by Pam Zubeck
If only our nation's air and space security agency were as welcoming to the media about national security issues as it is about trying to stir up coverage of an imaginary portly, white-haired pilot who flies only once a year, perhaps the public might know a little more about what's really important.
Today, the North American Aerospace Defense Command based at Peterson Air Force Base put out yet another press release begging the media to cover its electronic tracking of Santa, a holiday activity that's taken on epic proportions since a simple misprint caused a child to mistakenly phone the command some 54 years ago and ask about Santa. Now, all manner of technology and human resources (hundreds of volunteer hours) are spent following the figment around the globe, answering phone calls and e-mails and even making the Web site available in various languages, including Chinese.
In contrast, if the media should dare to ask about the gaps in states' capabilities to respond to emergencies, NORAD's move out of the underground bunker at Cheyenne Mountain or whether NORAD is going to expand its territory to the Arctic, forget it.
But then, what does the public really care about? Santa's travels, hands down, create more Web traffic for NORAD than any other single item. I guess those guys at NORAD know their audience. Here's the site, if you care to hop on the sleigh for a virtual spin around the globe.