Arizona Democrat and Iraq War veteran Rep. Ruben Gallego, who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, is very concerned that the nation’s national security agencies aren’t taking the subject of UFOs seriously. He helped push through a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act this past week to create a permanent office under the secretary of Defense to oversee “the timely and consistent reporting” of what the military calls “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
The office would gather the information and report to Congress at least once a year.
Indeed, interest from the national security community in UFOs waxes and wanes — largely based on public reaction to leaked video and publicity surrounding these videos. But Gallegos thinks it’s time to normalize the process.
Its main task will be “to synchronize and standardize the collection, reporting, and analysis of incidents regarding unidentified aerial phenomena across the Department of Defense,” according to the legislation.
The provision, which must now be adopted by the Senate, also says the military must try to determine whether UAPs have links to foreign adversaries, including “non-state actors,” and whether they might pose a threat.
There have been more than 100 reported encounters between military aircraft and UAPs, and a much-anticipated report reached no conclusions except to recommend further study.
But there are several higher-ups at the Pentagon who remain skeptical that UAPs need to be studied beyond any current efforts, even though Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks at the time directed the military branches and other organizations to recommend “process improvements” to gather and analyze such data and to “develop a plan to formalize the mission.”
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall thinks it would be a waste of time and resources.
“I don’t consider it an imminent threat to the United States or the human race, these phenomena occurring,” he said in response to a question from POLITICO. “I would have to see evidence that it was something worthy of the attention of the United States Air Force as a threat.”
“Our job is to protect the United States against threats,” Kendall added. “I have a lot of known threats out there that we’re working very hard to protect the United States against. I’d like to focus on those.” However, he did say that “if we’re asked to take that on, we will.”
Gallego’s new Pentagon office would replace a temporary task force created more than a decade ago to examine UAPs. But the same issues that plagued the task force promise to undermine any new office dedicated to finding answers.
What has stymied any investigation into UAPs has been the lack of cooperation and coordination between intelligence agencies and the military. Such information is usually highly compartmentalized, and agencies are reluctant to share. It’s not clear that Gallegos’ new office would have any better luck at levering information from intelligence agencies. That would take someone with a much higher pay grade than a congressman.
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