NORAD Symbol

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD, /ˈnɔræd/) is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for North America. Headquarters for NORAD and the NORAD/USNORTHCOM command center are located at Peterson Air Force Base in El Paso County, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The nearby Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker has the Alternative Command Center.

It was a prominent part of White House Down.

White House DownEdit

Skip Tyler hacks into NORAD and launches a missile at Air Force One, blowing off its left wing and causing it to crash.

In reality you cannot override NORAD without approval from the government, but this is a minor artistic liberty.


NORAD (North American Air Defense), was recommended by the Joint Canadian-U.S. Military Group in late 1956, approved by the United States JCS in February 1957, and announced on 1 August 1957; the "establishment of [NORAD] command headquarters" was on 12 September 1957, at Ent Air Force Base's 1954 blockhouse. The 1958 international agreement designated the NORAD commander always be a US officer (Canadian vice commander), and "RCAF officers…agreed the command's primary purpose would be…early warning and defense for SAC's retaliatory forces." In late 1958, Canada and the U.S. started the Continental Air Defense Integration North (CADIN) for the SAGE air defense network (initial CADIN cost sharing agreement between the countries was on 5 January 1959), and two December 1958 plans submitted by NORAD had "average yearly expenditure of around five and one half billions", including "cost of the accelerated Hike Zeus program" and 3 BMEWS sites.

The 25-ton North blast door in the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker is the main entrance to another blast door (background) beyond which the side tunnel branches into access tunnels to the main chambers. Canada's NORAD bunker with a SAGE AN/FSQ-7 computer was constructed 1959-63, and each of the USAF's eight smaller AN/FSQ-8s provided NORAD with data and could command the entire US air defense. The RCAF's 1950 "ground observer system, the Long Range Air Raid Warning System," was discontinued and on 31 January 1959, the US Ground Observation Corps was deactivated. The Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker's planned mission was expanded in August 1960 to "a hardened center from which CINCNORAD would supervise and direct operations against space attack as well as air attack" (NORAD would be renamed North American Aerospace Defense Command in March 1981). The Secretary of Defense assigned on 7 October 1960, "operational command of all space surveillance to Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) and operational control to North American Air Defense Command (NORAD)".

The JCS placed the Ent AFB Space Detection and Tracking System (496L System with "Philco 2000/Model 212" computer) "under the operational control of CINCNORAD on December 1, 1960"; during Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker excavation, and the "joint SAC-NORAD exercise…Sky Shield II"--and on 2 September 1962--"Sky Shield III" were conducted for mock penetration of NORAD sectors. NORAD command center operations moved from Ent AFB to the 1963 partially underground "Combined Operations Center" for Aerospace Defense Command and NORAD at the Chidlaw Building (President Kennedy visited "NORAD headquarters" after the June 5, 1963, USAFA graduation.) NORAD had an exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair, and on 30 October 1964, "NORAD began manning" the Cheynne Mountain Combat Operations Center and by 1965, about 250,000 US and Canadian personnel were involved in the operation of NORAD, not in citation given] On 1 January 1966, Air Force Systems Command turned the COC over to NORAD (the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex was accepted on 8 February.)

In Popular CultureEdit

  • Cheyenne Mountain is a setting of the 1983 film WarGames and the Stargate television series.
  • NORAD is mentioned in Live Free or Die Hard.
  • NORAD was an important part of White House Down.