Why Does The Military Want To Hear About More UFO Sightings? (Analysis)

US Congress analyzes classified videos on UFOs 2:33

(WABNEWS) — Future President Gerald Ford was the top Republican in the House of Representatives when he sent information about UFO sightings to the Air Force in 1966.

The Air Force sent an astrophysicist, J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern University, to Michigan to investigate.

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“Swamp gas” was Hynek’s “frivolous” explanation, according to a frustrated press release issued by Forddemanding a congressional investigation into UFOs.

The investigation never happened. And if you want to delve into what Hynek saw and whether it was actually swamp gas, this report from Michigan Radio.

Today, the military is being very careful not to appear flippant about UFOs.

In fact, the number of US government-recorded UFO sightings near government property is increasing, a US Navy intelligence official told lawmakers Tuesday at Congress’s first public hearing on UFOs. in more than 50 years.

“Reports of sightings are frequent and ongoing,” Deputy Director of Navy Intelligence Scott Bray told members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Remove the stigma of UFO sightings

Bray said the military has worked hard to remove the stigma around reporting UFOs, which they refer to as “unexplained aerial phenomena,” or UAPs.

There is a process, introduced in 2019, for Navy pilots and other military personnel to report a sighting. The guidelines are posted in the cockpits of military aircraft.

“The message is now clear: If you see something, you need to report it,” Bray said.

An official investigation office of the UAP

The Pentagon recently created an office dedicated to “facilitating the identification of previously unknown or unidentified aerial objects in a methodical, logical and standardized manner,” according to another official, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie.

Critics of the office, such as Luis Elizondo, the former head of an informal UFO review within the military that helped spark new official interest, worry that the emphasis on intelligence reduces transparency and accountability.

sightings are on the rise

When the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a landmark report on UAP in 2021, it referred to 144 reports from government sources.

That number is now over 400, Bray said, though many of those reports are from previous years and most lack the documentary evidence that might be needed for a more thorough investigation.

Evidence is hard to come by The Pentagon has new plans for UFO reporting and analysis 0:53

Bray showed lawmakers several videos: one with some stills of a fast-moving UAP that has not been identified, and two with triangle-shaped lights recorded by a camera through night vision goggles. The government now believes that it is an illusion of light passing through the glasses and onto the camera that created the triangular shape.

The ide a behind this new UFO overture is that the government wants to better understand unexplained objects to make sure they don’t represent threatening new technology.

“Any objects we find can probably be isolated, characterized, identified and, if necessary, mitigated,” Moultrie said.

Most objects can be explained

UAPs often end up being weather balloons or new technology. But there are a number of unexplained incidents that require further study, Bray said.

Both officials said they are committed to transparency.

“Our goal is not to potentially cover anything up,” Moultrie said. But they’re not exactly committed to full openness, speaking of a balance between transparency and what Moultrie called “preserving our edge in war.”

Classified briefing to follow

That’s a huge, subjective loophole. Conspiracy theorists will worry that lawmakers heard some really juicy stuff at a classified hearing later Tuesday.

Certainly there is now agreement that there is danger in the unexplained.

“Unidentified aerial phenomena are a potential threat to national security and should be treated that way,” said Rep. André Carson of Indiana, the Democratic lawmaker who called the hearing.

What is it about UFO technology that alarms experts? 6:01

The top Republican in the audience said he would rather hear about hypersonic weapons that the United States knows China and Russia are developing, but that UAPs are also a worthy topic.

“To the extent that this issue can help us better understand the unknown activities of Russia and China, I agree,” said Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas.

More revelations in the intelligence community

Moultrie argued that there is a movement toward more disclosures in the intelligence community. I think Moultrie was referring to the release of intelligence about Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine when he said the following:

“Just in the last three or four months, I think the intelligence community and the national defense apparatus have revealed more information about various events than probably in the previous 10 years.”

A long way from Project Blue Book

Even this semblance of transparency is a very different approach to UAP than the secret government UFO sighting program of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Specifically, the Air Force-run Project Blue Book is what launched a million conspiracy theories. Think of Roswell, New Mexico.

Project Blue Book was closed in the late 1960s after 12,618 sightings were reported and 701 remained unexplained. Read about it in the National Archives website.

The program was expensive and none of the reported UFO sightings proved to be a threat to national security, according to the Air Force.

Tic Tac video helped reignite inquiries

When the Director of National Intelligence released the catalog of recent UAP sightings in 2021, WABNEWS’s Anderson Cooper spoke with retired Navy Lt. Commander Alex Dietrich. She was one of the pilots who witnessed a UAP in November 2004. It was recorded on grainy video in the famous “Tic Tac” video (the object was white and oval). It moved in unexpected directions with surprising speed and had no visible means of propulsion.

Watch the Tic Tac video

Watch Cooper’s interview with Dietrich.

And read some possible terrestrial theories about what it could be in this San Diego Union-Tribune report.

Dietrich described “interrogation-style” interviews with the Office of Naval Intelligence after that sighting. But he said it was important for people who see unexplained things to come forward, so experts can study and explain them.

“I’m trying to reduce the stigma for other aircrews, so that if they see something, or when they see something, they say something. And that they don’t feel embarrassed or embarrassed to make the reports … and that they will contribute to this data set of information we have.”

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