WASHINGTON, April 8. /TASS/. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intends to resume operation of the Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado) base - a cold war-era bunker, a command representative said on Wednesday.
According to him, the bunker will safeguard the NORAD communications gear - sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.
The Pentagon has confirmed information on the resumption of the operation of the mothballed complex. Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that "because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP-hardened." "And so, there’s a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there," Gortney told reporters. "My primary concern was... are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I’m not at liberty to discuss who’s moving in there," he said.
The Cheyenne Mountain Complex is located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station (CMAFS), a short distance from NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station falls under Air Force Space Command and hosts the activities of several tenant units.
At the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s, the idea of a hardened command and control centre was conceptualised as a defence against long-range Soviet bombers. The Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain and the construction of an operational centre within the granite mountain. The Cheyenne Mountain facility became fully operational as the NORAD Combat Operations Centre on February 6, 1967.
Over the years, the installation came to house elements of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Under what became known as the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Centre (CMOC), several centres supported the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.
NORAD’s focus and facilities have both evolved to meet the asymmetric threats of the 21st century. On July 28, 2006, the Cheyenne Mountain Directorate was re-designated as the Cheyenne Mountain Division, with the mission to assist in establishing an integrated NORAD and USNORTHCOM Command Centre within the headquarters building at Peterson Air Force Base.
Since 2006, the bunker has been on a standby ready to be transferred to full operational status within a few hours. The decision on its mothballing was made then in connection with inexpedience of the project, which required major financial injections.