Eleven months after the hearing before a U.S. House Intelligence subcommittee, a report has documented more than 140 cases that the government has officially called “unknown airborne phenomena” or UAPs, which U.S. military pilots have been monitoring since 2004.
The more popular term UFO, for an unknown flying object, has long been widely associated with the concept of alien spacecraft, which was not mentioned in last June’s UAP presentation.
Focus, instead, had potential implications for U.S. national security and aviation security.
The report did, however, include some UAPs that show the speed and movement of a mysterious airborne object previously released in Pentagon-released video footage that exceeds known aviation technology and lacks visible means of propulsion or flight-control surfaces.
Tuesday’s hearing was expected to re-examine the findings of that report, a nine-page “preliminary assessment” compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon’s 2020 Navy-led task force.
“The American people deserve full transparency,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement announcing the hearing last week.
Defense and intelligence analysts who prepared the assessment did not propose an investigation into the origin of any of the 144 philosophies included in it, except for one that is responsible for a large deflating balloon.
The Navy Task Force behind the paper was replaced in November by a new defense agency called the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.
Ronald Maltari, who oversees the new group as U.S. Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, is one of two officers called to testify during Tuesday’s hearing. The other is Scott Bray, deputy director of the Naval Intelligence Service.
After the public hearing, both of them were supposed to testify behind closed doors.
While no conclusions have been reached, last year’s report said UAP viewing probably lacked a single explanation.
The report said more information and analysis was needed to determine whether they represented a secret US government or commercial entity, or some foreign aviation system created by a foreign power, such as China or Russia.
Defense and intelligence analysts have similarly yet to rule out an outside source for a UAP case, senior U.S. officials told reporters before releasing the report last year, although the paper itself has avoided any explicit mention of such a possibility.
Yet, the report marks a turning point for the U.S. government after decades of deviating, debunking, and disrespecting observations of unknown flying objects and “flying saucers” from the 1940s.
The session will mark the first open congressional hearing on the issue since the U.S. Air Force codenamed an irregular UFO program called Project Blue Book in 1969.
During its 17-year existence, the Blue Book compiled a list of 12,618 UFO sightings, including 701 objects that have been officially “unknown.” But the Air Force later said it had received no indication of a national security threat or evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles.
In 1966, almost a decade before he became president, Gerald Ford, the then U.S. Representative to Michigan, who was then the House Republican leader, held a hearing in response to the strange glowing lights at low altitudes and the description of large football-shaped witnesses. Dexter, near Michigan, which an Air Force officer famously described as “swamp gas.”