NORAD 60th Anniversary

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To establish a defensive air shield over North America during the Cold War, the governments of the United States and Canada signed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) agreement on May 12th, 1958. This agreement created the bi-national command that would be responsible for defending North America’s airspace from any external threats.

Headquartered at what was then Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NORAD dedicated military personnel and assets from both the United States and Canada to work side-by-side in the defense of North America.

Throughout its history NORAD has evolved to meet the ever-changing threats to North America, such as the intercontinental ballistic missile threats, that led to the to the establishment of the now-iconic operations complex within Cheyenne Mountain, a location designed to withstand a nuclear attack.

Modernization saw NORAD expand its mission to include tactical warning and assessment of possible air, missile or space attacks on North America that was codified in the 1981 NORAD agreement that updated the name of the command to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 NORAD began conducting Operation NOBLE EAGLE to defend Canada and the United States against terrorist activity within or outside the nations’ air borders.

Since 2006, NORAD has analyzed information from diverse bi-national sources to provide warning of maritime threats to the United States and Canada.


For 60 years, through outstanding bi-national teamwork, NORAD has proven itself in its roles of watching for, warning of, and defending against evolving threats. As it has throughout its history, NORAD continues to modernize to ensure the defense of North America against all perils in all domains.

Canada and the United States share a unique military relationship within NORAD, the only bi-national military organization in the world, and remain committed to its essential function: the defense of North America.

To that end NORAD's stewadship in the Evolution of North American Defense initiative is a comprehensive effort to develop material and non-material solutions to address emergent and "unknown" future challenges resulting in a secure North America.

Combining strength and resources of Canada and the United States, NORAD remains committed to detecting and deterring threats to North America as Canadians and Americans work jointly to safeguard our collective defense for years to come.


The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducts three missions: aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America.

A Canadian and United States bi-national military command, NORAD continuously provides worldwide detection, identification and warning of ballistic missile threats to North America as well as maritime threats or attacks against North America.

NORAD maintains continental detection, validation, warning, and aerospace control of airborne threats to North America and appropriate aerospace defense measures to respond to hostile actions against North America through Operation NOBLE EAGLE.

There are three NORAD geographic regions:

  • the Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) headquartered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska;
  • the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) headquartered with the 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and
  • the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR) headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

The defense of North American airspace remains NORAD’s primary mission, whether against 9/11 style terrorist attacks or against traditional aviation threats.



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