The Weaponized Suit Defense Program Hearings were a series of congressional hearings held by the Senate Armed Services Committee to determine the nature of the Iron Man suits of armor designed, built, and owned by Tony Stark. During questioning by Senator Stern (who has a personal and bitter hatred of him as well as being a Hydra sympathizer or member), Stark denied possessing "a specialized weapon," referring to his Iron Man suits instead as "a high-tech prosthesis". Stern demanded that Stark turn over the Iron Man armor to the United States military (and by proxy Hydra), but Stark refused, insisting that he and the suit were one.
Stern then called Hammer Industries CEO and Defense Department contrator Justin Hammer to speak before the Committee as "an expert on weapons," and Stark questioned Hammer's qualifications. Hammer accused Stark of creating "a sword with untold possibilities" while insisting that "it's a shield," claiming that America faces "grave threats" that "Mr. Stark will not always be able to foresee".
Stern next called Lt. Col. James Rhodes to speak, citing a report on the "Iron Man weapon" compiled by Rhodes and instructing Rhodes to read a specific paragraph from the report. Rhodes recited the passage: "as he does not operate within any definable branch of government, Iron Man presents a potential threat to the security of both the nation and to her interests". He qualified the passage, however, by reminding the Committee that "the benefits of Iron Man far outweigh the liabilities."
Stern then instructed Rhodes to narrate surveillance photographs of several foreign nations currently attempting to replicate Stark's technology. Stark proceeded to use his cellphone to hack the room's monitors, displaying videos showing catastrophic failures in North Korea and Iran, as well as video of Justin Hammer's own unsuccessful attempts to build an armored suit for the United States military.
Hammer disconnected the monitors and Stern hastily adjourned the hearing, but Stark refused to be silenced; he called himself America's "nuclear deterrent," refused again to turn of his "personal property," and claimed that he had "successfully privatized world peace",none of which entirely reassured most of his audience.
Three years after the Hearings, revelations involving the allegiances of Senator Stern cast new light on these proceedings. It appears, in hindsight, that at least one of the objectives of acquiring the Iron Man suits was to turn the technology over to the sleeper agency of Hydra.