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[infowar.de] NORAD macht dicht
Haha, reisserische Überschriften ziehen immer, was? NORAD zieht nur um,
aber die alte Location im Berg (CHeyenne Mountain) wird eingemottet.
Underground War Room on 'Warm Standby'
Oct 16, 3:42 PM (ET)
By ROBERT WELLER
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. (AP) - Dr. Strangelove would
have a heart attack: America's vaunted underground war room deep inside
this granite mountain is being retired. Not only that, but Russian
military men have been inside the place.
During the long nuclear standoff with Moscow, the nation's super-secret
nerve center was a symbol of both Cold War might and apocalyptic dread,
depicted in such movies as "WarGames" in 1983. But with the end of the
Cold War, the war room is being put on "warm standby" to save money.
A staff will keep it ready to resume operations at a moment's notice if a
blast-hardened command center becomes necessary, but the critical work is
being shifted to Peterson Air Force Base, about 10 miles away.
"In today's Netted, distributed world we can do very good work on a broad
range of media right here," Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the North
American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said from his Peterson
headquarters. "Right there at that desk, including one push-button to the
Moreover, the U.S. military says the countries that have succeeded the
Soviet Union as the main threat to this country - hostile states such as
North Korea and Iran - do not have the weapons to take out a command
center in Colorado.
The United States and Canada spent hundreds of millions on early warning
systems to detect a Soviet attack in the 1950s. All the information was
funneled into a two-story blockhouse at Colorado Springs' Ent Air Force
Base that could be taken out by a bazooka, NORAD historian Thomas Fuller said.
So crews began digging in 1961 on the edge of Colorado Springs on what
used to be a ranch, eventually removing 700,000 tons of granite. Two
25-ton blast doors were constructed to protect the 15 tunnel-like
buildings 2,400 feet underground. Each is suspended on thousand-pound
springs or, as the joke goes, "the real Colorado springs."
The mini-city included a barbershop, medical clinic, convenience store,
even a fire and police force.
For 40 years, staff in the mountain kept an eye on the Soviets from a
command center in a small room.
Glitches resulted in false alerts in 1979 and 1980, neither coming close
to the level pictured in the Matthew Broderick movie "WarGames." ("Dr.
Strangelove" and "Fail-Safe," both of which came out in 1964, two years
before the Cheyenne Mountain command center opened, also famously depicted
electronic war rooms.)
The collapse of the Soviet Union was the death knell for Cheyenne
Mountain. A few years later, Russians were invited to Peterson in case the
change of the millennium caused any catastrophic computer problems.
Then came the Sept. 11 attacks. The Northern Command was created in 2002
to defend the nation from internal attacks. Its headquarters were built at
Peterson and NORAD's commander was put in charge of both.
It was from Peterson where the military was able to scramble fighter
planes 10 minutes after a small plane crashed into a New York City
high-rise last week.
Cheyenne Mountain was a comfort for many during the Cold War. It was put
in the middle of the continent for safety reasons, to help ensure that key
decisions on defending the nation from a nuclear attack could be made
before it was too late.
Until the later years of the Cold War, when more accurate and high-yield
bombs were developed, Cheyenne Mountain could probably have even withstood
a direct hit.
"It was the place that made us feel good during the Cold War, especially
after the Cuban missile crisis and the Russians had developed
intercontinental ballistic missiles," said Lt. Gen. William Odom, a former
National Security Agency director.
Keating said the new the control room, in contrast, could be damaged if a
terrorist commandeered a jumbo jet and somehow knew exactly where to crash
it. But "how unlikely is that? We think very," Keating said.
Keating said it costs about $250 million a year to operate Cheyenne
Mountain fully staffed. Congress's Government Accountability Office has
said efforts to modernize Cheyenne Mountain were too expensive or behind
Last year, the commander of long-range Russian military aviation visited
the command center at Cheyenne Mountain. NORAD recently said it also would
like to begin talks with the Russians about joint surveillance flights
along the Alaska-Siberia frontier.
"The Russians have been up there," Keating said. "We've drank vodka at the
Broadmoor (Hotel). We've sat here and discussed grave issues. Life goes
on. It's OK."
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NORAD and Northcom: http://www.norad.mil
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