unexplained  | 

Seven things we learned from USA's first public hearing on UFOs in 50 years

Authorities say more military personnel are reporting sightings because there is less stigma than before
Jamie McDowell

The USA’s Congress has held a hearing on UFOs for the first time in over 50 years on reports of Unidentified Flying Objects.

In congressional testimony, top Pentagon officials told the house there have been around 400 reports of UFOs, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) from military personnel some of which have been captured on camera by aircraft pilots and were addressed in the House.

The last congressional hearing on UFOs was heard in the 1960s.

From 1947 to 1969 the US Air Force ran Operation Blue Book, a project which investigated reports of UFOs, but the project ceased when UFOs were ruled to be of no threat to national security.

Here are the top seven things we learned from the hearing:

  • Less stigma

Between 2004 and 2021 there were a reported 144 UAP sightings by military personnel, but there has since been a steep increase to around 400. The Pentagon says the sharp rise is likely due to there being less stigma, with many personnel coming forward to report historic “narrative-based” sightings which they may have been afraid to report before now.

Pentagon intelligence official Ronald Moultrie said: "Our goal is to eliminate the stigma by fully incorporating our operators and mission personnel into a standardised data gathering process."

  • Wreckage-based evidence

At the hearing Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray said the “UAP task force doesn't have any wreckage that ... isn't consistent with being [of] terrestrial origin”.

  • Video evidence

Citing an incident in 2004 in which a Navy pilot recorded an object moving unusually over the water, Bray said he could not “point to something that definitively was not man-made, but I can point to a number of examples which remain unresolved".

  • Unauthorised

Many of the sightings have been in “military control training areas and training ranges and other designated airspace”, said Bray.

  • It’s common

Officials have described reports of UAPs or “unauthorised and or unidentified aircraft or objects” as being “frequent and continuous”.

  • Taking it seriously

Given the current crisis in Ukraine, huge tensions with Russia and the emergence of China as a major global superpower making huge leaps in terms of technological ability, US authorities appear to be taking a more serious and open stance surrounding UAPs.

Moultrie said: "We want to know what's out there as much as you want to know what's out there.”

He added the pentagon is creating a new office to speed up the “identification of previously unknown or unidentified airborne objects in a methodical, logical and standardised manner".

Chair of the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, Rep. Andre Carson, said: “UAPs are unexplained, it’s true… But they are real. They need to be investigated, and many threats they pose need to be mitigated.”

  • Drones

Bray said a number of more explainable factors had contributed to the rise in sightings, including a rise in drone use as well as sensor technologies and the use of mylar balloons.


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