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Press Releases
Press Release | May 12, 2023

NORAD celebrates 65th anniversary

North American Aerospace Defense Command Public Affairs

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – Today, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) celebrated its 65th anniversary.

Gen. Glen VanHerck, hosted a ceremony marking the anniversary at Peterson Space Force Base. Among the distinguished guests was the Honorable Melissa Dalton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, as well as the event’s keynote speakers: General Tom Lawson (Retired, Royal Canadian Air Force), former Chief of the Defence Staff (Canada) and former NORAD deputy commander; and Lieutenant-General Frances Allen (Royal Canadian Air Force), Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (Canada).

About the anniversary, Hon. Dalton said, “Over the years, the strength of NORAD has rested in its ability to evolve in response to the changing strategic environment to keep North America safe from aerospace and maritime threats. As we reflect on the integral contribution that NORAD has made to the safety and security of North America these past 65 years, this is also a moment to reflect on the immense impact that NORAD will have in the years to come.”

During the event, Gen. VanHerck said, “Today’s strategic environment is the most complex and demanding I have witnessed in my 36 years of service. The threats to NORAD have evolved and so have our missions. Today, we are challenged from all vectors and across all domains. Though the strategic environment remains challenging, I am confident that the future of NORAD remains in great hands. Throughout the esteemed history and legacy of NORAD, one thing has always remained constant – the professionalism and tireless commitment of our people. Together, we execute the noblest mission: defending our homelands and our way of life. It continues to be an honor to lead this bi-national team.”

About the command, Lieutenant-General Allen said, "NORAD continues to foster the partnership that has provided Canada and the U.S. with what is our most distinct strategic advantage over the past 65 years. NORAD is an obvious example of the enormous benefit to shared security and regional stability generated by international cooperation, an example that holds steadfast in NORAD’s resolve to keep North America safe.”

A flyover of several NORAD aircraft, including a F-16 and two CF-18s highlighted the event.

Notable Facts about NORAD’s History

  • There have been four NORAD headquarters buildings in Colorado Springs, Colo.:
    • Ent Air Force Base (1958-1962)
    • Chidlaw Building (1963-1987)
    • Building 1470, Peterson Air Force Base (1988-2002)
    • Eberhart-Findley Building at Peterson Space Force Base (2003-present)
  • Since 1958, there have been four radar lines protecting North America:
    • Distant Early Warning "DEW" Line (1954-1988)
    • Mid-Canada Lin/McGill Fence (1956-1965)
    • Pinetree Line (1951-1991)
    • North Warning System (1988-Present)
  • On October 14, 1961, the FAA grounded all civilian aircraft in the United States for 12 hours by special order in support of NORAD's Exercise Sky Shield II. It was, and still is, NORAD's largest air defense military exercise ever, with 1,800 NORAD fighters flying 6,000 sorties.
  • NORAD has used 14 different fighter aircraft to conduct its missions since May 1958:
    • F-86D/L Sabre
    • F-94C Starfire
    • F-89D/H/J Scorpion
    • F-102A Delta Dagger
    • F-104 Starfighter
    • F-101B Voodoo
    • F-106A Delta Dart
    • F-4C/D/E Phantom
    • F-15A/C Eagle
    • CF-101 Voodoo
    • F-16 Fighting Falcon
    • CF-18 Hornet
    • F-22 Raptor
    • F-35 Lightning II
  • Operation NOBLE EAGLE is the name given to all air sovereignty and air defense missions in North America, since its inception after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Active for nearly 22 years, this response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between Canada and U.S. borders and uses NORAD forces from both countries.
  • Since 2001, NORAD has tracked approximately 33,500 reportable tracks within its Air Defense Identification Zones, including the North American airspace. A reportable track is sensor data that NORAD identifies and correlates to aircraft activity or other airborne objects, to assess whether it presents a threat to North America or national security.




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