On July 26, 2023, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), also known as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The hearing was the latest push by lawmakers, intelligence officials, and military personnel to probe the issue on a national platform.
The hearing featured testimony from three individuals who previously served in the US military. These witnesses included David Grusch, a former intelligence officer in the US Air Force; David Fravor, a retired US Navy commander; and Ryan Graves, a former Navy pilot.
During the hearing, U.S. military personnel testified about their encounters with UAPs. One witness even claimed that the U.S. government may have nonhuman bodies. However, the hearing did not provide any definitive answers about the possibility of extraterrestrial beings.
David Grusch served for 14 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. He appeared before the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee alongside two former fighter pilots who had firsthand experience with UAP. Grusch served as a representative on two Pentagon task forces investigating UAP until earlier this year. He told lawmakers that he was informed of "a multi-decade UAP crash retrieval and reverse-engineering program" during the course of his work examining classified programs. He said he was denied access to those programs when he requested it, and accused the military of misappropriating funds to shield these operations from congressional oversight.
Ryan Graves was an F-18 pilot stationed in Virginia Beach in 2014 when his squadron first began detecting unknown objects. He testified that current reporting systems are inadequate to investigate UAP encounters and said a stigma still exists for pilots and officials who press for more transparency about their experiences.
David Fravor shot the now-famous "Tic Tac" video of an object in 2004 during a flight off the coast of California. He is a former commanding officer of the Navy's Black Aces Squadron. Fravor testified that current reporting systems are inadequate to investigate UAP encounters and said a stigma still exists for pilots and officials who press for more transparency about their experiences.
The issue of UAPs has gained widespread attention from Congress and the public in recent years with the release of several recordings of encounters. These recordings typically show seemingly nondescript objects moving through the air at very high speeds with no apparent method of propulsion.
Lawmakers have expressed concern about the potential national security threat posed by unknown objects in or near U.S. airspace. A bipartisan group of senators led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would require executive branch agencies to hand over UAP records to a review board with "the presumption of immediate disclosure".
According to former Navy pilot Ryan Graves, a 100-yard red square craft approached and hovered over Vandenberg AFB in 2003.
“This object remained for about 45 seconds or so before darting off over the mountain, Graves said. “There was a similar event within 24 hours later in the evening.”
The number of different UAP shapes and sizes is astounding, and the intrusions on our airspace are done without regard to our military presence. Finally, Congress is starting to take back control of the military industrial complex they have created.
The hearing on July 26th was an important step towards greater transparency about UAPs. It remains to be seen what further actions Congress will take to address this issue.