Last December’s revelation that the Department of Defense funded an in-house investigation into the UFO phenomenon continues to hold the interest of representatives in Washington, with yet another lawmaker saying that a congressional investigation should be conducted to determine the nature of the exotic, unexplained objects that continue to be spotted by professional observers. This new call for an investigation came from Ami Bera (Democrat, California), and was seconded by both Randy Hultgren (Republican, Illinois) and Mary Lynne Dittmar.
During the second panel discussion during Politico’s "Space: The Launch Event", moderator Bryan Bender asked the panel what their thoughts were regarding the recent unveiling of the Pentagon’s $22 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, and the credible reports being made by professional observers, pointing out that "other countries take [UFOs] more seriously."
Representative Bera, of whom is currently the ranking member of the House Science Subcommittee on Space, replied that the subject certainly piqued his interest, saying "I’ve actually talked to the chairman of the subcommittee, Brian Babin, as well as Lamar Smith, the chairman of the full committee. I said we ought to have a hearing on this, right?"
"We don’t know what these phenomena are. Obviously, it’s important enough to allocate some funds and we ought to talk about what we can talk about."
Hultgren, of whom is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, agreed with Bera, saying that "It definitely piques interest. It gets people engaged… I don’t think it should be the priority of our focus, but certainly we want to get answers," admitting that the subject of UFOs is "one of those areas we just don’t understand."
Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, added that the point of science was to investigate phenomena that we don’t understand, and that "if there really are things buzzing around in the skies that we don’t understand, then we should take a look at it."
This isn’t the first call for a congressional hearing into UFOs: former Nevada Senator Harry Reid discussed the need for a new investigation during a January 2018 interview with George Knapp, pointing out that the funding required for such a research project would be a drop in the bucket compared to the vast resources allocated to the Defense Department. Reid was one of the key players that procured funding for the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program in 2007, shuttered in 2012 after the program was de-funded.