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Cheyenne Mountain Complex

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex (CMC) outside Colorado Springs, CO is the main correlation center of the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) system. Cheyenne Mountain is the command, control, communication and intelligence center for coordinating and controlling North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) missions. The facility houses operations centers which are equipped with processors, displays, and communications link the centers to forward sensors and to the NCC.

The centers, which conduct missile, atmospheric, and space warning activities, are:

There are five crews that man the centers. Each crew consists of approximately 40 people, and are designated as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Under normal conditions only one crew will be on duty during an eight-hour shift.

With the development of large computers and with the advent of the threat of ballistic attack, NORAD developed a series of semiautomated warning and assessment systems, culminating with the development of the 427M system contained within Cheyenne Mountain, which became operational in 1979. As soon as the 427M system became operational NORAD and the US Air Force Air Defense Command developed a series of command-level programs to resolve operational and sustainment problems with the 427M system by the creation of individual acquisition programs with limited scope and cost. In 1981, the Air Force began a modernization effort consisting of five separate acquisitions to replace aging and obsolete computer systems at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. By the mid 1980s, six programs were underway with an aggregate cost of almost $2 billion. It soon became evident that the set of Cheyenne Mountain upgrades needed to be restructured as a single, major, integrated upgrade program. The consolidated program was formally started in 1989.

The Cheyenne Mountain Upgrade (CMU) Program consists of upgrades to NORAD ballistic missile, air, space, and command center elements within the CMC, as well as upgrades and provides new capability to survivable communication and warning elements at the National Military Command Center (NMCC),USSTRATCOM, and other forward user locations. CMU additionally provides at Offutt AFB an austere backup to Cheyenne Mountain ballistic missile warning. CMU's modernization and new capabilities enhance the ability to rapidly and accurately correlate ITW/AA information, providing commanders with timely, accurate, and unambiguous information regarding enemy missile, air, and space systems throughout the full spectrum of conflict. The CMU program consists of the following major subsystems: The five original acquisition programs for the Cheyenne Mountain Complex were initially scheduled for completion in 1987 at a cost of $968 million. After a series of delayed completion schedules and increased development cost estimates, as of 1994 the CMU program was 8 years behind schedule and $792 million over budget. Initial versions of several CMU subsystems that the Air Force declared operational were unreliable and did not meet users' requirements. As a result, those subsystems were operated in parallel with the systems they were meant to replace.

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