Congress is set to make UFO history by resurrecting the '1%' concept.

Congress is just days away from passing landmark UFO legislation. A must-pass defense measure, as first disclosed by researcher Douglas Dean Johnson, would compel the US government to launch a broad investigation into unexplained aerial occurrences.

Congress is set to mandate the formation of rapid UFO response teams, launch a scientific study of objects that "exceed the known state of the art in science or technology," and require investigations into health-related effects associated with UFO encounters, among a slew of other groundbreaking requirements. Perhaps most crucially, the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act would require unprecedented government disclosure on UFOs, ending seven decades of Cold War-induced secrecy, denial, and misdirection.

The bill's sweeping measures have strong bipartisan support, which is a harsh rebuke to years of government incompetence and inactivity on UFOs. Furthermore, legislative aggressiveness is reigniting the "one percent" philosophy, which states that if there is even a remote possibility that a danger is genuine, the government must respond as if it is.

The "one percent" philosophy, developed by the George W. Bush administration in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, originally failed miserably. The 2003 Iraq War, which was based on the false premise that Iraq's secular dictator would join with jihadists to attack the US, resulted in hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths, billions of dollars in public expenditures, and the establishment of the Islamic State.

Former presidents, high-ranking government officials, intelligence analysts, and fighter pilots have all stated that unknown objects are displaying seemingly extraordinary capabilities while flying in sensitive airspace, and Congress is correct to adopt a more nuanced version of the "one percent" doctrine. Former National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe's recent comment that certain UFOs had "technology that we don't have and, frankly, that we aren't capable of guarding against" has heightened congressional concern.

However, the legislative effort to force the government to take the UFO phenomena seriously is bound to run against strong institutional and ideological opposition. This dynamic was underscored by Luis Elizondo, the former chairman of an informal Pentagon-led initiative to study U.S. military contacts with UFOs, who pointed me to recent remarks by a key national security officer.

Despite acknowledging the UFO phenomenon, the civilian head of the Air Force is resisting involvement because, in his telling, UFOs do not present an overt threat.

Elizondo likened this approach to sitting idly by while an unknown “submarine pops out of the Potomac [River], right in front Washington, D.C. [But] because you don’t know who it belongs to, it’s not a threat?” Expressing exasperation, Elizondo continued, “You’re acknowledging the reality of these things, but you’re saying it’s not a priority? That is absurd.”

Apart from national security issues, the physics-defying powers revealed by military troops and documented by numerous sensor systems deserve immediate scientific consideration. Even "if the sole purpose of such a study [of UFOs] is to satisfy human curiosity, to probe the unknown, and to provide intellectual adventure," as renowned astronomer J. Allen Hynek stated in congressional testimony over half a century ago, "then it is in line with what science has always stood for."

To that aim, a UFO sighting in 2004 bolsters the argument for the thorough investigations Congress intends to impose.

Radar operators onboard a US Navy guided missile cruiser traveling southwest of California reported mysterious objects falling from above 80,000 feet – twice as high as conventional aircraft fly – to a hover about 20,000 feet over the course of several days in November. The objects then swiftly soared to extremely high heights.

Two F/A-18 fighter jets were dispatched to investigate after radar operators aboard the ship verified one such contact with an aerial command and control aircraft. All four aviators on board the aircraft noticed an item that looked to have amazing powers as the jets reached the preset locations.

The unidentified vehicle, which had no obvious engines, rotors, wings, or other control surfaces, mimicked the lead fighter jet's actions before speeding out of sight. The UFO reappeared seconds later on radar scopes 60 miles away, signifying impossibly high velocity. The UFO appeared at a pre-determined meeting spot known only to the pilots and radar operators, which was particularly odd.

Highly sophisticated Chinese or Russian aircraft were ruled out as viable answers by intelligence analysts. The aviators who saw the thing, for their part, felt it was "not of this earth."

Nearly two decades later, the extreme capabilities exhibited by the mysterious object remain well out of the realm of the most advanced technologies.  

The incident undoubtedly influenced the sweeping UFO-related legislation that will soon be signed into law. And why shouldn’t it? If there is even a slight chance that the extraordinary technology observed by four naval aviators (and corroborated by two independent radar systems) is a real phenomenon, then future UFO encounters demand exactly the type of in-depth investigations that the government will soon be required to conduct.

However, the encounter in 2004 was not an unusual incidence. Military officers have informed members of Congress and spoken publicly about mysterious objects operating in crucial airspace with seeming impunity in recent years. In June, a key government assessment said that some UFOs appear to "stay motionless in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver suddenly, or move at significant speed, [all] without obvious means of propulsion, [all] without discernible means of propulsion."

Furthermore, stories of enigmatic, "intelligently operated" vessels displaying very sophisticated technologies stretch back to the 1940s, according to many highly trustworthy observers. Declassified government evaluations from 1947 to 1952 proposed unusual explanations for the most convincing UFO experiences, with notable parallels to modern intelligence findings.

Early in 1953, however, Cold War national security concerns prompted a semi-official government strategy of rejecting, dismissing, and "debunking" UFO claims, regardless of how genuine they were. In summary, the government and scientific community have never given the UFO phenomena a fair shot – until now.

Compared to the disastrous implications of the Bush administration's "one percent" policy, Congress's daring approach to UFOs is a very small, low-risk investment that might ultimately solve an enduring riddle.

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