Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
No more sweeping sightings of unidentified flying objects under the rug.
That’s what Sen. Martin Heinrich and a few other senators are hoping for. The bipartisan group last week introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would create an office tasked with collecting and reporting data related to unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs – essentially, UFOs.
The Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office would be part of the Department of Defense and work in coordination with the Department of National Intelligence, according to officials in Heinrich’s office.
The office would establish a reporting process to collect UFO-related data from across the Defense Department and intelligence agencies, develop intelligence collection plans and science plans and produce an unclassified annual report and briefings to Congress. The amendment would also create an advisory committee to oversee the office.
An amendment creating the office is being proposed as an addition to the Defense Authorization Act for the coming fiscal year, which is being debated by Congress.
“The American people deserve transparency when it comes to UAPs – especially given the national security implications,” Heinrich said in a statement to the Journal. “To do that, we need to elevate this issue within our defense and intelligence agencies so they have the mandate to focus not only on what is happening in our skies, but also on relaying these findings to the American people. By creating this new office within the Department of Defense, we start taking a critical, unified approach to collecting and reporting UAP data, ending the previous cycle of sweeping these sightings under the rug.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y, sponsored the amendment, and Heinrich and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., are cosponsoring it. Gillibrand said in an interview with Politico that she didn’t expect any opposition to the proposal, which also calls for research into any health effects or materials connected with the sightings. A similar amendment was included in the same bill that cleared the House.
Douglas Johnson, a contributing researcher for The Scientific Coalition for UAP studies, said the coalition is supporting the amendment, which he said marked a significant moment for UFO research.
“This has never happened before. Congress has never proposed mandating the executive branch to address the phenomena,” he said. “We think it’s significant Congress is taking this step and we think it is necessary.”
The amendment isn’t the first time Heinrich has expressed an interest in UFOs.
A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Heinrich supported a provision in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 that calls on the UAP Task Force and the Office of Naval Intelligence to standardize the collection and reporting on UAP data.
New Mexico’s senior senator has also expressed an interest in trying to learn more about strange sightings in several interviews.
In May, he was approached while walking alone by a videographer for TMZ, who asked Heinrich about UFOs and aliens.
Heinrich said he was intrigued by news reports that included government videos and interviews with retired Navy pilots who recalled encountering what they thought were strange, possibly otherworldly aircraft, and that he wanted to get to the bottom of the sightings.
The tabloid news outlet asked Heinrich what would be more alarming: if the apparent aircraft belonged to a foreign government, or to aliens?
“Oh, option B. Much bigger thing to worry about,” Heinrich said.
“If there is a foreign government that had these kinds of capabilities, I think we would see other indications of advanced technology,” he continued. “I cannot imagine that what has been described or shown in some of the videos belongs to any government I’m aware of.”