Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will assist oversee the working group, which is expected to be formally unveiled within the next few days, according to officials. Previous attempts to see what unknown Pentagon air phenomena were directed by the U.S. Navy as many of the documented meetings involved their own aircraft.
The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long expressed concern about the appearance of unidentified aircraft flying over U.S. military bases, posing a threat to military aircraft. There is no consensus on their origins with some believing they may be drones potentially operated by terrestrial adversaries seeking to gather intelligence rather than extraterrestrials.
“We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we do not know what is and is not ours, so this is a legitimate question to ask,” the chairman of this committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, told a local Miami news station, WFOR-TV in July.
“Honestly, if it ‘s something from outside this planet, it could actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some kind of technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary,” he added.
Videos released by the Pentagon appear to show unidentified flying objects moving rapidly as they are recorded by infrared cameras. Two of the videos contain service members reacting with fear to how fast objects move. One voice speculates that it could be a drone.
“The unidentified aircraft appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase and colored silver,” said a report describing an incident from March 26, 2014.
The reports describe the observed phenomena as “Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)” – the Pentagon’s official terminology for drones.
Navy videos were first released between December 2017 and March 2018 by To The Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences, a company co-founded by former Blink-182 musician Tom DeLonge who says it studies information on unknown aerial phenomena.
CNN’s Michael Conte contributed to this report.