Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will help oversee Pentagon’s task force, which is expected to be officially revealed in the next few days, according to the officials.
Previous efforts to look into what the agency says unidentified aerial phenomena were led by the US Navy as many of the documented encounters involved their aircraft.
Pentagon officials and members of Congress have long expressed concerns about the appearance of the unidentified aircraft that have flown over US military bases, creating a risk to military jets.
The origin is still unknown with some believing they may be drones potentially operated by people seeking to gather intelligence rather than extraterrestrials.
In June, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to have the Pentagon and intelligence community provide a public analysis of the encounters, following the official Pentagon release of three short videos showing US aircraft encountering these aerial phenomena.
“We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is and it isn’t ours, so that’s a legitimate question to ask,” Sen. Marco Rubio, the chairman of that committee said in a WFOR-TV report in July.
“Frankly, if it’s something from outside this planet, that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some sort of technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary,” Rubio added.
The videos released by the Pentagon appear to show unidentified flying objects quickly moving while being recorded by infrared cameras. In two of the videos, service members can be heard reacting in awe at how rapidly the objects are moving. One voice speculates that it could be a drone.
In April, US President Trump himself called the footage “a hell of a video” and told Reuters he wonders “if it’s real.”
According to a report from March 26, 2014, it described the unknown aircraft as ‘small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color.’