(The Hill) — The House approved an amendment to the annual defense spending bill on Wednesday that would establish a secure system for reporting unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), commonly known as UFOs.
The system set up by the amendment would receive reports of “any event relating to unidentified aerial phenomena,” in addition to any related activity from the government, federal contractors or programs.
The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), was passed by voice vote as part of a bloc of amendments to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House is expected to vote on and pass the full NDAA this week.
Gallagher’s office said the system would be established by the head of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, which was established in November 2021 on behalf of the Defense secretary and Director of National Intelligence as the successor to the Navy’s UAP task force.
The group was set up to oversee efforts in the government for detecting, identifying and attributing objects of interest located in special use airspace.
The purpose of the measure, the amendment states, is to “prevent unauthorized public reporting or compromise of properly classified military and intelligence systems, programs, and related activities.”
Gallagher said the amendment will have “an important role” in improving Congress’ ability to learn more about UAPs.
“We must ensure the military and intelligence community are armed with the best possible information, capital, and scientific resources to defeat our enemies and maintain military and technology superiority,” he said in a statement.
“This amendment will play an important role in furthering Congress’ ability to fact gather and further prove or disprove the origin and threat nature of whatever seems to be flying in our skies,” he added.
Gallego sounded a similar note, saying in a statement that the amendment will help “better collect observations and data.”
“We need to empower our service members to be transparent and to drop the stigma surrounding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” he added.
Consideration of the amendment came roughly two months after a congressional subcommittee held the first hearing on UFOs on Capitol Hill in more than 50 years.
During the hearing — held by the House Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee — Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had found roughly 400 reports of UAP encounters.
The amendment approved by the House on Wednesday calls for the “immediate sharing” of information related to UAPs that was “previously prohibited from reporting under any non-disclosure written or oral agreement, order, or other instrumentality or means” with supporting analysts and scientists.
Additionally, it mandates that an initial report be sent to congressional committees outlining the system, which would then be made public. It also requires that annual reports be prepared and include a summary of the reports received as part of the system.