Thursday, May 4, 2017

Previously Unavailable Histories of NORAD

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.

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