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Photo: KTS Design/ Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Almost 2 months after President Trump formalized the creation of the Space Force, the U.S. Navy announced there has been an increase in reports of UFO sightings, reports Politico.

Why it matters: While the Navy isn't saying aliens are out there, it is concerned about the increasing number of reports alleging highly advanced aircraft flying near sensitive military facilities and in military-controlled ranges, per Politico. These reports have been happening consistently since 2014, Luis Elizondo, a former senior intelligence officer, told the Washington Post. Elizondo explained that new Navy guidelines formalized the reporting process, allowing for data-driven analysis of the reports. He called it "the single greatest decision the Navy has made in decades," per the Post.

What they're saying: Chris Mellon, a former Pentagon intelligence official, told Politico that military personnel often does not know what to do when they see something. Mellon also said, "Right now, we have [a] situation in which UFOs and UAPs are treated as anomalies to be ignored rather than anomalies to be explored."

What they're seeing: The sailors reported seeing small spherical objects flying in formation, or white Tic-Tac shaped aircrafts, per the Washington Post.

The intrigue: In 2017, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon spent $22 million on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The Department of Defense never acknowledged the existence of this program and shut it down in 2012, per the New York Times. The program studied Unidentified Ariel Phenomena (UAPs), with the support of numerous senators, including former Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

1 fun thing: Blink-182's former guitarist Tom DeLonge shared a declassified video of 2 pilots allegedly seeing a UFO and questioning what the aircraft was, per Mashable.

Go deeper: The interstellar object Oumuamua is almost certainly not an alien spaceship

Go deeper

6 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.