Previously Unavailable Histories of NORAD
From A History of the Dew Line, 1946-1964
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is in charge of defending the airspace of North America (and Mexico), and for decades it carried out this mission from its legendary underground command operations center deep inside Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. Because it’s a binational military command run by the US and Canada, for some reason NORAD isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, even though the rest of the US military is.
However, NORAD shares its headquarters and its commander with US Northern Command, and USNORTHCOM is subject to FOIA. So when my colleagues at Government Attic dug up a USNORTHCOM document referencing 22 internal histories published by NORAD, the Air Force’s Air Defense Command, and other related/interlocking military components, I knew what I had to do. Specifically, these histories had been digitized (presumably by NORAD) and sent to USNORTHCOM for posting on its website. From what I could tell via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, they had never been posted. Then the plan apparently was that NORAD would post them on its own site, but that never happened either.
So I FOIAed USNORTHCOM, and they sent me all 22 papers.
At some point after fulfilling my request, USNORTHCOM posted 13 of these reports to its FOIA reading room, but 9 remain unposted until now. (I’ve highlighted in bold the reports they didn’t post.)
Related: Photos from Inside NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Combat Center [The Memory Hole 2]
If you appreciate my FOIA request that released 2,600 pages of previously unavailable NORAD reports, please donate so I can keep at it.
NORAD and USAF Air Defense Command Historical Reference Papers and Studies