Amidst only a temporary reprieve from the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, there isn’t much that is agreed upon in Congress today. But in this case, just a few years ago, from opposite sides of the political aisle, these two members controlling the military budget instantly found common ground. A third member in charge of military spending was the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Medal of Honor recipient and World War II veteran, who also supported the plan.
Also, at that time, Congress was divided on many fronts. Stevens and Reid routinely debated issues on the Senate floor, often with opposing viewpoints. But this was one issue they immediately agreed upon.
According to Reid, Stevens exclaimed to him, “Sign me up.”, and he recounted a mysterious incident he personally had as a pilot with the Flying Tigers of the then U.S. Army Air Force. Reid said Stevens told him he had an “occasion” during World War II where he had a craft that was next to him that he couldn’t “get rid of,” despite “doing everything he could.” He recognized the need to properly address what has continued to be an unknown threat to national security, and an opportunity to further study the science behind it.
The three senior members went on to establish what Reid refers to as an “extremely important study,” also the topic of a December 2017 New York Times article about the Pentagon program. Based on publicized details about the program, it seems to have lasted a few years, but it did not succeed in establishing any formal paths for government reporting, particularly from active duty military personnel witnessing these unusual phenomena.