May 17, 2022
Congress holds historic open hearing on UFOs 5/17/22 Transcript
House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee hold an open hearing on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena on 5/17/22. Read the transcript here.
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Mr. Carson: (00:00)
A national security threat to be monitored and investigated. In 2017, we learned for the first time that the Department of defense had quietly restarted a similar organization tracking what we now call Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs. Last year, Congress rewrote the charter for that organization now called the Airborne Object Identification and Management. Synchronization Group or AOIMSG for short. Today, we will bring that organization out of the shadows. This hearing and oversight work has a simple idea at its core. Unidentified aerial phenomena are a potential national security threat, and they need to be treated that way. For too long the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis, pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. It’s true, but they are real. They need to be investigated. And many threats they pose need to be mitigated.
Mr. Carson: (01:05)
Under Secretary Moultrie, Mr. Bray, thank you for coming today. First, we need you to update us on the status of AOIMSG. The legislation creating it was passed in December, the deadline for implementation is fast approaching, but the group does not even have a name director. We need to know sirs the status of the organization and the obstacle to getting it up and running. Secondly, you have to convince the audience today, and most especially our military and civilian aviators the culture has changed. That those who report UAPs will be treated as witnesses not as crooks. Thirdly, you need to show us, Congress, and the American public whose imaginations you have captured, you are willing to follow the facts where they lead. We fear sometimes that the DOD is focused more on emphasizing what it can explain not investigating what it can.
Mr. Carson: (02:10)
I’m looking for you to assure us today that all conclusions are on the table. One final note, we are mindful today that AOIMSG is not starting from scratch. This is the third version of this task force in DOD, and civil society groups like the Mutual UFO Network, Mr. Corbell and others have been collecting data on this issue for years. I hope you’ll explain how you can leverage the knowledge and experience of our prior work on this matter to move the AOIMSG along. The last time Congress had a hearing on UAPs was half a century ago. I hope that it does not take 50 more years for Congress to hold another because transparency is desperately needed. And now turn to ranking member Crawford for comments he’d like to make.
Mr. Crawford: (02:56)
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Honorable Moultrie, Mr. Bray, thank you for coming here today, we appreciate it to begin the open dialogue between Congress and the executive branch on this important topic. While this topic evokes creative imaginations of many, aside from all the hype and speculation, there are important underlying issues posed by UAPs. Despite the serious nature of this topic, I have to say I’m more interested in our understanding of Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapon development or understanding why this administration was so slow to share actionable intelligence with the Ukrainians. However, in as much as this topic may help us better understand unknown activities of Russia and China, I am on board. The intelligence community has a serious duty to our taxpayers to prevent potential adversaries such as China and Russia from surprising us with unforeseen new technologies.
Mr. Crawford: (03:41)
As overseers of the intelligence community, this committee has an obligation to understand what you are doing to determine whether any UAPs are new technologies or not. And if they are, where are they coming from? In general, the IC spends much of its time and resources trying to understand what we call known unknowns. When it comes to foreign nations’ weapons systems and sensor, known unknowns are those features that we don’t fully understand yet. The challenge associated with UAP is that they are completely unknown and require a more expansive collection analysis effort. The intelligence community must balance addressing known threats to our national security with preventing technical surprise. We must continue to follow the facts where they lead us and ensure that there are no technical surprises. The IC must take it seriously when there are credible observations of phenomena that seem to perform in ways that could pose a threat to safe flight operations or that could be signs of a foreign adversary’s attempt to develop a strategic technological surprise against the United States.
Mr. Crawford: (04:38)
It’s also essential that our pilots and others feel they can report UAPs they observe without any stigma for doing so. This is the open unclassified portion of our hearing, we’ll have a closed classified part later. It’s important for the public to know that the classification of information exists to protect national security not to try to hide the truth. When we’re trying to determine if any UAPs or new technologies being developed by foreign governments, we are inevitably going to run into classified information about what new systems and technologies we do know are in the works here or abroad. But where information does not risk national security, it should be shared with our allies and the public when feasible. I hope that we can have your assurance to this end today. It’s my hope that the intelligence community will continue to try to determine the nature of UAPs we’ve observed, and we’ll keep Congress fully apprised of all developments. I look forward to this hearing and continued dialogue and oversight with the intelligence community on this topic. With that, I yield back.
Mr. Carson: (05:34)
Gentlemen yields back and now we’ll turn to our distinguished chairman Adam Schiff for any comments he wishes to make.
Adam Schiff: (05:39)
Thank you Chairman Carson for holding this open hearing on unidentified aerial phenomenon and for your leadership on this issue. Holding a portion of our discussion today an open session is critical to the cause of transparency and openness, which was Congress’s intent in authorizing and funding this new task force. The larger effort that is being undertaken to study and characterize UAP reports is an important step towards understanding these phenomenon, what we know and don’t know. And I look forward to hearing more during both the open session and the closed setting about how DOD and the IC are undertaking that task. UAP reports have been around for decades, and yet we haven’t had an orderly way for them to be reported without stigma and to be investigated. That needs to change. UAP reports need to be understood as a national security matter. And that message needs to go out across DOD, the IC, and the whole of the US government.
Adam Schiff: (06:35)
When we spot something we don’t understand or can’t identify in our airspace, it’s the job of those we entrust with our national security to investigate and to report back. That is why it’s important that we hold this open hearing for the public to hear directly from the Department of Defense on the steps it’s taking to track, analyze, and transparently communicate the work that is being done on this issue. It is also the responsibility of our government and this panel to share as much as we can with the American people since excessive secrecy only breeds distrust and speculation. I look forward to hearing how the UAP task force is being stood up, what challenges they still face and how this committee can make sure the taskforce is able to shed light on one of the world’s most enduring mysteries.
Adam Schiff: (07:20)
I thank you gentlemen for your work and I’ll very interested to hear what you have to say. To me among the most fascinating questions, are these phenomenon that we can measure, that is instruments report there is something there, it is not the human eye confusing objects in the sky, there is something there measurable by multiple instruments? And yet it seems to move in directions that are inconsistent with what we know of physics or science more broadly. And that to me poses questions of tremendous interest and as well as potential national security significance. So we look forward to hearing what you’re able to report to us today in open session, and I want to thank Chairman Carson again for his extraordinary leadership on this issue. And I yield back.
Mr. Carson: (08:09)
Chairman yields back, thank you. With that, we will start our hearing under Secretary Moultrie, the floor is yours sir.
Ronald Moultrie: (08:15)
Thank you. Chairman Schiff, Committee Chairman Carson, ranking member Crawford, distinguished members of the subcommittee, it’s a privilege to be here with you today to address your questions regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon or UAP. I’m pleased to be joined by Mr. Scott Bray, the deputy director of Naval intelligence who will speak to the Navy’s unidentified aerial phenomenon task force which laid the foundation for the efforts we will discuss today. First, I’d like to thank Congress for supporting the department’s UAP efforts. The NDAA for fiscal year 2022 has helped us to establish a dedicated office to oversee processes and procedures for the timely collection, processing, analysis and reporting of UAP related data. What are UAP? Put simply, UAP are airborne objects that when encountered cannot be immediately identified. However, it is the department’s contention that by combining appropriately structured collected data with rigorous scientific analysis any object that we encounter can likely be as isolated, characterized, identified, and if necessary mitigated. We know that our service members have encountered unidentified aerial phenomenon. And because UAPs pose potential flight safety and general security risk, we are committed to a focused effort to determine their origins. Our effort will include the thorough examination of adversarial platforms and potential breakthrough technologies, us government or commercial platforms, allied or partner systems and other natural phenomenon. We also understand that there has been a cultural stigma surrounding UAP. Our goal is to eliminate the stigma by fully incorporating our operators and mission personnel into a standardized data-gathering process. We believe that making UAP reporting a mission imperative will be instrumental to the effort success. The defense intelligence and security enterprise provides real-time support to our war fighters and mission personnel across all domains. To optimize the department’s UAP work, we are establishing an office within this Office of the Secretary of Defense. That office’s function is clear, to facilitate the identification of previously unknown or unidentified airborne objects in methodical, logical, and standardized manner.
Ronald Moultrie: (10:48)
These goals will ensure that we are working closely with operational personnel on training and reporting requirements, developing data and intelligence requirements, standardizing and integrating processes and procedures for collection, operational surveillance, analysis and reporting, leveraging our research and development capabilities to improve detection, characterization, and identification of UAPs, developing mitigating solutions and procedures and identifying strategy and policy solutions. This effort will maximize collaboration and build upon already existing relationships with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FAA, DHS, and the FBI.
Ronald Moultrie: (11:29)
We are also committed to strong partnerships with the Department of Energy NOAA, the DEA, NASA, and the National Labs, and just as importantly, our international partners and allies. With regard to the importance of transparency, the department is fully committed to the principle of openness and accountability to the American people. However, we are also mindful of our obligation to protect sensitive sources and methods. Our goal is to strike that delicate balance, one that enables us to maintain the public’s trust while preserving those capabilities that are vital to support of our service personnel. In closing, the department is committed to this effort and welcomes the challenge. We thank you for your committed support and look forward to your questions.
Scott Bray: (12:23)
Chairman Schiff, Chairman Carson, ranking member Crawford, and committee members, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today to highlight the ongoing work of the Department of Defense regarding unidentified aerial phenomena. Since the early 2000s, we have seen an increasing number of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft or objects in military controlled training areas and training ranges and other designated airspace. Reports of sightings are frequent and continuing. We attribute this increase in reporting to a number of factors, including our work to destigmatize reporting, an increase in the number of new systems such as quadcopters and unmanned aerial systems that are in our airspace. Identification of what we can classify as clutter, mylar balloons and other types of air trash and improvements in the capabilities of our various sensors to detect things in our airspace.
Scott Bray: (13:14)
Almost two years ago in August of 2020, deputy secretary of defense Norquist directed the establishment of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena task force within the department of the Navy. The UAP task force was built on the foundation of the Navy’s initial efforts to respond to the reports from our aviators on unidentified objects observed in our training ranges. The basic issues then and now are twofold. First, incursions in our training ranges by unidentified objects represent serious hazards to safety of flight. In every aspect of Naval aviation safety of our air crews is paramount. Second, intrusions by unknown aircraft or objects pose potential threats to the security of our operations.
Scott Bray: (13:56)
Our aviators train as they would fight. So any intrusions that may compromise the security of our operations by revealing our capabilities, our tactics, techniques or procedures are of great concern to the Navy and the Department of Defense. From the very beginning, we took these reports very seriously. We instituted a data-driven approach to the investigations where we could collect as much data as possible and use all available resources to analyze and make informed decisions on the best ways to address our findings. Our main objective was to transition UAP efforts from an anecdotal or narrative based approach to a rigorous science and technology engineering focused study.
Scott Bray: (14:41)
This data driven approach requires input from a wide variety of sources. In the early stages, the task force worked to standardize the reporting mechanisms and processes to make it as easy as possible for personnel to report any engagement so that we were getting that wide range of reporting that we needed. We also spent considerable efforts engaging directly with our Naval aviators and building relationships to help destigmatize the active reporting sightings or encounters. And we worked with Naval aviation leadership to provide additional equipment to record any encounter. Navy and Air Force crews now have step-by-step procedures for reporting on UAP on their kneeboard in the cockpit and in their post flight debrief procedures. The direct result of those efforts has been increased reporting with increased opportunities to focus on number of sensors on any objects.
Scott Bray: (15:34)
The message is now clear, if you see something, you need to report it. And the message has been received. In fact, recently, I received a call from a senior Naval aviator with over 2,000 flight hours. He called me personally from the flight line after landing to talk about an encounter that he had just experienced. Those were just the initial steps. We also made a concerted effort to assemble subject matter experts from across the Department of Defense and the intelligence community and other US government agencies and departments. We forged partnerships with the research development and acquisition communities, with industry partners, and with academic research labs. And we brought many allies and international partners into our discussions on UAP.
Scott Bray: (16:15)
Additionally, subject matter experts from a wide variety of fields, including physics, optics, metallurgy, meteorology, just to name a few have been brought in to expand our understanding in areas where we may not have organic expertise. In short, we’ve endeavored to bring an all hands-on deck approach to better understand this phenomena. So what have we learned so far? Any given observation may be fleeting or longer, it may be recorded or not. It may be observable by one or multiple assets. In short, there’s rarely an easy answer. For example, let me share with you the first video that we have here today which shows an observation in real time.
Scott Bray: (17:00)
There it was. In many cases, that’s all that a report may include. And in many other cases, we have far less than this. As we detailed in both the unclassified and classified versions of the preliminary assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last June, this often limited amount of high quality data and reporting hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP. As detailed in the ODNI report, if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved, they likely fall into one of five potential explanatory categories, airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, US government or US industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems or a other bin that allows for a holding bin of difficult cases and for the possibility of surprise and potential scientific discovery. We stand by those initial results.
Scott Bray: (18:06)
Since the release of that preliminary report, UAP task force database has now grown to contain approximately 400 reports. The stigma has been reduced. We’ve also made progress in resolving the character of a limited number of UAP encounters. For example, let me show you another video and image taken years apart in different areas. In this video, US Navy personnel recorded what appears to be a triangle, some flashing recorded several years ago off the coast of the United States. This was recorded while the US Navy ship observed a number of small unmanned aerial systems in the area. And importantly, the video was taken through night vision goggles with a single lens reflex camera. These remained unresolved for several years. Several years later and off a different coast, US Navy personnel again in a swarm of unmanned aerial systems and again through night vision goggles and an SLR camera recorded this image. But this time the other US Navy assets also observed unmanned aerial systems nearby and were now reasonably confident that these triangles correlate to unmanned aerial systems in the area. The triangular appearance is a result of light passing through the night vision goggles and then being recorded by an SLR camera. I don’t mean to suggest that everything that we observe is identifiable, but this is a great example of how it takes considerable effort to understand what we’re seeing in the examples that we are able to collect. In this example, we accumulate efficient data from two similar encounters from two different time periods in two different geographic areas to help us draw these conclusions.
Scott Bray: (20:20)
That’s not always the case though. We recognize that can be unsatisfying or insufficient in the eyes of many. This is a popular topic in our nation with various theories as to what these objects may be and where they originate. By nature, we are all curious and we seek to understand the unknown. And as a lifelong intelligence professional, I’m impatient, I want immediate explanations for this as much as anyone else. However, understanding can take significant time and effort. It’s why we’ve endeavored to concentrate on this data-driven process, to drive fact-based results. And given the nature of our business, national defense, we’ve had to sometimes be less forthcoming with information and open forums than many would hope.
Scott Bray: (21:03)
If UAP do indeed represent a potential threat to our security, then the capabilities, systems, processes, and sources we use to observe recorded study or analyze these phenomena need to be classified at appropriate levels. We do not want, we do not want potential adversaries to know exactly what we’re able to see or understand or how we come to the conclusions we make. Therefore public disclosures must be carefully considered on a case by case basis. So what’s next? We’re concentrating on a seamless transition to the new organization and future analysis of complicated issues of UAP issues will greatly benefit from the infrastructure of the process and the procedures that we’ve developed to date. I’m confident that the task force under Navy leadership has forged a path forward that will allow us to anchor assessments in science and engineering vice anecdotal evidence. We remain committed to that goal as I know the USDI organization does as well. So thank you very much for your interest in continuing support for the UAP task force
Scott Bray: (22:03)
So, thank you very much for your interest and continuing support for the UAP task force. The team’s made a lot of progress, but we really are just establishing the foundation for the more detailed analysis that’s yet to be done. And with your continued support, we can sustain that momentum necessary to produce data-centric analysis in understanding the phenomena. I look forward to your question. Thank you.
Mr. Carson: (22:18)
Thank you, Mr. Bray. This is the third version of this task force, and to be Frank, one of Congress’s concerns is that the executive branch, in administration from both parties, has been sweeping concerns about UAP’s under the rug by focusing on events that can be explained and avoiding events that cannot be explained. What can you say to give the American people confidence that you aren’t just focusing our attention on low hanging fruit with easy explanations?
Ronald Moultrie: (22:58)
Congressman, I’ll start, and then Mr. Bray, please feel free to weigh in. So, the way that we’re approaching this is with a more thorough standardized methodology than what we had in the past. First and foremost, the Secretary of Defense is chartering this effort. This is not someone lower in the Department of Defense. And he has assigned that task to the Office of Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary for Intelligence Security, that’s me, because I’m responsible for looking at intelligence matters, I’m responsible for security matters. This is potentially both. So, when you start concerning ourselves with the safety of our personnel, the safety of our installations and bases, there’s no other higher priority than what we have than actually getting after this.
Ronald Moultrie: (23:46)
And as you have stated, we have been assigned that task to actually stand up an office. The AOIMSG, which I believe the name, sir, will likely change, but we have moved forward in terms of moving to establish that office. We have, as of this week, picked the director for that effort. Very established and accomplished individual. We’ve identified spaces. We’ve worked with personnel across the Department of Defense, with the services, and we’ve worked with the IC, which is on board in helping us work through this standardized methodology for now bringing in data, analyzing that data, and reporting that data in the appropriate method appropriate means so we can either get it to our service personnel to ensure their safety or get it to you and the Congress and to the public to ensure that you have oversight to what we’re doing. So, chartered by the Secretary of Defense, standardized, and really, a methodical approach. It’s something that we’re doing that has not been done before.
Mr. Carson: (24:52)
Can we get some kinds of assurances that your analysts will follow the facts where they lead and assess all hypotheses?
Ronald Moultrie: (25:00)
Absolutely. So, we’re open to all hypotheses. We’re open to any conclusions that we may encounter.
Mr. Carson: (25:08)
Quickly, before I pass it to the ranking member and Chairman Schiff, I want to thank you both for taking the time, and I had a good time meeting with you last week, Under Secretary Moultrie. It’s fair to say that you are a science fiction fan, is that correct?
Ronald Moultrie: (25:26)
It’s fair to say that I am an inquisitive mind who has spent 40 years in the intelligence field and has focused on both science and science fiction. That is fair.
Mr. Carson: (25:37)
Could you tell us about it?
Ronald Moultrie: (25:38)
Yeah. Well, look, my generation grew up looking at space sagas and the Apollo program, so all of us who grew up in the ’60s were just thrilled by watching our first astronaut land on the moon. That was a momentous occasion to people who were of different generations. Some of them didn’t believe that happened. I still have relatives and friends who don’t believe it happened. Right? Science fiction to them. But to us, it was… No, that’s the progress that we’ve made. And so, I was enthralled by that and I’ve taken that to heart. I enjoy the challenge of what may be out there.
Ronald Moultrie: (26:19)
I have mentioned to you that, yes, I have followed science fiction. I have gone to conventions. Even I’ll say it on the record. Got to break the ice somehow. But I have done that. Right? But there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t necessarily dress up. But I do believe that it’s important to show that the Department of Defense has… We have character, and we’re people just like you, just like the American people. We have our inquisitiveness, we have our questions. We want to know what’s out there as much as you want to know what’s out there. We get the questions not just from you, we get it from family members and we get them night and day, not just in committee hearings. So, finding what’s out there is important, but first, and foremost, it’s important for us to do that so that we can ensure that our people, our personnel, our aviators, our bases and installations are safe. And then that curiosity factor is something else that we just want to know because that’s the human race. It’s just that insatiable desire to know.
Mr. Carson: (27:22)
Thank you, sir. Ranking Member Crawford?
Mr. Crawford: (27:25)
Mr. Moultrie, you said you don’t necessarily dress up. That wasn’t a real strong statement. Gentlemen, thank you for being here today. We appreciate it. And thank you, Mr. Moultrie, for breaking the ice the way you did. Appreciate that. The inability to understand objects in our sensitive operating areas is tantamount to an intelligence failure that we certainly want to avoid. This is not about finding alien spacecraft, but about delivering dominant intelligence across the tactical, operational, and strategic spectrum. So, my question is how can AIMSG lead to prevention of intelligence surprises?
Ronald Moultrie: (28:04)
Sure. I’ll start with that. So, the goal of our effort is to integrate it into what we already do on a normal basis, which is look for the unknown unknowns, congressman, as you stated in your opening remarks, across all domains. So, we’ve been doing this for decades. We’ve been looking at the space domain, looking at space objects, looking at space weather, looking at space phenomena. We’ve been looking at things in the air domain. As you know, we… And I’ll talk more about this in classified session. But we have a very concerted effort to understand adversarial platforms and adversarial developmental programs, and we do that also in the ground domain. And of course, we’re very interested in what happens in the underwater or sea domain, if you will, subsurface domain.
Ronald Moultrie: (28:48)
So, if there are objects that are aviators or air crews are encountering in this air domain and their sensors are discovering or detecting some of these objects, we want to just bring that in to the normal process that we have for identifying unknown unknowns. We want to make sure we have the intelligence requirements that allow us not only to look at that event from the time that it occurs forward, but maybe, retrospectively, we want to go back and see if we can get to the left of that event to say, “Was there some developmental program that we,” to get to your technical surprise issue, sir, “that we should have known about? And if so, how do we put that intelligence requirement in place to ensure that we are following an adversarial development or any other development that may be out there?” So, that’s what we want to do in terms of normalizing this and bringing it into the normal process of how we identify unknown unknowns.
Mr. Crawford: (29:44)
So, you mentioned fidelity, and I think it’s important to talk about the relationship from… The Navy is the lead agency on this. How do you interact with Space Force, Air Force to create that degree of fidelity? We’re talking about the sensors and so on. And I guess, where I have some concerns that many of the images that we see commonly in this committee, and even in open source, the resolution and the clarity that would allow a robust technical intelligence analysis is challenging. So is, AIMSG prepared to address the quality and quantity of data collected on UAP to advance intelligence collection, and do you have the adequate sensors you need to collect that high quality data?
Ronald Moultrie: (30:29)
One of the lines of effort that we have is looking at our sensor capabilities and to understand whether or not, as the video show that Mr. Bray displayed, sometimes it’s very fleeting data that we have on some of these objects. And we want to make sure that, one, our systems are calibrated to actually be able to collect on the objects. Our sensors today, they’re calibrated for specific things. We want to make sure they’re calibrated for things of this nature, things of this size, things of this velocity, if I can use that term. We want to make sure that once we have that, that that data is stored in some standardized method that we can then extract and that we can feed into our system real-time. So, we do not want this to take some prolonged period of time for us to get that data.
Ronald Moultrie: (31:16)
But our goal is absolutely to have that high fidelity information that we get from all sensors, and we want to be able to integrate that with what we may have off of ground-based sensors. So, whatever we may have on a platform, whatever we may have on the ground, whatever we may have from other sensors that we may have in different domains, we want to be able to integrate that all and get this integrated picture as we would, as I said, with any other unidentified objects or things that we are tracking as a part of our normal intelligence responsibilities.
Mr. Crawford: (31:44)
Thank you. Last question. Mr. Bray, if you would… I’m a Navy pilot, I’ve encountered a UAP. Walk me through the reporting protocol once I see something that I think needs reported.
Scott Bray: (31:58)
The first thing that that aviator would do after landing as a part of their normal debriefing is they would contact their intelligence officer. Their intelligence officer would then walk them through first filing a… first, actually, data preservation to ensure that whatever sensor data may be on the aircraft, that we preserve that so that it’s available for later analysis.
Scott Bray: (32:21)
Second, they would actually fill out a form that includes details like where they were operating, altitudes they were operating, speeds, what they observed, whatever sensor data they may have recorded from that. And then that report is filed. It goes two places. One, it goes through the operational chain of command so that operational units are aware of what’s being observed, and also through the UAP task force so that they can take that data, database it, and, quite often, have individuals from the task force contact the aviator and ask them additional questions if there were things that weren’t clear in the report. That then goes into a database where we be able to compare it with other observations that we have. Again, comparing for locations, comparing for altitudes, speeds, shapes, if any RF emissions were detected from the platform, all of that, so that we can try to reach some conclusions on that.
Mr. Crawford: (33:25)
Thank you. Yield back.
Mr. Carson: (33:27)
Gentleman yields back. Chairman Schiff?
Adam Schiff: (33:29)
Thanks, chairman. Mr. Bray, can you rerun that first image that looked like it was outside of a plane window? And if you wouldn’t mind going up to the screen and tell us what we’re seeing. Not that you can necessarily tell us what we’re seeing, but explain what we should be looking at in that first image.
Scott Bray: (33:48)
Absolutely. And Alexi, what I’ll ask is if you can stop it at a certain point.
Adam Schiff: (34:23)
And are we looking outside of a civilian aircraft window? Is that what we’re looking at?
Scott Bray: (34:28)
You’re looking outside a US Navy F-18.
Adam Schiff: (34:31)
Scott Bray: (34:32)
And [inaudible 00:34:39] shows how difficult the analysis is. Go just little farther forward, Alexi. As you can see, [inaudible 00:35:17]. What you’ll find eventually on this, when we find the right frame [inaudible 00:35:22] frame here [inaudible 00:35:25] right through here [inaudible 00:35:31] the aircraft [inaudible 00:35:33].
Adam Schiff: (35:38)
Is that it right there?
Scott Bray: (35:40)
Adam Schiff: (35:43)
Can you point to the screen again what we’re supposed to be looking at?
Scott Bray: (36:24)
Adam Schiff: (36:26)
Okay. If you could stop that frame.
Scott Bray: (36:28)
[inaudible 00:36:28] that’s not the one.
Adam Schiff: (36:28)
That’s not the one.
Scott Bray: (36:46)
[inaudible 00:36:46]. Everyone will see coming up right here is a [inaudible 00:36:55]. No, back up just a little bit. A spherical object right here, zooms by the window right in this area right here. There we go. Could you see that part right there again going by? I think we’re having a hard time stopping at the right spot.
Adam Schiff: (37:26)
Scott Bray: (37:26)
So, as you can see, it’s difficult… And I think part of the issue here is the laptop we’re working with is not as easy for us stopping that video in the right spot.
Adam Schiff: (37:37)
Well, describe what we have seen in that. What are we observing?
Scott Bray: (37:42)
What you see here is aircraft that is operating in a US Navy training range that has observed spherical object in that area, and as they fly by it, they take a video. You see a… It looks reflective in this video, somewhat reflective, and it quickly passes by the cockpit of the aircraft.
Adam Schiff: (38:10)
And is this one of the phenomenon that we can’t explain?
Scott Bray: (38:13)
I do not have an explanation for what this specific object is.
Adam Schiff: (38:19)
And is this one of the situations where it is… That’s the object that we’re looking at right there? Thank you. And is this a situation where it was observed by the pilot and it was also recorded by the aircraft’s instruments?
Scott Bray: (38:35)
We’ll talk about the multi-sensor part in a later session, but in this case, we have at least that.
Adam Schiff: (38:47)
In the Director of National Intelligence 2021 unclassified report, the ODNI reported 144 UAPs between 2004 and 2021, 80% of which were recorded on multiple instruments. And I take it, with respect to some of those, you had a pilot, seeing them, if it was observed by a pilot, and you had multiple instruments recording it. So, you really have three sensors: the human sensor, and two technical sensors detecting the object, is that right?
Scott Bray: (39:24)
For the majority of incidents that we had in last year’s report, the majority had multi-sensor data. When I talk about the 400 reports that we have now, that number will certainly go down because a lot of those new reports that we have are actually historic reports that are narrative-based, so that percentage will go down just as a factor of the fact that the de-stigmatization has resulted in more narrative reports.
Adam Schiff: (39:53)
And that’s the object we’re looking at right there now, right?
Scott Bray: (39:55)
That’s it right there.
Adam Schiff: (39:56)
Okay. Last year’s report also said that of those a 144, 18 of them reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics, appear to demonstrate advanced technology, and some of them appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed without discernible means of propulsion. That’s pretty intriguing. And if you’re able to answer this in this setting, are we aware of any foreign adversary capable of moving objects without any discernible means of propulsion?
Scott Bray: (40:48)
Without discernible means of propulsion, I would say that we’re not aware of any adversary that can move an object without discernible means of propulsion. The question then becomes in many of these cases where we don’t have a discernible mean of propulsion in the data that we have, in some cases, there is likely sensor artifacts that may be hiding some of that. There’s certainly some degree of something that looks like signature management that we have seen from some of these UAP, but I would caution, I would simply say that there are a number of events in which we do not have an explanation, in which… And there are a small handful in which there are flight characteristics or signature management that we can’t explain with the data that we have.
Scott Bray: (41:40)
Those are obviously the ones that are of most interest to us. Earlier, when we asked about how you avoid technological surprise, the biggest way you avoid technological surprise is by collecting this type of data and by, importantly, calibrating the assumptions that you go into with how you do that analysis. I’ll tell you within the UAP task force, we have one basic assumption, and that is that, generally speaking, generally speaking, our sensors operate as designed. And we make that assumption because, many times, these are multi-sensor collections. We make no assumptions about the origin of this or that there may or may not be some sort of technology that we don’t understand. That’s, I think, the key to avoiding technological surprises by calibrating those assumptions.
Adam Schiff: (42:24)
And finally, with respect to the second two videos showing the small triangles, the hypothesis is that those are commercial drones that, because of the use of night vision goggles, appear like triangles, is that the operating assessment?
Scott Bray: (42:43)
Some type of drone. Some type of unmanned aerial system. And it is simply that that light source resolves itself through the night vision goggles onto the SLR camera as a triangle.
Adam Schiff: (42:58)
And have we, in order to prove that hypothesis, flown a drone and observed it with that same technology to see whether we can reproduce the effect?
Scott Bray: (43:10)
UAP task force is aware of studies that have done that.
Adam Schiff: (43:12)
Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Carson: (43:16)
Gentlemen yields back. Dr. Winstrop?
Dr. Winstrop: (43:20)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for being here. My first question is through this process where there’s been sightings, have the sightings been stationary, or have they always been cited from a moving object, from a plane or a ship that may be moving? Have these reports ever come from a stationary object being observed in the sky?
Scott Bray: (43:48)
The UAP task force does have reports from a stationary observer.
Dr. Winstrop: (43:56)
Okay. Because there’s a difference observing something when you’re moving, as well. It’s physics, right? That’s why I asked that question. Are we capable-
Dr. Winstrop: (44:03)
Scott Bray: (44:03)
Dr. Winstrop: (44:03)
That’s why I asked that question. Are we capable or have we made any breakthroughs or anyone made any breakthroughs to be able to cite something and make some determination at all of its composition, whether it’s a solid or a gas? Is there any such capability?
Scott Bray: (44:25)
Dr. Winstrop: (44:25)
I’m not asking what I’m just-
Scott Bray: (44:27)
From some of the returns, I mean, it’s clear that the majority … Well, it’s clear that many of the observations we have are physical objects from the sensor data that we have.
Dr. Winstrop: (44:38)
Well, gas is a physical object. It can be. Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m trying to determine what it is we’re looking at so if we can decide if something is a solid or a gas. And have there have been any conclusion on its capabilities, like it’s capabilities of movement, of turning, going 180 degrees, or 90 degree turn, anything along that line that we’ve been able to determine?
Scott Bray: (45:04)
Within the … And again, I should point out that that there is not a single explanation for UAP. They make up … There are a lot of different things that are unidentified phenomenon.
Dr. Winstrop: (45:15)
Basically, we really don’t know much on that. That’s all I’m trying to get at. And I’m pleased that you have protocol right now for our military, but are there any non-military reports coming forward of similar events, or is it all coming from military?
Scott Bray: (45:30)
The UAP task force has a very good working relationship with the FAA. They have very good working relationship with other parts of the USs government so that we can ingest reports from those sources.
Dr. Winstrop: (45:41)
Do we have any reports, non-military?
Scott Bray: (45:44)
Dr. Winstrop: (45:45)
Thank you. That’s my question. And do we need to put out protocol for civilians that may be in that arena, like through FAA? Do you think that would be appropriate and helpful?
Scott Bray: (45:56)
I think standardized the reporting without a doubt is key to helping us get to ascertain what some of these are.
Dr. Winstrop: (46:04)
I think it would be important as well. There are other people besides the US that have had these experiences and reported them, is that correct?
Scott Bray: (46:15)
There are. That’s correct.
Dr. Winstrop: (46:17)
Is it all of our allies or is it allies and adversaries? What have we learned publicly?
Ronald Moultrie: (46:24)
So some of that, I think, sir, we’ll save for closed session.
Dr. Winstrop: (46:28)
Well, that goes to my next question. Publicly, have others made anything which would not have to be considered closed? I don’t want you to answer what they’ve said necessarily.
Scott Bray: (46:38)
Allies have seen these. China has established its own version of a UAP task force. So clearly a number of countries have observations of things in the airspace that they can’t identify.
Dr. Winstrop: (46:50)
And do we share data with some, with all, are they sharing with us?
Scott Bray: (46:58)
We share data with some and some share data with us.
Dr. Winstrop: (47:02)
But not necessarily all that have publicly reported something?
Scott Bray: (47:05)
Dr. Winstrop: (47:06)
Okay. And I think that’s an important thing and for the other session, actually that we don’t discuss that now because obviously something like this can be a national security challenge for us, and no doubt about it. If they’re developed by an adversary through some breakthrough technology, they can be very disruptive to our military actions or at least serve as a destruction. So my caution would be, be careful who we share our data with and don’t necessarily trust some of the data we may get from someone else. And with that, a yield back.
Mr. Chairman: (47:50)
Gentlemen yields back. Mr. Himes.
Jim Himes: (47:55)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. One of the objectives of this open hearing is to try to erode some of the stigma that attaches to, in particular, our military men and women reporting this. It’s obviously really very serious because should one of our adversaries have developed a technology that we don’t know about it, we need to know about it yesterday. And obviously any sort of stigma that prevents our military from reporting this data as comprehensively as possible is a national security threat. So I really just have two questions in the service of that goal. The first is the chairman asked that we run that video again. Most people when they see a video, we’re all used to seeing things from a car, seeing things from a sidewalk, very few people have the experience of observing something through night vision goggles at Mach 1.5. So just talk for a minute about if you would, whichever of you is most appropriate, how radically different observation is at high speed in three dimension than it is for most of us who walk around and drive cars.
Scott Bray: (49:04)
So the first thing I think that’s important to note about this is there are lots of things when you are moving very fast and an object is between you and a stationary reference point like the ground, it gives a lot of different impressions about how quickly something is or isn’t moving. And it actually means that it is a challenge, especially with narrative-based data to get a lot of information on that. That’s why the sensor data is so important because things do happen very quickly as you see there. And sometimes things that happen very quickly, something may be moving very slow. That aircraft is moving quite fast. How fast that object is moving that goes by is probably very slow.
Jim Himes: (49:46)
So I guess my point is that an observation, either a visual observation or a electronic observation, infrared or whatever looks radically different than it does to most people. Even instruments, instruments are on gimbals and that sort of thing, so that creates a very unusual view to, again, those of us who are used to seeing things in two dimensions largely. And second question, I think Mr. Bray, you said something that I want to unpack a little bit. A number of these UAPs you said we can’t explain. Again in the service of sort of reducing speculation and conspiracy theories, we can’t explain can range from a visual observation that was distant on a foggy night, we don’t know what it is to we’ve found an organic material that we can’t identify, right? Those are radically different worlds.
Jim Himes: (50:46)
So when you say we can’t explain, give the public a little bit better sense of where on that spectrum of we can’t explain we are. Are we holding materials, organic or inorganic, that we don’t know about? Are we picking up emanations that are something other than light or infrared that it could be deemed to be communications? Give us a sense for what you mean when you say we can’t explain.
Scott Bray: (51:09)
Sure. When I say we can’t explain, I mean, exactly as you described there, that there is a lot of information like the video that we showed in which there’s simply too little data to create a reasonable explanation. There are a small handful of cases in which we have more data that our analysis simply hasn’t been able to fully pull together a picture of what happened. And those are the cases where we talk about where we see some indications of flight characteristics or signature management that are not what we had expected.
Scott Bray: (51:43)
When it comes to material that we have, we have no material, we have detected no emanations within the UAP task force that would suggest it’s anything non-terrestrial in origin. So when I say unexplained, I mean everything from too little data to the data that we have doesn’t point us towards an explanation. But we’ll go wherever the data takes us. Again, we’ve made no assumptions about what this is or isn’t. We’re committed to understanding these and so we’ll go wherever that data takes us.
Jim Himes: (52:16)
Thank you. That’s very helpful and so I think it bears emphasis. When you say we can’t explain, everything that you can’t explain is in a bucket called data, is that correct? And that would mean data collected by sensors, visual observations, everything that we can’t explain, quote-unquote, is in a bucket called data.
Scott Bray: (52:37)
Right. A narrative report from the early 2000s if it just had a little bit of information on it, it would be in our database and it would be unresolved.
Ronald Moultrie: (52:46)
I would add to that it’s insufficient data. I mean, that’s one of the challenges we have. Insufficient data either on the event itself, the object itself, or insufficient data or plugin with some other organization or agency that may have had something in that space at that time. So it’s a data issue that we’re facing in many of these instances, Congressmen.
Jim Himes: (53:07)
Understood. Thank you very much. Yield back.
Mr. Chairman: (53:09)
Gentlemen, yields back. Mr. Gallagher.
Michael Gallagher: (53:12)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for allowing me to join this hearing. I really appreciate the witnesses’ testimony. Mr. Moultrie, as the chairman mentioned, DOD had an initiative to study UFOs in the 1960s called Project Blue Book. It’s also been well reported in our briefing and in other places that we had more recent projects, specifically AATIP. Could you describe any other initiatives that the DOD or DOD contractors have managed after project Blue Book ended and prior to AATIP beginning? Did anything also predate Project Blue Book?
Ronald Moultrie: (53:48)
So I can’t speak to what may have predated Project Blue Book. I mean, of course, there’s Roswell and all these other things that people have talked about over the years. I’m familiar with Blue Book. I’m familiar with AATIP. I haven’t seen other documented studies that have been done by DOD in that regard.
Michael Gallagher: (54:07)
So you’re not aware of anything in between Project Blue Book and AATIP?
Ronald Moultrie: (54:11)
Not aware of anything that’s official that was done in between those two. It hasn’t been brought to my attention.
Michael Gallagher: (54:17)
Okay. Additionally, are you aware of any other DOD or DOD contract programs focused on UAPs from a technological engineering perspective? And by that, I mean, are you aware of any technology initiatives focused on this topic other than initiatives focused on the individual case investigations?
Ronald Moultrie: (54:35)
I am not aware of any contractual programs that are focused on anything related to this other than what we are doing in the Navy task force and what we are about to launch in terms of our effort.
Michael Gallagher: (54:48)
Same question for you, Mr. Bray.
Scott Bray: (54:51)
Same answer, not aware of anything outside what we are doing in the UAP task force.
Michael Gallagher: (54:55)
So just to confirm, you’re not aware of any technology or engineering resources that have been focused on these efforts, besides what we’ve mentioned today?
Ronald Moultrie: (55:03)
Once again, I’ll say no contractual or programmatic efforts that are involved. The reason why I qualify that-
Michael Gallagher: (55:13)
Ronald Moultrie: (55:13)
Yeah, let me qualify it that way. I can’t speak to what people may be looking at in the department. Somebody says, I’m looking at something, I’m looking at something that may be unidentified. And I can’t speak to that. I can speak to official programs that we have on the record.
Michael Gallagher: (55:26)
It’s also been reported that there have been UAP observed and interacting with and flying over sensitive military facilities, particularly, and not just ranges, but some facilities housing are strategic nuclear forces. One such incident allegedly occurred at Malmstrom Air Force Base in which 10 of our nuclear ICBMs were rendered inoperable. At the same time, a glowing red orb was observed overhead. I’m not commenting on the accuracy of this. I’m simply asking you whether you’re aware of it and whether you have any comment on the accuracy of that report.
Ronald Moultrie: (55:55)
Let me pass that to Mr. Bray. You’ve been looking at UAPs over the last three years.
Scott Bray: (55:58)
That data is not within the holdings of the UAP task force.
Michael Gallagher: (56:03)
Okay. But are you aware of the report or that the data exists somewhere?
Scott Bray: (56:09)
I have heard stories. I have not seen the official data on that.
Michael Gallagher: (56:14)
So you’ve just seen informal stories, no official assessment that you’ve done or exists within DOD that you’re aware of regarding the Malmstrom incident?
Scott Bray: (56:25)
All I can speak to is what’s within my cognizant at the UAP task force, and we have not looked at that incident.
Michael Gallagher: (56:31)
Well, I would say, I mean, it’s a pretty high profile incident. I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but that’s out there in the ether. You’re the guys investigating it. I mean, who else is doing it?
Ronald Moultrie: (56:42)
If something was officially brought to our attention, we would look at it. There are many things that are out there in the ether that aren’t officially brought to our attention.
Michael Gallagher: (56:49)
So how would it have to be officially brought to your attention? I’m bringing it to your attention.
Ronald Moultrie: (56:52)
Michael Gallagher: (56:53)
So this is pretty official.
Ronald Moultrie: (56:54)
Sure. So we’ll go back and take a look at it. But generally, there is some authoritative figure that says there is an incident that occurred, we’d like you to look at this. But in terms of just tracking what may be in the media that says that something occurred at this time at this place, there are probably be a lot of leads that we would have to follow up on. I don’t think we have the resource to do that right now.
Michael Gallagher: (57:13)
Well, I don’t claim to be an authoritative figure, but for what it’s worth, I would like you to look in into it.
Ronald Moultrie: (57:17)
Michael Gallagher: (57:17)
If for no other reason, you could dismiss it and say, this is not worth wasting resources on.
Ronald Moultrie: (57:22)
Michael Gallagher: (57:22)
And then finally, are you aware of a document that appeared around 2019 sometimes called the Admiral Wilson Memo or EW Notes memo?
Ronald Moultrie: (57:32)
I am not.
Michael Gallagher: (57:33)
Ronald Moultrie: (57:33)
Scott Bray: (57:34)
I’m not personally aware of that.
Michael Gallagher: (57:35)
Okay. This is a document in which, again, I’m not commenting on the veracity, I was hoping you would help me with that, in which a former head of DIA claims to have had a conversation with the Dr. Eric Wilson and claims to have sort of been made aware of certain contractors or DOD programs that he tried to get fuller access to and was denied access to. So you’re not aware of that?
Ronald Moultrie: (57:59)
I’m not aware, Congressman.
Michael Gallagher: (58:00)
In my 10 seconds remaining then, I guess I just would ask Mr. Chairman unanimous consent to enter that memo into the record.
Mr. Chairman: (58:08)
Michael Gallagher: (58:09)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Appreciate it.
Mr. Chairman: (58:10)
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (58:15)
Thank you, Ms. Chair, and thank you to both of you for appearing today and for your public service. First question is, there have been no collisions between any US assets in one of these UAPs, correct?
Scott Bray: (58:28)
We have not had a collision. We’ve had at least 11 near misses though.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (58:32)
And maybe we’ll talk about those 11 near misses or any place where there’s close proximity. I assume, or tell me if I’m wrong, there’s been no attempt … there’s no communications or any kind of communication signals that emanate from those objects that we’ve detected, correct?
Scott Bray: (58:56)
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (58:57)
And have we attempted to communicate with those objects?
Scott Bray: (59:02)
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (59:03)
So we don’t even put out a alert saying US, identify yourself, you are within our flight path, or something like that? We haven’t said anything like that?
Scott Bray: (59:19)
We’ve not put anything out like that. Generally speaking, for example, in the video that we showed earlier, it appears to be something that is unmanned, appears to be something that may or may not be in controlled flight, and so we’ve not attempted any communication with that.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (59:40)
Okay. And I assume we’ve never discharged any armaments against a UAP, correct?
Scott Bray: (59:47)
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (59:49)
How about wreckage, have we come across any wreckage of any kind of object that has now been examined by you?
Scott Bray: (01:00:01)
The UAP task force doesn’t have any wreckage that isn’t explainable, that isn’t consistent with being of terrestrial origin.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:00:07)
Do we have any sensors underwater to detect on submerged UAPs, anything that is in the ocean or in the seas?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:00:18)
So I think that would be more appropriately addressed in closed session, sir.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:00:21)
Okay. I think one of the biggest questions that I have is we say with a lot of probability, we say that, quote-unquote, probably do represent physical objects, close quote. When we say probably is that because we cannot conclusively say that they are physical objects?
Scott Bray: (01:00:48)
In the task force report when I say probably represent physical objects, most of them represent physical objects. There could be some that are more of a meteorological phenomena, something like that may not maybe be a physical object in the sense that most people think of something you could go up and touch.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:01:08)
But the ones where you say most of them represent physical objects, can you say that they are definitely, with a hundred percent certainty that they are physical objects?
Scott Bray: (01:01:19)
I can say with certainty that a number of these are physical objects.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:01:23)
Okay. So we can’t rule out that some of them may not be physical objects?
Scott Bray: (01:01:28)
Some certainly could be a sensor anomaly or something like that. Some could be.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:01:33)
Now, how about with regard to UAPs, we’ve talked about UIPs on training areas, but obviously there’s some sensor bias. I would think we put sensors in training areas. How about with regards to non-training areas, do we track what’s an open source and what civilians and others have tracked, and have we found similarities to what they’ve observed in terms of UAPs in non-training areas to the ones that are in training areas?
Scott Bray: (01:02:06)
The UAP taskforce has worked very hard to make sure the data set that we’re working with is a data set that we have very good control over that data. So we have some partnerships with FAA so that we get some of that. So we get that reporting in. But if it comes to just open source reports or someone says that they saw something, that generally does not make it into our database.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:02:28)
So basically, it sounds like we have a good partnership with FAA, but apart from FAA, we don’t have partnerships with other agencies or other entities that might be tracking so that we could enlarge our data set to make comparison?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:02:45)
But we will. So that’s the goal of this next effort will be to expand that relationship with the rest of the government and the interagency, so we can understand what they’re seeing, what we’re seeing. We can correlate on each other’s holdings and hopefully, resolve this.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:02:59)
Sorry to interrupt. But I think that we might have a bias right now going on with regards to just reporting on UAPs being in training areas when we don’t really track what’s happening elsewhere. The last question, have our encounters with UAPs altered the development of either our offensive or defensive capabilities, or even our sensor capabilities?
Scott Bray: (01:03:20)
We’d save that for the closed session.
Raja Krishnamoorthi: (01:03:22)
Okay, great. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman: (01:03:25)
Darin LaHood: (01:03:28)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and want to thank the witnesses for being here today. Obviously, this topic of UAPs has attracted a lot of interest in people that are curious about this hearing today. As we talk about, and I would say there’s a lot of what I would call amateur interest groups that are involved in the UAP field, my question is when there are unsubstantiated claims or manufactured claims of UAPs or kind of false information that’s put out there, what are the consequences for people that are involved with that or groups that are involved with that?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:04:14)
So one of the concerns that we have is that there are a lot of individuals and groups that are putting information out there that could be considered to be somewhat self-serving. We’re trying to do what’s in the best interest of one, the Department of Defense, and then two, what’s in the best interest of the public to ensure that we can put factual-based information back into the mainstream and back into the bloodstream of the reporting media that we have so people understand what’s there.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:04:49)
It’s important because we are attempting as this hearing as has drawn out to understand one, what may just be natural phenomenon, two, what may be sensor phenomenology or things that were happening with sensors, three, what may be legitimate counterintelligence threats to places that we have or bases or installations, or security threats to our platforms. And anything that diverts us off of what we have with the resources that have been allocated to us, send us off in these spurious chases and hunts that are just not helpful. And they also help, well, they also contribute to the undermining of the confidence that the Congress and the American people have that we are trying to get to the root cause of what’s happening here and report on that, and then feed that back into our national security apparatus so we are able to protect the American people and our allies. So it is harmful. It is hurtful, but hopefully, if we get more information out there, we’ll start to lessen the impact of some of those spurious reports.
Darin LaHood: (01:05:52)
So just taking that a step further, so that misinformation, false narratives, manufactured, so what are the consequences? Are there legal consequences? Are there examples that you can give us where people have been-
Mr. LaHood: (01:06:03)
Are there legal consequences? Are there examples that you can give us, where people have been held accountable by this information or disinformation?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:06:07)
I can’t give you any examples where somebody’s been legally held liable for putting something out there, but-
Mr. LaHood: (01:06:15)
Well, I guess what’s the deterrent from people engaging in this activity?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:06:20)
I don’t know. I don’t have that answer. That’s something that you’re welcome to dialogue with Congress, to talk about that with the members who help legislate those laws, to say what should be the legal ramifications that we could use to potentially hold individuals accountable, whether it be citizens or information that might be injected into our media by other forces or other countries, if you will.
Mr. LaHood: (01:06:48)
In terms of DOD’s review and analysis in this field, is there a standard in place when it comes to UAPs? Is there any guidance you look to that’s codified in law or otherwise within DOD, that kind of sets out the standards for UAPs, and what to look for?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:07:05)
I think that’s part of what the group that we’re standing up know will be chartered to do. From my organization, we’ll be looking at policies and standards that we have to come to you and work with you to actually put in place, and promulgate across our government.
Mr. LaHood: (01:07:22)
Thank you. I yield back.
Mr. Carson: (01:07:24)
The gentleman yields back. Mr. Welch?
Mr. Welch: (01:07:27)
Thank you. I’m going to follow on the line of questions from Mr. LaHood. Chairman, what seems incredibly difficult for you is that there’s two almost competing but different narratives. One is no one knows whether there’s extraterrestrial life. It’s a big universe, and it would be pretty presumptuous to have a hard and fast conclusion, and then if there is, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that there is some exploration coming here, and that underlies a lot of the reports you get. I think Mr. LaHood was asking about that, people think there must extraterrestrial life, and it’s not at all beyond the pale that there would be a visit here.
Mr. Welch: (01:08:10)
On the other hand, as the DOD, you have the responsibility to make sure that our national security is protected, and that if there are surveillance drones or active drones that can disable our systems, that has to be analyzed. It has to be stopped. How do you divide these? How do you separate your responsibilities, where you get all these reports from folks who may be in good faith, may be not, believe that you should be investigating every possible report of a extraterrestrial incident? I’ll start with you, Mr. Moultrie.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:08:52)
Sure, indeed, Congressman, and thank you for the question. It’s important that we, as a part of this effort, really build out the relationship that we have with others, including NASA, and for the reasons that you just pointed out. There are elements in our government that are engaged in looking for life in other places, and they have been doing that for decades. They’ve been searching for extraterrestrial life. There are astrobiologists who have been doing this too.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:09:24)
We are part of that same government, and so our goal is not to potentially cover up something, if we were to find something. It’s to understand what may be out there, examine what it may mean for us, if there are any, from a defense perspective, any national security implications or ramifications, but then to work with organizations as appropriate. If it’s a weather phenomenology, with NOAA. If it’s a potential for extraterrestrial life, or an indication of extraterrestrial life, with someone like NASA.
Mr. Welch: (01:09:58)
The transparency actually is very important.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:10:01)
Mr. Welch: (01:10:01)
For public consumption.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:10:03)
Mr. Welch: (01:10:04)
We’re going to have a classified briefing. Without going into the details of what kinds of secrets that we can’t share here, what is it … What are we protecting? I don’t know if you can answer this question in this open forum, but in fact, your perception of what it is we have to quote, “Protect.”
Ronald Moultrie: (01:10:30)
I think right now what’s really important for us to protect is how we know certain things. There are a lot of things that we know, whether it be about the thinking of other leaders around the world, the weapons systems that are being developed, or how we detect things that may be threats to us. Many of those things are the result of some of our most sensitive sources and methods. We’ll use those things, not just for this effort, but those same sources and methods are used to help protect us from adversaries and from others who might mean to do us harm. There aren’t separate UAP censors. There’s not a separate UAP processing computer. There’s not a separate UAP dissemination train or whatever, so it’s the same processes. It’s the same system that we have that helps us do all that.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:11:13)
We need to protect that, because this is something that we’re looking at, but we’re sure there are going to be other things that we’ll look at in the future, that will need those same censors, that will need those same sources and methods to help us do … So we’re protecting the fact that this nation has developed capabilities that enable us to know what may be threats to us, and to counter those threats before they become something of a national issue.
Mr. Welch: (01:11:39)
Thank you very much. I want to thank both you, Mr. Bray, and you Mr. Moultrie, for your appearance today. I yield back.
Mr. Carson: (01:11:45)
The gentleman yields back. Gentlemen, beyond videos, is there a range of other information that the executive branch has that would be valuable to the American people, while protecting sources and methods, obviously? The details of individual encounters, including the time, place, and details of an encounter, and does the AOIMSG have a clear and repeatable process for considering public release as part of the process?
Scott Bray: (01:12:17)
Mr. Carson: (01:12:18)
And do you commit to building that process, if it’s not in place?
Scott Bray: (01:12:20)
The UAP Taskforce, the Security Classification Guide that the UAP Taskforce has been operating under that I approved really was meant to protect those sources and methods, and meant to protect any knowledge that an adversary, intelligence entity may gain, from understanding what we’re tracking, how we track it, or when we’re tracking it, or if we’re not. That has been an important piece in the balance between transparency and preserving our war fighting advantage, because the U.S. military does train as it would fight. What I will commit to is, at least for that material that’s under my authority as the Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, for information that we have, when it does not involve sources and methods, and when we can, with a reasonable degree of confidence, determine that it does not pose a foreign intelligence or national security threat, and it’s within my authority to do so, I commit to declassifying that. I believe very much in the transparency of this, and we work very hard to balance that with our national security needs.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:13:35)
I’ll just add, Congressman, just over the last three, four months, I think that the intelligence community and the national defense apparatus have disclosed more information on various events than it has in probably the previous 10 years. You have our commitment to work closely with the Director of National Intelligence and others, in the declassification and downgrading of intel apparatus, to ensure that we can get whatever information that we can out to the American people and to the public at large.
Mr. Carson: (01:14:10)
Greatly appreciated, sir. Ranking Member, Crawford.
Mr. Crawford: (01:14:12)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Stefanik is in route, I believe, just real quickly, but in the interim if I could, if you’ll indulge me, I just have a couple of real small questions. One is do we have an example … Can you provide us a specific example of an object that can’t be explained as having been human made or natural?
Scott Bray: (01:14:36)
I mean the example that I would say is still unresolved, that I think everyone understands quite well is the 2004 incident from Nimitz. We have data on that, and it simply remains unresolved. It does not mean it resolves to being something that is easily explainable or difficult … Well, obviously it resolves as being something that is difficult to explain, but I can’t point to something that definitively was not manmade, but I can point to a number of examples and which remain unresolved.
Mr. Crawford: (01:15:11)
Got you. With regard to videos that have appeared in open source channels, for example the TikTok video, does AOIMSG maintain control of videos, and how do you prevent leaks of potentially classified videos or other material?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:15:26)
The AOIMSG, as we establish that organization, we will have a process for classified and compartmented holdings, and we will find a way of getting positive control over those. We have our sensitive access programs and special access programs that allow us to put what we call SAPs around things, and then there’s controlled access programs that allow us to put caps around things. We’ll have that in place.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:15:51)
Our goal will be ensuring that we’re sharing that with the appropriate analysts and the appropriate exploiters, if you will, who can look at that data too. What we don’t want to do is bring something into a DOD database or a DOD holding, and then have so many wrappings around it, it’s not available to those who really need to look at it and to exploit it. That’s one of the reasons that we’re establishing relationships with the inter-agency, with the IC, and others who will be able to do that, sir. But we will do our best to maintain positive control over the materials that we have within our holdings.
Mr. Crawford: (01:16:20)
Mr. Carson: (01:16:22)
Adam Schiff: (01:16:25)
Thank you, Chairman. Just going back to the 2021 report, under the category of UAP appear to demonstrate advanced technology, those 18 incidents in which some of the UAP appeared to remain stationery, winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed without discernible means of propulsion. It goes on to say, “In a small number of cases, military aircraft systems processed radio frequency energy associated with UAP sightings.” I couldn’t tell from that whether that small number of cases was a part of the subset of 18, that is among the 18 which appeared to move with unusual pattern or flight characteristics. Did some of those also emit radio frequency energy?
Scott Bray: (01:17:21)
I would have to check with our UAP Taskforce on that. I believe, without getting into specifics that we can do in the closed session, at least some that we have detected RF emissions from, were not behaving oddly otherwise.
Adam Schiff: (01:17:40)
And the significance of measuring that radio frequency energy, is what? That we suspect that this was some form of aircraft in which there were radio transmissions?
Scott Bray: (01:17:54)
The biggest thing that you’re looking for there is any indication of an effort to jam whatever censors that we may have looking at it.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:18:01)
But I would also add to that, that radio frequency, as you know, Congressman, is used to control various platforms too. The fact of emanations coming off of any platform, whether it be a UAV, or another platform, could be radio frequency activity related to that entity transmitting out or something transmitting to that platform. Of course, we have a sensitivity with our airborne platforms, of picking it up, which is one of the reasons that we try to prevent people from using their cellphones on airplanes and things like that. It’s very sensitive to our RF emanations.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:18:40)
That’s a part of what we’ll be looking at in the AOIMSG, what is this? Is this something that we can collect on, and can we start to characterize the signaling environment around the emanations that may be coming off of some of these UAPs?
Adam Schiff: (01:18:53)
That energy then that was recorded could be either an effort to jam or it could be an effort to control a UAV, or any other communication with that craft?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:19:08)
I would say that’s accurate.
Adam Schiff: (01:19:10)
Right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Carson: (01:19:12)
Thank you, Chairman. As the ODNI report makes clear, one possible explanation for UAPs is that we are detecting U.S. aircraft, either secret air programs or even test prototypes. I won’t ask you in this setting, obviously, to describe any secret DOD programs. That said, I do want to make sure the U.S. government isn’t chasing its own tail. Firstly, do you have a clear and repeatable process to check with compartmented programs about whether a UAP sighting is attributable to a U.S. aircraft? Secondly, does the AOIMSG staff have the clearances and read-ons that they need to investigate all of these incidents? Thirdly, when your staff cannot be read-on, are your questions to those who are read-on even being answered?
Ronald Moultrie: (01:20:10)
Well, I’ll start, and then I’ll pass that to Mr. Bray. We’re very conscious of the potential blue on blue issue, or U.S. on U.S., and so we’ve established relationships with organizations and entities that are potentially flying or developing platforms for their own interests, if you will. Our goal is to continue, and we have a repeatable process. I think we’ve had that process for some time, to deconflict activities that we may have, to ensure that we are not potentially reporting on something that may be a developmental platform or a U.S. operational platform that is performing either testing or performing a mission.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:20:53)
We will have that in place. We’ve already had those discussions with organizations and entities. We want to ensure that we’re protecting their equities. We want to ensure that we’re protecting their sources and methods, while also getting at what we have here. We want to be able to deconflict those.
Scott Bray: (01:21:10)
Absolutely. The UAP Taskforce had a process in place to work with other elements of the Department of Defense and other elements of the government, to ensure that there’s a as simple a way as possible to deconflict those. When we reference that in the report, I should say that we were simply accounting for the fact that there could possibly be one or two data points that had leaked through, but we were quite confident that was not the explanation.
Mr. Carson: (01:21:41)
How are you liaising with Space Command? Specifically, how are you partnering with the parts of the U.S. based command responsible for space domain awareness? How, if at all, are you partnering with the Space Force to analyze UAPs?
Scott Bray: (01:22:04)
The UAP Taskforce has a very good relationship with Space Force, as it does with the rest of the Department of Defense. We have pulled analysts in from Space Force, to ensure that we’re availing ourselves of that expertise, as well as any other material they may have that may be helpful.
Ronald Moultrie: (01:22:26)
Congressman, as you know, Space Force and Space Command, they have responsibility for space domain awareness. So what we’ve done, we’ve coordinated with Space Force, we’ve coordinated with their J2, and she is onboard, in terms of helping us plug into what they have, and for us to have this interactive exchange of information and data. We’re doing that with all the services, not just with Space Force or Space Command.
Mr. Carson: (01:22:51)
Thank you, sir. Ranking Member, any additional questions? All right, Chairman Schiff? All right, with that, I want to thank you all for taking the time out. I also want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for participating in this very historical and important hearing. I think it’s one of the few times we can demonstrate some degree of bipartisanship around UAPs and UFOs, so I love it. I appreciate it. Thank you. We will see you all … We will recess this hearing for the moment, and return in the closed session at noon.