Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has introduced an amendment (SA. 4281) to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would fundamentally transform the Federal government’s approach to unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – more commonly referred to as unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

The measure, if approved, would mandate unprecedented government transparency on the UFO phenomenon, and mark a historic shift in how the government treats the issue by drawing upon scientific expertise and demanding analytic objectivity.

Government interest and recognition of UAPs as an “official” issue has been on the upswing following the Defense Department’s release in 2020 of three unclassified Navy videos taken in 2014 and 2015 that appear to show UAP.  Also last year, DoD approved creation of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF) led by the Navy. DoD said those moves were made out of concern for safety of personnel and military operations.

While Sen. Gillibrand’s NDAA amendment includes language from a similar provision initiated by Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., in the House version of the bill, the Senate amendment takes an extra step by requiring even more UAP/UFO information to be disclosed to the public.

If enacted, the amendment would establish an ‘‘Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office” which would be tasked with investigating UAPs. This office – to be run by DoD or a joint organization of the Pentagon and Director of National Intelligence – would also be required to submit annual public reports about UAPs “including whether the government has any materials from the incidents… or data on any biological or health effects linked to any encounters.”

Gillibrand’s UFO amendment would also upgrade investigations into UAPs by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, and increase the priority, coordination, and resources involved with those efforts.

The amendment also would create a separate “Aerial and Transmedium Advisory Committee” made up of experts from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Academies of Sciences, the head of the Galileo Project at Harvard University, the director of the Optical Technology Center at Montana State University, the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, and the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics.

Sen. Gillibrand first filed her amendment on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 15, re-filed her UAP-related amendment, with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., as cosponsors.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.