What Congress learned in its first public hearing on UFOs since 1966

Congress held its first public hearing in decades on unidentified flying objects, focused on investigations into reported military encounters with unexplained objects.

In numbers: The database of unidentified object sightings has grown to nearly 400 reports. Eyewitnesses said the scenes were “repetitive and continuous.”

The hearing follows a US government report on Unidentified Atmospheric Phenomena (UAP)
  • The report concluded that the UAP could pose a threat to national security but found no evidence of aliens from the incidents.
  • The last hearing on flying objects was in 1966, when then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford held two hearings on reported sightings in Michigan and other parts of the country earlier that year.
  • One of the now-resolved videos of Unidentified Atmospheric Phenomena (UAP) captured by the Navy is described as aberrations in the lens and aperture shape of the night vision goggles used to record footage.
  • Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray played another video of a military aircraft using a UAP that has yet to be explained.
The resolved reports are divided into five illustrative categories
  1. Airborne chaos
  2. natural atmospheric phenomena
  3. US government programs or US industry development
  4. foreign enemy systems
  5. “Others,” Bray said, “serve as a basket for difficult cases and for the possibility of surprise and potential scientific discovery.”
There were 11 cases where he nearly mistaken unknowns for US military assets
  • Bray said US service personnel did not record any collisions or direct communications with the UAP.
  • He added that they had not found wreck materials “inconsistent with being of terrestrial origin.”

The House Intelligence Committee’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation interviewed Defense Department officials about the Department of Defense’s work to consider future action programs (UAPs).

  • The Management Synchronization and Airborne Object Identification Group (AOIMSG) was established in November 2021 to succeed the Department of Defense’s Task Force on Unspecified Weather Phenomena, which was created in response to reports from Navy pilots and other service members about encounters with the UAP over several years.
  • Some videos from the reports were released by the Pentagon in 2020, including footage recorded from the infrared cameras of combat aircraft.

what are they saying: Bray and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie emphasized that the Pentagon’s primary goals with the AOIMSG are to organize and synthesize abnormal raw data collected by service members and identify the UAP.

  • “We know that our service members have encountered unidentified weather phenomena, and because UAP poses a potential aviation safety and public security risk, we are committed to making a focused effort to identify their source,” Moultrie said.
  • “Since the early 2000s, we have seen an increasing number of unauthorized or unidentified aircraft or objects in Army-controlled training areas, training fields and other designated airspace,” Bray said in his opening statement. Viewing reports are frequent and persistent.
  • Bray said the Pentagon attributes the frequency of sightings to the increased presence of commercial drones near military sites and better sensors for detecting debris, such as mylar balloons, in military airspace.
  • Bray said the hesitation could also be attributed to the AOIMSG standardizing reporting procedures for Navy and Air Force personnel and the Pentagon recently encouraged service members to report anything abnormal while at sea or in flight.

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Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that Gerald Ford was the House Minority Leader, not the House Majority Leader.

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