Pentagon to Reveal Truth About UFO Files in Rare Senate Hearing

Congress is due to hold its first hearing on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in decades on Tuesday—a sign that defense officials are taking the phenomenon seriously.

Usually reserved for the world of science fiction or dubious conspiracy theories, UFOs, or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) as the government now refers to them, have remained a pop culture sensation for years and are often linked to some sort of intelligent alien civilization visiting Earth.

Perhaps less far-fetched is the idea that UFOs/UAPs could also be foreign military aircraft—or perhaps particularly secretive domestic military aircraft.

U.S. Congress UFO Hearings
A screenshot (Inset) taken from the "GIMBAL" video provided by the Department of Defense showing a UAP captured on camera by a U.S. Navy fighter jet in 2015. File photos of Congress (L) and a UFO (R). Congress is scheduled to hold hearings on UFOs for the first time in decades. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE / Getty

Either way, while many UAP reports might be easily dismissed due to their anecdotal nature or lack of accompanying evidence, the issue has clearly become too big to ignore for U.S. defense officials who say reports should be taken seriously for matters of national security.

In 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a nine-page report on UAPs that investigated 144 reports from U.S. government sources between 2004 and 2021, including 80 involving observation with multiple sensors and 11 reports of "near misses" between pilots and UAPs.

The report didn't reveal anything about what UAPs actually were, except that some of them displayed what were described as "unusual" flight characteristics including moving quickly "without discernible means of propulsion."

The report stated that UAPs "pose a hazard to safety of flight and could pose a broader danger if some instances represent sophisticated collection against U.S. military activities by a foreign government or demonstrate a breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary."

On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation will hold a hearing on UAPs starting at 9 a.m. in Washington, D.C.

The hearing will include testimony from two defense officials: Ronald Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, and Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence, according to The New York Times.

John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, was asked about the meeting during a press briefing on May 10. He said he "didn't want to get ahead" of the meeting but added: "We are absolutely committed to being as transparent as we can with the American people and with members of Congress about our perspectives on this and what we're going to try to do to make sure we have a better process for identifying these phenomena, analyzing that information in a more proactive, coordinated way than it's been done in the past, and that we also are doing what we need to do to mitigate any safety issues as many of these phenomena have been sighted in training ranges and in training environments."

Asked whether he was concerned that UAPs might be a foreign adversary, Kirby replied: "We don't have a view on that," but he stressed that better reporting processes were being put in place to help collect information.

"It's been sort of ad hoc in the past, in terms of a pilot here and a pilot there seeing something and the reporting procedures haven't been consistent," he added.

Update, 5/16/22, 11:23 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to reflect the new time of the hearing.

Ronald Moultrie and Scott Bray
Defense for Intelligence & Security Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray gov.org/Getty