The United States’ airspace defense military is planning to move its communications equipment back to its iconic nuclear Cold War-era bunker which was abandoned nearly a decade ago, the head of the agency announced.
The Cheyenne Mountain bunker in Colorado Springs, which was the filming location for the popular Stargate SG-1 science fiction TV series, was first built in 1965 to resist a Soviet nuclear attack.
It was a key center for United States Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which scanned Canadian and US airspace via a worldwide system of missiles.
The site was abandoned in 2006 due to heavy costs, and since then the complex has been merely on “warm standby,” meaning it is only staffed when required.
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Now NORAD and US Space Command have decided to move back to the Cold War-era bunker. Admiral William Gortney, chief of NORAD and Northern Command, said it was necessary to safeguard sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
“Because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP hardened. [It] wasn’t really designed to be that way, but the way it was constructed makes it that way,” Gortney said at a Department of Defense press briefing.
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According to the navy admiral, “there’s a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there.”
“We have the space for it, we have the cube. My primary concern was are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I’m not at liberty to discuss who’s moving in there, but we do have that capability to be there.”
Answering the question how soon the airspace military is planning to relocate to the nuclear bunker, he said that the process has already begun.
“It happened long before I got there; the people are moving in there. And so it was, you know decisions from my predecessor and I support those decisions. And we’ll make sure that it all gets in there and it’s all secure.”
The Cheyenne Mountain Complex has the capability to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles.
In March, the US Department of Defense announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Technical Services Company, a major defense contractor and industrial corporation, to work on the North American Aerospace Defense Command Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
“We look forward to working closely with the Air Force in this important area of national security,” said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.
Under the contract, Raytheon will provide sustainment services and products to enable accurate, timely and unambiguous warning and attack assessment of air, missile and space threats.
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Since 2013, US authorities have struck $850 million worth of deals for work related to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
Then-US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in 2013: “These facilities and the entire complex of NORAD and NORTHCOM represent the nerve center of defense for North America.”