US Congress is set to pass a law to set up a new office designed to rapidly respond to UFO sightings, recover material from crash sites, and potentially aid the reverse engineering of advanced technology, according to Military.com.
The bill, part of the annual defense authorization bill released this week, aims to establish a new office to respond to sightings of what the military calls unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs (that’s UFOs to the rest of us). As it stands, UFO reports in the US are dealt with by a muddled array of departments and government agencies, but this bill aims to centralize and synchronize these efforts.
"Protecting our national security interests means knowing who and what are flying in US airspace," Representative Ruben Gallego (Democrat-Arizona), a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement to Military.com. "Right now, our system of tracking and identifying UAPs is scattered throughout the Department of Defense and other departments and agencies of the federal government."
One especially juicy part of the bill would require the Pentagon to create a process that would help scientists and engineers to understand UAPs that appear to be beyond the "known state of the art in science or technology." The bill says the information could be used in requests for funding for reverse engineering of technology to "replicate any such advanced characteristics and performance."
On top of that, the bill also aims to promote transparency by requiring all of the office's findings to be delivered to Congress in annual reports and biannual briefings to defense committees.
UFO sightings have re-entered the public imagination in recent years due to a number of high-profile sightings that got enough media attention they were later confirmed by the Pentagon. One of the most famous recent sightings was captured on film by a US Navy pilot and shows a “tic-tac” oblong-shaped object appearing to instantaneously change direction in the sky. The official government report on the incident says the object “descended ‘very rapidly’ from approximately 60,000 feet [18,300 meters] down to approximately 50 feet [15 meters] in a matter of seconds.” The exact nature of the object remains uncertain, with explanations ranging from extraterrestrial visitors to unknown military technology from China or Russia.
This year also saw the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence release a much-hyped report on UFO sightings. Unfortunately, the report was largely inconclusive, contending there was no evidence to either confirm or deny that any of the sightings were extraterrestrial life.