NORAD and USNORTHCOM have complementary missions and members of our headquarters staffs work to fulfill our homeland defense responsibilities. The two commands operate within a common security environment and share common values, understanding the urgency and importance of our duties in light of very real and present dangers.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) established May 12, 1958, is a United States and Canadian bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States. The renewal of the NORAD agreement in May 2006, added maritime warning to its mission, which entails processing, assessing and disseminating intelligence and information regarding maritime threats to North America.
U.S. Northern Command was established Oct. 1, 2002, to provide command and control of Department of Defense homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM defends America’s homeland–protecting our people, national power and freedom of action. USNORTHCOM anticipates and conducts Homeland Defense and Civil Support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect and secure the United States and its interests.
The headquarters for NORAD and USNORTHCOM is located in Building 2 at Peterson Air Force Base. Within Building 2, the NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s Integrated Command Center enables both commands to combine land, air, space, missile warning, maritime and cyber domains. The Integrated Command Center brings the commands’ missions together in a way that creates great synergy and improves the ability to integrate situational awareness, to respond to a major event in either of our countries and then to take the national capabilities that respond to disasters, both man-made and natural and bring relief to our citizens in our communities.
This new command and control center maintains constant links with more than 150 command centers across our country, as well as Canada Command and Canada’s Domestic Military Operations Command, which helps NORAD and USNORTHCOM meet the challenges of the future by allowing for effective, efficient communications between these organizations. These links contribute to the defense of the continent every day and will serve as a key role in defending the United States and Canada today and in the future.
Air Force Space Command, created Sept. 1, 1982, is a major command with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. AFSPC defends North America through its space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations—vital force elements in projecting global reach and global power.
AFSPC’s mission is to deliver space and missile capabilities to America and its war fighting commands.
America’s space leaders…Delivering responsive, assured, decisive space power.
The organization has four strategic priorities:
Approximately 39,000 people, including 25,000 active-duty military and civilians and 13,700 contractor employees, combine to perform AFSPC missions.
AFSPC has two numbered air forces and two centers. Fourteenth Air Force is located at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Fourteenth Air Force manages the generation and employment of space forces to support U.S. Strategic Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command operational plans and missions. Twentieth Air
Force is located at FE. Warren AFB, Wyo. Twentieth Air Force operates and maintains the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile weapon systems in support of USSTRATCOM war plans.
The Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., designs and acquires all Air Force and most Department of Defense space systems. It oversees launches, completes on-orbit checkouts and then turns systems over to user agencies. It supports the Program Executive Office for Space on the Global Positioning, Defense Satellite Communications and MILSTAR systems. SMC also supports the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, Defense Meteorological Satellite and Defense Support programs, and the Space Based Infrared System. In addition, it supports development and acquisition of land-based ICBMs for the Air Force Program Executive Office for Strategic Systems.
SMC also manages the research, design, development, acquisition and sustainment of space launch, command and control, missile systems and satellite systems.
The Space Innovation and Development Center at Schriever AFB, Colo., is responsible for integrating space systems into the operational Air Force.
AFSPC bases include: Schriever, Peterson and Buckley, Colo.; Los Angeles and Vandenberg, Calif.; Patrick, Fla.; FE. Warren, Wyo.; Malmstrom, Mont.; and one wing is located at Minot, N.D.; an Air Combat Command base. In addition, many geographically separated units span the globe.
Early Warning System, PAVE Phased Array Warning System and Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack radars. The Maui Optical Tracking Identification Facility, Ground-based ElectroOptical Deep Space Surveillance System, Passive Space Surveillance System, phased-array and mechanical radars provide primary space surveillance coverage. New transformational space programs are continuously being researched and developed to enable AFSPC to stay on the leading-edge of technology.
The ICBM force consists of Minuteman III missiles that provide the critical component of America’s on-alert strategic forces. As the nation’s “silent sentinels,” ICBMs and the people who operate them, have remained on continuous around-the-clock alert since 1959—longer than any other U.S. strategic force. More than about 450 ICBMs are currently on alert in reinforced concrete launch facilities beneath the Great Plains.
AFSPC is the Air Force’s lead command and largest operator of UH-1N Huey helicopters. The command uses helicopters to support ICBM operations at FE. Warren, Malmstrom and Minot.
In 1982, the Air Force established Air Force Space Command, with space operations as its primary mission. During the Cold War, space operations focused on missile warning, space surveillance and command and control for national leadership. In 1991, Operation Desert Storm provided emphasis for the command’s new focus on support to the war fighter. The Space Warfare Center, now named the Space Innovation and Development Center, was created to ensure space capabilities reach the people who need it. ICBM forces joined AFSPC in 1993.
In 2001, upon the recommendation of the Space Commission, the Space and Missile Systems Center joined the command. It previously belonged to Air Force Materiel Command. AFSPC is currently the only Air Force command to have its acquisition arm within the command. In 2002, also on a recommendation from the Space Commission, AFSPC was assigned its own four-star commander after previously sharing a commander with U.S. Space Command and NORAD.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command provide command and control of the 1st Space Brigade and the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense). SMDC/ ARSTRAT also provides secure, space-based Blue Force Tracking and communications planning through Regional Satellite Communications Support Centers and the Measurements and Signatures Intelligence—Advanced Geospatial
Intelligence (MASINT-AGI) node to Army forces and, upon request, to joint war fighters.
Since the first Gulf War, space Soldiers have supported every major contingency operation with long haul communications, satellite imagery and early warning of missile launches.
Space Soldiers are spread around the globe providing flexible, reliable and pinpoint support to war fighters and homeland defense against missile attack.
1st Space Brigade’s 53rd Signal Battalion (SAT-CON) operates and manages the Defense Satellite Communications System Operations Centers. This system provides assured communications for command and control, critical intelligence, video teleconferences and logistics to U.S. war fighting forces—anywhere, anytime.
The battalion manages and controls user access to the DSCS payloads to assure the reliability of the communications they provide to tactical and strategic war fighters. The battalion is composed of six companies located around the world that operate DSCS control facilities.
1st Space Battalion’s support to the Army, joint and coalition warfighter spans the globe.
This Colorado Army National Guard battalion provides space-based support to designated ground forces commanders in support of Army operations. This battalion demonstrates that citizen-Soldiers can bring space capabilities to the Army and leverages the expertise and experience in space that these citizen-Soldiers gain in their civilian jobs.
The 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense), Colorado Army National Guard, provides oversight of the Soldiers trained to operate the nation’s limited missile defense capability. The brigade has trained operators who monitor the GMD system at the Joint National Integration Center at Schriever AFB. The brigade comes under the overall direction of the responsible combatant commander during an operational mission.
The 49th Missile Defense Battalion (GMD), Alaska Army National Guard, provides physical security and defense of the interceptor site as well as operators who are trained to operate the GMD system. The Soldiers who operate and maintain the system undergo a strenuous course of education and training before being available for assignment to the missile site at Fort Greely, Alaska.
Working with USSTRATCOM, the Missile Defense Agency, the Army National Guard and many others, SMDC/ARSTRAT is helping to develop a missile defense capability. As the user and operator of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense capability, SMDC/ARSTRAT is contributing to ongoing developmental efforts in planning and user refinements and establishing the tactics, techniques and procedures with which it will be operated.
Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station is host to a number of missions and organizations: NORAD-NORTHCOM’s training, exercise and alternate command center functions, USSTRATCOM’s Missile Warning Center, Det 2, 17th Test Squadron, Air Force Technical Applications Center’s research laboratory, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Western Regional CONUS Support Center, and the 721st Mission Support Group which falls under the 21st Space Wing.
CMAFS is at the center of a worldwide system of satellites, radars and sensors that provide early warning of any missile, air or space threat to North America. CMAFS also processes theater ballistic missile warning for U.S. and allied forces. In support of the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., CMAFS provides a day-to-day data feed of what is in space and where it is located to enable space situational awareness protection, prevention and negation functions supported by the surveillance of space.
CMAFS is truly one of the most unique installations in the world. Apart from the fact that 5.1 acres are housed 2,000 feet underground, operations are conducted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Cheyenne Mountain added another mission to its historic legacy in the defense of North America. The terrorist attacks against the United States marked the beginning of Operation Noble Eagle, which requires the monitoring of the interior airspace of Canada and the United States. Today, Cheyenne Mountain stands ready to support North American defense continuity of operations during any contingency from limited nuclear war, to pandemic influenza, to High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse.