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NORAD History

Click here for a Chronology of NORAD History

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a bi-national United States and Canadian 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 May 2006 NORAD Agreement renewal added a maritime warning mission, which entails a shared awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and inland waterways.

To accomplish these critically important missions, NORAD continually adjusts its structure to meet the demands of a changing world. The commander is appointed by, and is responsible to, both the U.S. president and the Canadian prime minister. The commander maintains his headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The NORAD-U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Command Center serves as a central collection and coordination facility for a worldwide system of sensors designed to provide the commander and the leadership of Canada and the U.S. with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat. Three subordinate regional headquarters, located at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, Canadian Forces Base, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, receive direction from the commander and control air operations within their respective areas of responsibility.

To accomplish the aerospace warning mission, the commander of NORAD provides an integrated tactical warning and attack assessment to the governments of Canada and the United States. To accomplish the aerospace control mission, NORAD uses a network of satellites, ground-based radar, airborne radar and fighters to detect, intercept and, if necessary, engage any air-breathing threat to North America. As a part of its aerospace control mission, NORAD assists in the detection and monitoring of aircraft suspected of illegal drug trafficking. This information is passed to civilian law enforcement agencies to help combat the flow of illegal drugs into North America. The command is currently developing a concept for implementing the new maritime warning mission.

Through outstanding bi-national cooperation, NORAD has proven itself effective in its roles of watching, warning, and responding. NORAD continues to play an important role in the defense of Canada and the U.S by evolving to meet the changing threat. The events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated NORAD’s continued relevance to North American security. Today, NORAD provides civil authorities with a potent military response capability to counter domestic airspace threats.

While the national leadership of Canada and the U.S. continue to refine our response to the terrorist threat, NORAD’s proven abilities and unique capabilities will remain a vital part of homeland defense.

NORAD Historical Documents

- Air Defense Theory and Practice, 1918-1945 (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/History of Air Defense Weapons, 1946-1962.pdf)

- The Identification Problem in the Air Defense, 1946-1954 (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/The Identification Problem in the Air Defense, 1946-1954.pdf)

- Efforts toward U.S.-Mexican Air Defense Arrangements (1965) (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/4.Efforts Toward U.S.-Mexican Air Defense Arrangments (1965).pdf)

- 1958 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/1958 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf)

- 1958 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/1958 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf)

- 1959 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/1959 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf)

- 1959 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/1959 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf)

- ECCM in NORAD (1963) Release (/Portals/28/Documents/FOIA/7.ECCM in NORAD (1963) Release.pdf)

CONAD-ADC-NORAD History

- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jan - Jun Vol IX.pdf
- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jul - Dec Vol X.pdf
- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jan-Jun Vol VII.pdf
- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jan-Jun Vol IX.pdf
- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jul-Dec Vol X.pdf
- (U) 1955 CONAD History Jul-Dec Vol XI.pdf
- (U) 1956 CONAD-ADC History Jan-Jun Vol VII.pdf
- (U) 1957 ADC History Jan - Jun.pdf
- (U) 1957 ADC History Jan - Jun Vol III.pdf
- (U) 1956 CONAD History Jul 56 - Jun 57.pdf
- (U) 1956-1957 CONAD History Jul 56 - Jun 57 Vol I.pdf
- (U) 1956-1957 CONAD History Jul 56 - Jun 57 Vol II.pdf
- (U) 1956-1957 CONAD History Jul 56 - Jun 57 Vol III.pdf
- (U) 1957 CONAD-NORAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1957 CONAD-NORAD History Jul-Dec Vol II.pdf
- (U) 1957 CONAD-NORAD History Jul-Dec Vol III.pdf
- (U) 1957 CONAD-NORAD History Jul-Dec Vol IV.pdf
- (U) 1956-1957 NORAD CONAD History.pdf
- (U) 1957 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1958 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1958 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1959 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1959 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1960 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1960 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1961 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1962 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1962 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1963 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1963 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1964 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1965 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Jun.pdf
- (U) 1965 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec.pdf
- (U) 1966 NORAD-CONAD History.pdf