The United States House of Representatives voted to approve an amendment to the annual defense spending bill to establish a secure system for reporting unidentified aerial phenomena or UFOs.
The amendment will now create a system to receive reports of "any event relating to unidentified aerial phenomena." It will also look into any related activity from the government, programs, or federal contractors.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) sponsored the amendment, which was passed by voice vote as part of a bloc of amendments to the House's National Defense Authorization Act. The full NDAA is expected to be voted on and passed this week.
This is the government's most recent effort to destigmatize UFO reports and is following the actions of the Pentagon and NASA.
In May, the Pentagon announced it would relaunch a program for service members to report any UFOs they have seen. Defense Department intelligence official Ronald Moultrie spoke at a May hearing before the House Intelligence Committee and shared that the department wants to look into UFOs more seriously.
"Our goal is not to potentially cover up something, if we were to find something," Moultrie said. "It's to understand what may be out there, examine what it may mean for us."
The Defense Department created an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to investigate reported UAPs.
Then in June, NASA announced that it would launch an independent research team that would look at observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena.
The head of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group will establish the new system, according to Gallagher's office. The group was set up to oversee government efforts to detect, identify, and explain objects of interest in special use airspace.
The amendment says its purpose is to "prevent unauthorized public reporting or compromise of properly classified military and intelligence systems, programs, and related activities." Now it will help Congress learn more about UAPs.
"We must ensure the military and intelligence community are armed with the best possible information, capital, and scientific resources to defeat our enemies and maintain military and technology superiority," Gallagher said in a statement. "This amendment will play an important role in furthering Congress' ability to fact-gather and further prove or disprove the origin and threat nature of whatever seems to be flying in our skies."