Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cheyenne Mountain Shutting Down?

The Associated Press provides more detail on the reported plans of the North American Aerospace Defense Command to shut down Cheyenne Mountain:

Military may scale back operations at secretive base

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The military is studying whether to dramatically scale back work done at the secretive Cheyenne Mountain complex, the heavily fortified underground installation that has been a Cold War-era icon for 40 years.

Details of the study were reported Friday by The Gazette newspaper, which said it was provided anonymously.

The Cheyenne Mountain center helps monitor North American skies, oceans and space for threats. [Influence Peddler Note: It is best known for tracking Santa.] It was built at a time the United States feared a Soviet nuclear attack.

The study was commissioned in February by Adm. Timothy Keating, chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

It outlines plans to move Cheyenne Mountain's missile defense and air defense missions to the Peterson base, missile warning to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, home of Strategic Command, and the space mission to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Air Force Space Command confirmed that "plans are currently being developed to move the 1st Space Control Squadron to Vandenberg AFB."

"At this time, however, it is uncertain when that move will take place or what the costs will be," Space Command said.

The $100,000 study, originally slated for June release, has been delayed by at least a month, military spokesman Michael Perini told the newspaper. He said the study would not result in closing Cheyenne Mountain.

"There is no talk at this point of dismantling any portion of the command center at Cheyenne Mountain," Perini's statement said. But it said the center could be placed on "warm standby" status, a term that will be defined by the study.

A former senior government official familiar with the study told the Gazette it suggests moving 150 people, about a third of the Cheyenne Mountain work force, to Peterson to achieve "substantial savings." The official asked not to be named for fear of damaging his continuing relations with the military.

Over the past several years, a building at Peterson AFB was expanded to accommodate a NORAD operations center that has since become a joint facility shared with Northern Command, the new homeland defense arm created in 2002. U.S. Space Command became part of Strategic Command.

This truly marks the end of an era, folks: the Cold War isn't coming back. All my friends who studied guns and bombs in undergrad will have to find new lines of work.

Here's a little bit of nostalgia for all of you. More here.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Activating the missile defense system for a Korean missile-I think not-we're just getting ready to take care of the Claus problem this winter!