The U.S. government is finally getting back into the UFO business.
And depending on which UFO believer you ask, it's either a historic step forward to getting to the bottom of conspiracies or a ploy to regain control of the narrative — and possibly even prepare for interplanetary war.
Some hail the legislation creating the new office, tucked into section 1683 of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, for bringing new resources, rigor and officialdom to the investigation of a phenomenon — and a potential national security threat — that has long been stigmatized in a way that makes it difficult to study.
“Our national security efforts rely on aerial supremacy and these phenomena present a challenge to our dominance,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who spearheaded the bipartisan measure. “The United States needs a coordinated effort to take control and understand whether these aerial phenomena belong to a foreign government or something else altogether.”
It’s been decades since Washington formally studied UFOs in any kind of comprehensive way, so one might expect the news would be cause for celebration among so-called ufologists.
But the movement has long believed the government is covering up the greatest secret in history, so many are having a hard time believing the feds want to do anything other than clamp down again after several years in which it became socially acceptable for former presidents and CIA directors to talk publicly about weird things they’d seen in the skies.
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