While enjoying the annual UFO festival in Roswell, New Mexico this past weekend, perhaps the most significant difference between this year’s event and past festivals is how the public and lawmakers in Washington DC perceived the UFO subject. Recently, the Navy declared they take the UFO issue seriously, and senators have told the press they have received briefings on UFOs. Perhaps even more shocking, the President also claims he recently had a “brief meeting” on the matter.
This recent credible attention to the UFO topic began when the head of a secretive UFO research project at the Pentagon, Luis Elizondo, came out publicly after retiring from the Department of Defense (DoD). He says he left his career as an intelligence agent because higher-ups were not taking UFOs seriously enough.
“There remains a vital need to ascertain capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation,” Elizondo wrote in his resignation letter.
Elizondo added the need for serious research is due to “the many accounts from the Navy and other services of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities.”
The New York Times covered Elizondo’s retirement in a bombshell article published in December 2017. Their article garnered attention from media outlets worldwide. It also included details and video from one of the Navy UFO encounters Elizondo was referring to.
Over several days in November 2004, while conducting training exercises off the coast of San Diego, the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group caught unidentified aircraft on radar. Jets were diverted to take a look and reported coming across a 40-foot object they described as looking like a large white Tic Tac candy. The giant Tic Tac maneuvered to mirror the movements of the jet fighter before shooting off at an incredible speed.
After retiring, Elizondo went to work for To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences (TTSA), an organization created by rock star Tom DeLonge to research UFOs. Besides Elizondo, several other former government officials have joined the team. Their efforts have been the subject of a series on the History Channel called Unidentified: America’s UFO Investigation. A recent episode revealed a more recent Navy UFO encounter.
Much like the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group encounters, the USS Roosevelt found themselves in a similar situation in 2015 off the coast of Florida. They picked up objects on radar, but when they attempted to intercept, pilots found nothing there. Things got serious when an object described as a cube inside of a translucent orb flew in-between two fighter jets flying in a tight formation.
One of the pilots involved with these encounters went to Washington DC to share his experiences with lawmakers and military officials. His testimony must have been compelling. In April 2019, Politico reported that the U.S. Navy was drawing up new guidelines for UFO reporting.
“There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years,” the Navy said in a statement given to Politico. “For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report.”
This was a significant shift from the military’s typical stance of saying they have had no interest in the UFO topic since the closing of the U.S. Air Force’s UFO program, Project Blue Book.
The Navy is not the only one taking UFOs seriously. Politico reported just last month that three senators received classified briefings on UFOs from the Pentagon. Only one of the Senators’ offices would go on the record.
“If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of,” Senator Mark Warner’s spokesperson told Politico.
On July 2, which happens to be World UFO Day, the Conway Daily Sun reported that Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire also attended a UFO briefing. Shaheen is a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.
“We have been briefed,” said Shaheen. “It was a classified briefing so I’m not allowed to talk about it. But if you were to ask me personally do I believe there are UFOs, I think that there are events that have happened that have not been explained adequately.”
Besides senators, even the President is talking about UFOs.
“I think it’s probably — I want them to think whatever they think. They do say, and I’ve seen, and I’ve read, and I’ve heard. And I did have one very brief meeting on it. But people are saying they’re seeing UFOs. Do I believe it? Not particular,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
On Friday night, the President was asked about UFOs by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“Well, I don’t want to really get into it too much. But personally, I tend to doubt it,” he told Carlson. “I’m not a believer, but you know, I guess anything is possible.”
It is unclear what will result from the currently credible attention the UFO issue has been receiving. However, for a subject that has been considered taboo and mired in ridicule, it is a welcome change. Maybe, just maybe, the UFO Festival revelers who invade Roswell every July 4th weekend are not as crazy as they seem.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.