of acknowledgement that their pursuits aren’t as preposterous as often depicted in the media.

While it’s important to note that formalizing reporting procedures regarding UFOs (or UAPs as they’re now often referred to, short for unidentified aerial phenomena) doesn’t suggest the USN endorses the concept of extraterrestrial life, it does offer sailors a consistent means of reporting what they see.

Currently, sailors who spot something unusual may not know how to report it, or if it should be reported at all. Standard policies alleviate the need for commanders to establish their own reporting procedures and helps ensure uniformity across the branch. It could also result in an increase of reports, as sailors who wouldn’t come forward in the past may be more willing in the presence of established procedure.

If you’re in a busy airport and see something you are supposed to say something,’ Elizondo said. ‘With our own military members it is kind of the opposite: If you do see something, don’t say something.'”