Inside NORAD

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                           /  Inside NORAD     \     /\
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                   /    \    by:  Anonymous      /        \
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Note: The information below was compiled through research and personal
      interviews with Air Force personnel who were stationed at NORAD
      Headquarters.  The officers that we talked wished for their names to
      be withheld.

Aerospace Defense Structure
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	The military defense of North America is a joint effort of the
	United States and Canada.  All forces directly assigned to aerospace
	defense by the two nations are organized as the North American Air
	Defense Command (NORAD). The major elements of NORAD are the
	Canadian Forces Air Defence Command (CFADC), the U.S. Air Force's
	Air Defense Command (USAD ADC), and the U.S. Army's Air Defense
	Command (ARADCOM).  Headquarters of NORAD, USAF ADC, and ARADCOM are
	in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  While the CFADC headquarters are in
	St. Hubert, Quebec. The primary jobs of NORAD is to serve as an
	early warning system in the event of nuclear attack.  NORAD is
	primarily concerned with the detection, identification, and tracking
	of hostile bombers, ballistic missiles, and space vehicles.

Defense Against Manned Bombers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	Defense against manned bombers includes ground-based and airborne
	radars to warn of the approach of hostile aircraft; supersonic
	fighter-interceptor aircraft capable of operating in any type of
	weather, and surface-to-air interceptor missiles.  Detection and
	tracking of bombers is accomplished by ground-based radars located
	along the Arctic Circle from the Aleutians to Greenland and, in
	greater concentrations, in southern Canada and the United States. 
	Radar equipped aircraft on continuous patrol off the Atlantic and
	Pacific coasts extend surveillance seaward. Any aircraft detected
	must of course be identified.  Flights penetrating designated Air
	Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ) must be identified by
	correlating their flight plans submitted in advance with the precise
	position of the aircraft or, when this fails, through visual
	identification by interceptor aircraft.  The simplest method of
	identification is to interrogate an electronic coding device, called
	Identification Friend of For (IFF), located in the aircraft, which
	replies to the interrogation with a known password.  If the airborne
	object is hostile, it will be destroyed by fighter-interceptor jet
	aircraft using nuclear or conventional armament or by unmanned
	surface-to-air missiles such as BOMARC or NIKE. Integration of the
	defense systems against the manned bomber is accomplished by the
	electronic supersystem called Semi-Automatic Ground Environment
	(SAGE).  In SAGE, computers receive and store data, solve problems,
	and display solutions to the detection station display screens. 
	This allows air defense commanders to follow the battle situation
	and direct appropriate defense weapons. If interceptors or missiles
	are launched or committed against the target, the computer, with
	operator assistance, transmits information to and guides them to the
	hostile object.  Interceptors are equipped with an automatic pilot,
	which can ge guided from the ground by means of data link.  In the
	event the SAGE system should become inoperative, its functions would
	be taken over by BUIC, the Back-up Interceptor Control system, with
	widely dispersed automated control centers.

Defense Against Ballistic Missiles
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	Defense against ballistic missiles presents more difficult problems
	than defense against manned bombers.  An extensive network known as
	the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMWES), runs through
	Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the British Isles, is used to detect
	and relay information about inbound missiles.  A similar network is
	planned to cover the southern portion of the continent.  In the
	event that an inbound missiles is detected, NORAD directs the use of
	antiballistic-missile weaponry.

Defense Against Attack Through Space
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	Although space vehicles are note currently employed for offensive
	military usage at the present, the possibility is certainly there. 
	One of NORAD's primary responsibilities is to monitor any space born
	vehicles. The number of man made objects in orbit above the Earth
	numbers in the thousands.  Continuous surveillance of these objects
	in space is performed by NORAD's Space Detection and Tracking System
	(SPADATS).  SPADATS consists of two primary elements, the U.S.
	Navy's Space Surveillance (SPASUR) System--an electronic fence of
	high-powered transmitters and receivers extending across the
	southern United States--and the U.S. Air Force's SPACETRACK system.
	SPACETRACK consists of a worldwide network of radars, space-probing
	cameras, and communications.  An operational control center with a
	central data-processing facility called the Space Defense Center,
	located at NORAD headquarters, serves to integrate the entire
	network.

NORAD Headquarters
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	In 1966, operations began in the new Combat Operations Center deep
	inside a mountain in Colorado.  The center is located outside
	Colorado Springs at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base.  The
	complex is set inside tunnels that have been carved deep into the
	heart of the mountain itself.  The entire structure is situated atop
	huge, 3-foot diameter springs to absorb nuclear shock waves. The
	headquarters was designed to survive a 1 megaton nuclear blast, but
	since this was designed to deter 1960's nuclear technology, it is
	questionable whether or not it would withstand attack by today's
	"smart" bombs, which could put a missile right in the front door.
	Every day, over a thousand people go to work the day shift at NORAD,
	commuting up from near by Peterson Air Force Base.  Upon arrival at
	the center, they walk past the station's concertina wire topped
	twelve foot fences, which are surprisingly non-electrified.  The
	exterior is constantly patrolled and observed by the Air Force Elite
	Security Forces, each armed to the teeth with 9mm pistols and
	M-16's.  Scores of German Shepherd attack dogs are used as an added
	bit of security.  Above the main tunnel entrance, is a sign that
	reads: "Use of Deadly Force Authorized by all Personnel." The
	interior of the base, built to survive a nuclear attack, is
	completely self-contained.  Backup power is available in case of a
	power failure, and provides uninterupted power for lighting as well
	as computer systems.  The base also contains food and water supplies
	for all personnel for over 30 days.  The base itself is entirely
	shielded with lead and reinforced concrete, which augments the
	natural protection provided by the mountain.  Huge blast doors
	provide the only entrances and exits to the base. Of course, the
	base is equipped with state-of-the-art communications systems, with
	full time links to all nuclear weapons sites in both the U.S. and
	Canada.  The base is also linked into all major news and civil
	defense agencies to accept and release up-to-the-minute information
	on global military affairs. Surprisingly, however, the base is not
	equipped with today's most powerful mainframes and supercomputers. 
	Many of the systems are somewhat archaic, as any upgrade would cause
	massive redesign of weapons and defense systems.

Conclusion
~~~~~~~~~~
	One may wonder about the usefulness of this unique command post in
	the interior of a mountain in light of current global events.  With
	the evaporation of central government in the Soviet Union, and the
	decreased likelihood of another global war, a huge nuclear arsenal
	is beginning to seem worthless. However, with the capability to
	monitor global military situations at all times, and the ability to
	deter possible conflict, it still provides a valuable service to all
	of North America, if not the world.  Better safe than sorry.

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