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Immediate Release

Statement by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks on the Upcoming Departure of All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) Director Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick

All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) Director Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick announced that he will retire from federal service in December.

During his distinguished 27-year career of public service in the Department of Defense and the United States Intelligence Community, and since assuming leadership of AARO, Dr. Kirkpatrick has served the American people with honesty and integrity, tackling an incredibly difficult mission to explain the unknown.

During his tenure, Dr. Kirkpatrick stood up the office and its operations, investigated more than 800 unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) cases, led an extensive search for U.S. Government and contractor programs associated with UAP, and established the department's first public-facing website,, to bring greater transparency to the department's work. 

His commitment to transparency with the United States Congress and the American public on UAP leaves a legacy the department will carry forward as AARO continues its mission.

Our department is stronger and better prepared for future scientific and national security challenges because of Sean's distinguished service to our country.

We are deeply appreciative of his tenacity, insight, and undying dedication to our national security mission, and wish him the greatest of success in his future endeavors. 

The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is in the process of searching for the next AARO Director, and it will publicly announce its selection once made.