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Deter. Detect. Defend.— NORAD's motto

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, was the principal aerospace and strategic defense command center for the North American continent. Conceived as a joint defense venture between the United States and Canada, but operated as a United States Armed Forces facility, NORAD protected the citizens of both countries through the darkest days of the pre-War.

History and Mission

Established May 12, 1958, NORAD was tasked with defending all of North America from the threat of the Soviet Union's ballistic missile fleet. To that end, NORAD became the nexus of all early-warning systems currently deployed, including BMEWS radar installations, satellite launch detection assets, and other sensor systems installed in Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, and the continental United States.

The base is constructed inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. The decision to situate the command center within the granite mountain was based on simple practicality: while the construction effort would be difficult, the protection afforded by the mountain could not be turned down.

The mission of NORAD was threefold:

  • DETER - By unifying the detection and response chains of the military, NORAD created a highly efficient means to respond to any threat, nuclear or conventional, against the United States and Canada. Any aggressor would almost certainly suffer grievous consequences in very short order.
  • DETECT - Constant monitoring of the airspace over the poles (the shortest land-based missile trajectory), activity in space, launch sites, and submarine activity gave NORAD an unparalleled ability to detect enemy activity. In particular, a Soviet missile launch would be detected nearly immediately, permitting the response chain to be brought into action quickly.
  • DEFEND - Although the decision to use American nuclear assets lay, and continues to lie, only with the President of the United States, NORAD was the central command for the disbursement of the order, if and when it came. Once the decision was made to deploy nuclear weapons and a legitimate order was transmitted to NORAD, American missiles would be in flight in very short order. The promise of fast response was a defense in and of itself.


  • In Fallout 2, NORAD is listed merely as a footnote, buried in the network script of the Gecko Power Plant computer terminal. NORAD is listed as "offline."[1]
  • In the Fallout 3 add-on Operation: Anchorage, a regional NORAD facility in the near vicinity of Anchorage is mentioned.[2]
  • In Fallout 4, NORAD is mentioned in The Switchboard's central terminal: "230917ROCT77 NORAD CONFIRMS BIRDS IN AIR **DEFCON 1**"[3]
  • Fallout Tactics In Fallout Tactics, Cheyenne Mountain - and, by extension, NORAD - formed the "center" of the Vault network, Vault 0.
  • Van Buren The location of NORAD (Cheyenne Mountain) was going to be a location in the canceled Van Buren.

External links


  1. GSTERM.MSG: "{350}{}{Searching Comlinks... Searching... Iron Mountain... Offline, NORAD... Offline, SAC... Offline. Searching PoseidoNet... --More?--}"
  2. Anchorage terminal entries; American artillery protocols, 1.1a: Cooperative Action w/regional NORAD site
  3. The Switchboard terminal entries; Central terminal; DEFCON Status - 2077
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