The mission of North American
Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) includes providing
an appropriate response to any form of an air attack
on America. It was created specifically to provide a
defense against long-range bombers that threatened critical
command and control targets, including the Pentagon
and White House. It subsequently was given the mission
of tracking and intercepting other aircraft including
drug-smuggler planes and cruise missile. In August 1999,
the commander of the 1st Air Force, General Larry K.
Arnold, specifically identified terrorists as part of
NORAD's mission, noting "Non-deterrable threats, such
as rogue nations and terrorists, make our job more crucial
and challenging than ever." NORAD's Capability included
an ability to locate rogue aircraft on radar within
2 minutes and scramble interceptor planes within 6 minutes.
a.m on September 11,2001, the FAA notified (NORAD) that
flight #11 has been hijacked. Three minutes later it
notified NORAD that flight #175 was also hijacked. By
9:02 a.m., both planes had crashed in the world trade
center and NORAD knew airliners were being hijacked
and converted into bombers. Yet, despite all its sophisticated
detection capability and " seamless command and control
capability," as General Arnold described it, it was
unable to intercept two other airliners headed for command
and control centers in the Washington area, at 9:38
a.mó 58 minutes after its initial warning about flight
11ó flight #77 hit the Pentagon; at 10: 06 a.mó one
hour and 26 minutes after its initial warningó Flight
93 crashes near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
1) Why did NORAD fail to have
fighters that could travel at a speed of 1,800 miles
an hour in a position to block or destroy these bombs.
Was it a failure of it equipment or organization?
2) Had NORAD held adequate rehearsals?
3) Was it a failure of it commanders
or those higher in the chain of command?
Gen. Richard B. Myers, former
NORAD commander and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff on 9-11, 2001
Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, commander
of NORAD on 9-11, 2001
Crime Scene Investigation:
Tape recordings of communications
between Watch commanders on 9-11, General Eberhart,
General Myers and others in the chain of command.