A House panel will hold an open congressional hearing next Tuesday about UFOs for the first time in over 50 years.
It will focus on a Pentagon program that was established last year after the US intelligence community released a preliminary assessment on 144 reports of “unidentified aerial phenomena” since 2004 – and could explain only one.
The House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation will hold the public hearing on May 17 at 10 a.m. ET. It will be followed by a closed, classified hearing on the Pentagon program, known as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group.
The two witnesses are Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security Ronald S. Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott W. Bray.
“The American people expect and deserve their leaders in government and intelligence to seriously evaluate and respond to any potential national security risks – especially those we do not fully understand,” said Indiana Democratic Rep. André Carson, the chairman of the subcommittee holding the hearing, in a statement.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, added that the hearing would “give the public an opportunity to hear directly from subject matter experts and leaders in the Intelligence Community on one of the greatest mysteries of our time, and to break the cycle of excessive secrecy and speculation with truth and transparency.”
The New York Times first reported on the hearing.
In a briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the Defense Department will try to “make sure we have a better process for identifying these phenomena, analyzing that information in a more proactive, coordinated way than it’s been done in the past.” He said the Pentagon will also attempt to “mitigate any safety issues” that arise since “many of these phenomena” are reported near training areas.
But Arkansas GOP Rep. Rick Crawford, the top Republican on the relevant House Intelligence subcommittee, called into question the Democrats’ move to hold the hearing considering other national security concerns.
“With China and Russia developing hypersonic weapons and the Biden administration leaking alleged US military operations in Ukraine, we have far more serious intelligence threats than flying saucers,” Crawford said.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Ellie Kaufman contributed to this report.