North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) & the US’ Northern Command (NORTHCOM) held a Facebook Live town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 24, informing the public how their essential teams in charge of homeland security are isolating at the Cheyenne Mountain bunker in Colorado amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who commands NORAD and NORTHCOM, told reporters on Facebook Live last Tuesday that essential staff is being moved from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to the underground bunker complex that is 24 miles away in Cheyenne Mountain. The facility is more than 2,000 feet underground and can survive a 30 megaton nuclear explosion.
“To ensure that we can defend the homeland despite this pandemic, our command and control watch teams here in the headquarters split into multiple shifts and portions of our watch team began working from Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, creating a third team at an alternate location as well,” O’Shaughnessy said.
“Our dedicated professionals of the NORAD and NORTHCOM command and control watch have left their homes, said goodbye to their families and are isolated from everyone to ensure that they can stand the watch each and every day to defend our homeland.
“It’s certainly not optimal, but it’s absolutely necessary and appropriate given the situation.”
Join us for a NORAD & USNORTHCOM townhall meeting via Facebook Live, Tuesday, 24 March at 2 p.m. MDT. Our Commander, General O'Shaughnessy; the Command Surgeon, Dr. (Captain) Kane; and our Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Sergeant Major McKenna, will answer questions and discuss our commands' COVID-19 priorities: 1) protect our force and their families, 2) protect our readiness to defend the homelands, and 3) support our interagency partners addressing the crisis.Submit questions to: https://go.usa.gov/xdJ5F Click "Got a Questions"
Posted by U.S. Northern Command on Monday, March 23, 2020
NORAD and NORTHCOM have already used up about 30% of the underground facility, according to The Drive. O’Shaughnessy said with the increased personnel, his “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.”