>>> North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a joint US-Canada military command tasked primarily with controlling and defending the airspace of North America. Formed in 1958, it has become the stuff of legend for a number of reasons, including the fact that (unlike the rest of the military) it's not subject to FOIA, the way it dropped the ball on 9/11, and the enormous underground command center it built inside of a mountain.

That Combat Operations Center deep inside Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colorado, has triggered lots of speculation over the decades. NORAD moved its headquarters to nearby Peterson Air Force Base in 2006, but the underground complex is still used by a number of military and intelligence agencies.

Photos from inside the mountain have never been plentiful, and all images taken or released since 9/11 have been tightly controlled. But there are two older sources of images available, though they've been nearly impossible to obtain.

One is a NORAD report from 1966: "NORAD Underground COC [Combat Operations Center]: Initial Requirement to Initial Operation, 1956-1966" by David W. Shircliffe, Directorate of Command History, Command Public Affairs Office, Headquarters NORAD. The Memory Hole 2 has obtained a copy [click here for the PDF].

The other source is a book from a tiny regional press that was published 46 years ago: NORAD Command Post: The City Inside Cheyenne Mountain by Henry W. Hough (Denver CO: Green Mountain Press, 1970). No copies are available on Amazon or ABE, and only 27 libraries in the world have a copy. Happily, I live near one of them.

Photos from both these publications are below. Recent photos (and footage) inside Cheyenne Mountain have been taken by USA Today, 7News Denver, and the Air Force's magazine, Airman.

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From "NORAD Underground COC: Initial Requirement to Initial Operation, 1956-1966"


From NORAD Command Post: The City Inside of Cheyenne Mountain