The U.S. will establish a new government program that will investigate unidentified aerial phenomena, also known as UFOs, TODAY reported.
The National Defense Authorization Act called for the creation of the permanent office and was a part of a bipartisan effort spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. “I really see this as trying to know what is knowable and not having a head in the sand perspective on this,” she told TODAY.
“These are serious issues of national security and technology that we should know about,” Gillibrand said.
The program will attempt to quickly investigate UFOs and share the information it finds with other countries, TODAY reported. It will also alert Congress if other nations or entities are behind events investigated and look into reports of service members who have dealt with health issues after interacting with unknown objects.
“If there’s a reported incident, now there’s a requirement for us to react to that information and go and collect that information,” Lue Elizondo, the former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, told TODAY.
Gadi Schwartz, a reporter for NBC News, described the development as “sci-fi becoming reality.”
The Defense Department announced a new division to investigate UFOs in November as part of an effort to “address the challenges associated with assessing” incidents close to or on DOD training ranges and installations.
The push for Capitol Hill to take UFO sightings more seriously has increased in recent years, with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida calling for Congress to have “a process to take it seriously” and drop any “stigma” on the subject.
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