Georgia man who leads country’s UFO investigation program to brief some lawmakers publicly next week

A UFO captured on video by the U.S. Navy on FLIR imaging (U.S. Navy).

In a rare move, some members of Congress will hold a public hearing on what is known about UFOs.

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick is listed as the only witness set to testify on Wednesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He is the director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

Kirkpatrick was born in Columbus and grew up in Metro Atlanta. The University of Georgia grad received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1991. Just four years later, he completed his PhD work in nonlinear and non-equilibrium phonon dynamics of rare earth doped fluoride crystals. According to his Department of Defense bio, Kirkpatrick has served as an adjunct professor for UGA focusing on nonlinear and non-equilibrium physics since 1995. He was asked by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security to serve as AARO’s director in early 2022.

The office, under the Department of Defense, was set up in July 2022. AARO is responsible for not only tracking unidentified flying objects in the sky, but also underwater or in space — or potentially an object that has the ability to move from one domain to the next.

The office was established following more than a year of attention on unidentified flying objects that military pilots have observed but have sometimes been reluctant to report due to fear of stigma.


In December 2022, Kirkpatrick said, "We have an important and yet challenging mission to lead an interagency effort to document, collect, analyze and when possible, resolve reports of any unidentified anomalous phenomena."

Another effort of AARO, Kirkpatrick said, is working with both the military services and the intelligence community to ensure that the activities of the U.S. government itself don't end up as reports of a UAP.

"We are setting up very clear mechanisms with our 'blue' programs, both our DOD and IC programs, to deconflict any observations that come in with 'blue' activity to ensure that we weed those out, and we can identify those fairly early on," Kirkpatrick said.

Congress is not alone in wanting to know more about unidentified anomalous phenomena. The American public does as well, said Ronald Moultrie, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. He says AARO and the department are committed to transparency there.

The Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities will hold an open meeting regarding UFOs at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 19.

According to the committee's website, it says the goal of Wednesday’s hearing is to receive testimony on the AARO’s mission, oversight, and budget.