U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
The scene at the NORAD entrance in Cheyenne Mountain on July 15.
Something is afoot with the North American Aerospace Defense Command
and U.S. Northern Command
What makes us think so? First, the government approved a $700 million contract
recently to provide communications
inside Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station
, where NORAD and NorthCom have "warm standby" operations after moving headquarters about eight or nine years ago to Peterson Air Force Base
(In the news release below, the official status of the mountain bunker is called an Alternate Command Center.)
Now, we learn that Fort Carson and Peterson forces participated in an exercise last week with the Cheyenne Mountain station. Maybe this has been going on for awhile, but it's the first we've heard of such a drill.
This release comes from the
21st Space Wing's public affairs section:
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, respond to an exercise at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station with Strykers and Humvees July 15.
Existing support agreements ensure support between 21st Space Wing assets and Fort Carson during real world situations. The blocking force exercise tested the ability of Fort Carson and CMAFS to execute a joint mission, manage resources, stewardship of manpower and equipment readiness.
Owned and operated by the 21st SW on Peterson Air Force Base, CMAFS is designated as the Alternate Command Center, the primary being at North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command also located on Peterson AFB.
"The exercise demonstrates our joint commitment to protect the strategic missions of national significance in continuous operations at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station," said Col. Gary Cornn, 721st Mission Support Group and installation commander. "This is an important exercise showing the capability of Fort Carson's response if there is an increased threat."
The 4th ID, 1SBCT responded to provide a physical blocking force on key avenues of approach to CMAFS. In the event of a real world situation, the vehicles and personnel from Fort Carson would also be used for extra firepower, medical support, engineering and logistical support.
Strykers are eight-wheeled combat vehicles that are road legal and able to deploy immediately on and off road. The vehicles are capable of executing an array of missions and scenarios; more so than any other vehicle in the Department of Defense, said Maj. Kevin Boyd, 4th ID, 1SBCT public affairs officer. The Strykers give the 4th ID unique capabilities other Fort Carson units do not have.
"Working together in this joint security exercise was valuable for us as we worked the 759th Military Police Battalion from Fort Carson to open a closed gate to facilitate our movement up the mountain, and with the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station security forces to conduct link-up and support their security posture," said Boyd. "For our Soldiers it is important to know our neighbors and how we can conduct mutual aid for them to understand exactly what is needed and where to respond in a time of crisis cuts down our response time and enables us to bring the proper equipment."