A House panel is holding a public hearing Tuesday on “unidentified aerial phenomena,” commonly known as UFOs, a high-profile moment for a controversial topic that has long been relegated to the fringes of public policy.
The hearing, which is being streamed live, was convened by the House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, a panel chaired by Democratic Representative Andre Carson of Indiana.
Carson warned in his opening remarks at the hearing: “This hearing and our monitoring work is based on a simple idea: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena pose a potential threat to national security. And they should be treated that way.
He went on to say, “For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has stood in the way of good intelligence analysis. Pilots avoided reporting, or were mocked when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the back room, or swept it entirely under the rug, fearing a skeptical national security community.
“Today we know better. UAPs are unexplained, that’s true. But they are real. They need to be investigated. And any threats they pose need to be mitigated,” he said.
As part of the proceedings, Ronald Moultrie, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, appear before the subcommittee. Once the public hearing is over, the commission will also hold a confidential information session in camera.
The event is the first public hearing of Congress on UFOs for decades. It follows the publication last year by the US intelligence community of a long-awaited report on mysterious flying objects that have been seen moving through restricted military airspace for decades.
The report looked at 144 reports of what the government calls an “unidentified aerial phenomenon” – only one of which investigators were able to explain by the end of the study. Investigators have found no evidence that the sightings represent either extraterrestrial life or a major technological advancement from a foreign adversary such as Russia or China, but acknowledge that it is a possible explanation.
For lawmakers, intelligence and military personnel working on unexplained aerial phenomena, the greatest concern about these episodes is not that extraterrestrial life is visiting Earth, but rather that a foreign adversary like Russia or China could rolling out some sort of next-gen technology in the United States. airspace that the United States does not know.
In November 2021, the Department of Defense announced the creation of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.
The department said in a statement at the time that the goal of the new program would be to synchronize U.S. government efforts to “detect, identify and assign objects of interest” in restricted airspace “in order to assess and mitigate any associated security threats.” theft and national security.
In a statement ahead of the hearing, Carson said, “The American people expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously assess and respond to any potential national security risks – especially those we don’t understand. fully.”
The subcommittee chair went on to say, “Since coming to Congress, I have focused on the issue of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena as a threat to national security and an interest of great importance to the American public. And I am pleased to preside over the Intelligence Committee’s first public hearing into these events. This will give the American people the opportunity to learn what there is to know about the incidents. And I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on this critical issue.
This story was updated with additional developments on Tuesday.