Yesterday the Pentagon announced its intention to close The Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center.
COLORADO SPRINGS, July 28 -- Facing new enemies in a different kind of war, the Pentagon said Friday that it plans to move out of the famous war room that was built beneath a mountain here in the 1960s with enough concrete to survive a Soviet missile strike.Back in my Navy days I knew a CPO who was assigned to Cheyenne at one time. He sometimes talked about life there but I don't recall any of it today.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will transfer surveillance operations from Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, an iconic Cold War venue depicted in such movies as "War Games" and "The Sum of All Fears," to an office building a dozen miles away at Peterson Air Force Base.
The Cheyenne Mountain war room, nesting more than 1,000 feet under the mountain and protected by iron blast doors weighing 30 tons apiece, is to be placed in a status the military calls "warm standby," which means it could be reopened in hours if a need arose.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department has spent about $700 million to upgrade early-warning systems at the Cheyenne Mountain center. A report this month by the Government Accountability Office said the upgrade has been "fraught with cost increases, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls."
Despite that upgrade, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command, created a group in February to consider moving the NORAD surveillance operation to Peterson. The study recommended the shift for operational and budget reasons, the Northern Command said in a statement Friday.
NORAD officials emphasized that the same surveillance work will be carried out, but without the enormous protective shield of iron, earth and concrete provided at Cheyenne Mountain. The military concluded that it no longer needed to be concerned about an intercontinental nuclear missile.
"Moving the missions from a hardened facility to Peterson AFB does not change the level of security," Keating told reporters Friday. "An assessment is underway to ensure that the security level is commensurate with threats."
"A missile attack from China or Russia is very unlikely," Keating said, according to a transcript of a recent interview with the Denver Post.
The Cold War is over. China and Russia aren't threats. I think the days of a massive attack scenario are in the past but then who knows the future. The military will keep Cheyenne in mothballs for some future eventuality. All we can do is pray it will never be needed.
Hat tip- Below the Beltway
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