Tuesday, April 14, 2015

NORAD returns to Cheyenne Mountain bunker, sorta

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 1:13 PM

NORAD will move some of its assets back into the mountain, which was placed on "warm stand by" about eight years ago. Everything old is new again? - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • NORAD will move some of its assets back into the mountain, which was placed on "warm stand by" about eight years ago. Everything old is new again?

Ever since a contract with Raytheon was announced last week, stories have been coming out about the return of the North American Aerospace Defense Command inside the Cold War bunker built for it in the 1960s.

NORAD moved operations out of Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station seven or eight years ago, under the command of Adm. Timothy Keating at the time. Keating came under scrutiny, because he made claims the move would save money, and others disagreed.

The Independent wrote about the issue several times back then, as did I when I was at the Gazette at that time. The big hubbub was over Peterson Air Force Base's vulnerability to electromagnetic pulse disruptions, which is now the very reason communications are being moved back into the mountain. Go figure.

Back in 2006 and 2007, I obtained a classified report that raised serious questions about that and other vulnerabilities at Peterson, which sits next to Colorado Springs Airport's runways.

As recently as 2011, the government was investing money in the mountain.

Here's one finding by the Government Accountability Office from 2008: "The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense ... reevaluate the full spectrum of security vulnerabilities associated with moving the NORAD Command Center and related functions from Cheyenne Mountain to Peterson Air Force Base."

All of which sent me back to my files and the piles of reports from nine years ago, the upshot of which were concerns over the security of Peterson. Well, now we know there must have been issues, considering the government has signed a contract with Raytheon for $700 million to upgrade communications inside the mountain.

Whatever happened to that guy, Keating, anyway? Turns out he retired with his military pension in 2009.

 

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