Later this month, U.S. intelligence agencies will deliver to Congress a highly anticipated unclassified report on what they know about UFOs, or Unexplained Aerial Phenomena, as the Pentagon now refers to them (UAPs).

The jury is still out on whether the report will provide the answers that UFO enthusiasts are looking for: that recent military encounters with UAPs may be evidence of contact with extraterrestrial life.

The report’s completion marks a watershed moment in UFO history, as interest in UFOs has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the Navy’s release of previously classified videos of fighter pilot encounters with UAPs in 2004 and 2014. The videos piqued the interest of UFO enthusiasts as well as members of Congress who wanted to know if the UAPs captured in the videos represented advanced technological threats from foreign adversaries.

Florida Republican Sen. Mark Rubio, then-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was successful in including language in the Intelligence Authorization Act late in 2020 requiring the intelligence community to prepare a detailed unclassified report on UAPs for the committee. The report is being prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the UAP Task Force, which was established by the Pentagon last September to investigate the United States military’s encounters with UAPs.

“We’re providing context and information that we have on these phenomena, and our focus is, again, on supporting the DNI’s efforts to produce this report,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday. Though it will be an unclassified report, its contents may not satisfy UFO enthusiasts who want to know if the encounters were with extraterrestrials simply because it will be an intelligence report.

And the report will rely on data collected by the highly sensitive sensors used by the US military to detect adversaries, rather than just eyewitness recollections of their encounters.

For scientists, the report’s emphasis on data is critical in determining what is going on in the videos. “So if you can figure out where they are in 3-D space and figure out where they are, how they are maneuvering, and if you can figure out their mass and figure out the forces that are involved, that can give you some hints at the technology that you’re looking at,” he added.

“The fact that you see something and it’s doing something you don’t understand doesn’t mean let’s jump to a wild conclusion; it means let’s get all the data we can, put it all together, and get an understanding of what we’re dealing with, because it’s either ours or it’s not ours,” Oluseyi explained. “And if it’s not ours, we need to figure out what’s going on.”

It remains to be seen whether the report can provide those answers, but for some UFO enthusiasts, what matters most is that the report is true.

“The fact that the report exists or will exist is the most important thing for me,” said Jeremy Corbell, a documentary filmmaker and UFO enthusiast, in an interview. Corbell recently released new videos, which the Pentagon confirmed were taken by the Navy and are being reviewed by the UAP Task Force as part of its investigation. “So the existence of this report demonstrates that representative government works, that Congress, the Senate, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and everyone involved are all involved. These mechanisms are working to provide answers to the American people “Corbell explained.

While Corbell does not expect the intelligence report to be “robust” in its acknowledgment of a possible UFO cover-up, he also does not expect it to be “a whitewash” and will validate what Navy pilots witnessed during their encounters.

A national security analyst agrees that the UAPs need to be investigated further, but he is concerned that they may indicate new technologies that could pose security risks.