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Gillibrand seeks oversight for UFOs, unidentified aerial phenomena

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, at Mary's Place in Rochester.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, at Mary's Place in Rochester.

A bipartisan amendment introduced in the US Senate by Kirsten Gillibrand would ramp up the study of UFOs by the federal government.

The measure would create an ‘‘Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office” with a goal of using any and all assets from the intelligence community to understand “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP). Gillibrand’s amendment is one of about 800 attached to this year’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

During a visit to Rochester Monday, the New York Democrat said her interest in studying UFOs comes from her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. After hearing of a number of sightings of mysterious objects in the sky by naval and air force officers Gillibrand said it's time to figure out what and where these things are from.

She said the aircraft have surprising capabilities, so she’s asking the Department of Defense to compile previous and future sightings with national security in mind.

“We’ve had a number of sightings by Navy pilots and Air Force pilots of things that cannot be explained. Aircraft that do things that we are unfamiliar with,” said Gillibrand. “If it is knowable, meaning, it's Russian or Chinese aircrafts, we need to know what it is, what the capabilities are and how to defend against that. If it is unknowable, we also need to know about that.”

If passed, the measure would add layers of oversight and public discourse on these sightings creating an “aerial and transmedium advisory committee.” Experts from NASA, FAA, and various universities would serve on the committee.

The senator also said she’d like to make it easier for military members who see these objects to come forward. Gillibrand said that some officers have faced retaliation for acknowledging these craft which she said is inappropriate.

“That should never happen,” continued Gillibrand. “We need our service members to put for data and information when they see it, especially if it's unusual.”

Negotiations on the NDAA are expected to pick up after Thanksgiving.

Republican senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Roy Blunt and fellow Democrat Martin Heinrich are co-sponsoring the bill.