NORAD und der Blick nach außen

Die Mission des NORAD

Das North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) definiert sich bis heute durch die Aufgabe „to provide surveillance and control of the airspace covering North America” (Quelle).
Je nach politischer Lage ändern sich die Methoden, mit denen diese Mission realisiert wird. Um zu verstehen, wie diese Methoden bis 9/11 aussahen, ist ein Blick in die Geschichte NORADs hilfreich: NORAD ist ein Produkt des Kalten Krieges. Die Angst vor einem Angriff durch sowjetische Langstreckenbomber führte zu einer verstärkten Überwachung der nordamerikanischen Grenzgebiete und hierfür wurde NORAD im Jahr 1958 gegründet. Der nordamerikanische Kontinent wurde in verschiedene Regionen eingeteilt und in einem Gürtel rund um den Kontinent Radarstationen installiert. Eine NORAD-Broschüre aus den frühen Sechzigern liefert einen Einblick in die Situation und das Ziel (vgl. S. 7ff., S. 9):

The threat posed by the manned bomber has existed the longest, and still remains formidable. In order to detect a manned bomber attack, a system of land and air based radars surrounds the North American continent.
The second function of air defense, to determind intent, is complicated by the fact that 600 to 1000 aircraft approach this continent from overseas each day. The pilot of each such flight must file a flight plan prior to departure indicating a place and time at which he will cross the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) which surrounds the continent. If he makes good his flight plan, he is considered identified and determined to be peaceful; however, if he is out of correlation limits, he must be positively identified. This is normally done by radio or by scrambling fighter-interceptor aircraft whose pilots visually identify the errant aircraft.

Das US Army Air Defense Digest von 1965, Kap. 2, fasst die damaligen Radarkapazitäten zusammen (S. 12):

A second detection system is the manned bomber surveillance network, composed of three land-based radar networks (fig 9), Navy picket ships, and Air Force and Navy radar planes. The first line of radars begins in the far north with the distant early warning (DEW) line (fig 10). This radar fence, which stretches from the eastern shores of Greenland across the Canadian Arctic and along the Aleutian chain, provides initial warning of attack by manned bombers. Backing up this fence is the mid-Canada radar line across a part of the northern portion of Canada above the well-populated areas. Ground-based radar, called contiguous coverage radar, is extended out to sea off both coasts by Air Force radar planes (fig 11) and Navy picket ships (fig 12). All of these systems are joined together by a communications network terminating in the NORAD Combat Operations Center at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Die zugehörige Grafik:

Die Genese des NORAD-Radar lässt sich anhand von Stichdaten nachzeichnen (Stand 1998):

Jan 58 — Mid-Canada [radar] Line declared fully operational. […] Sep 60 — BMEWS Site No. 1, Thule Air Base, Greenland, detection radars reached initial operational capability — first operation of BMEWS […] May 70 — The AN/FPS-85 phased array detection and tracking radar at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, was declared fully operational. This did not include the SLBM detection and warning function. […] 18 Jul 75 — The FPS-85 radar at Eglin Air Force Base FL, formerly a space surveillance radar, was modified to perform the sea-launched ballistic missile detection and tracking function. It achieved initial operational capability on this date. […] Apr 76 — PAVE PAWS, a phased-array early warning radar proposed to replace Sea Launched Ballistic Missile warning system radars (AN/FSS-7s), contract awarded for site at Otis Air Force Base, MA, and at Beale Air Force Base, CA. […] Oct 76 — System testing of new Cobra Dane phased-array radar began at Shemya Air Force Base, AK. Cobra Dane supported Spacetrack and other missions. […] Apr 87 — The US and Canada began deployment of the first segment of the NWS (North Warning System). The NWS series of radar sites replaced the DEW Line. […] 24 Jun 87 — The solid-state phased array radar at Thule AB, Greenland, achieved initial operational capability. […] 30 Jun 88 — NORAD implemented a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in order to make the ADIZ contiguous around the periphery of North America. The ADIZ was defined as that area of airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of aircraft was required in the interest of national security. […] 2 May 91 — Phase I, Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS) radar upgrade program, at Beale Air Force Base, achieved initial operational capability. […] Mar 93 — Relocatable Over-the-Horizon (ROTHR) radar entered counter drug operations. […] 15 Jul 93 — The DEW Line officially closed.

Die aufgezählten Radarstandorte illustrieren den Blick nach außen. Die Thule AFB, die Eglin AFB, die Otis AFB, die Beale AFB liegen alle in Küstennähe. Die Shemya AFB liegt im Pazifik. Einzig die Mid-Canada Radar Line führte durch Kanada und die Distant Early Warning Line (DEW) an der Nordgrenze Kanadas entlang – beide Linien gibt es jedoch nicht mehr.
Nichts in der Geschichte NORADs deutet demnach auf eine Radarüberwachung des nordamerikanischen Kontinents hin, das ganze Konzept ist ausgelegt auf Angriffe von außen. Die in der o.g. NORAD-Historie für Juni 1988 angeführte contiguous U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone (continguous U.S. ADIZ), für deren Überwachung NORAD zuständig ist, ist hier durch Längen- und Breitengrade festgelegt:

Continguous U.S. ADIZ. The area bounded by a line from 43°15′N, 65°55′W; 44°21′N; 67°16′W; 43°10′N; 69°40′W; 41°05′N; 69°40′W; 40°32′N; 72°15′W; 39°55′N; 73°00′W; 39°38′N; 73°00′W; 39°36′N; 73°40′W; 37°00′N; 75°30′W; 36°10′N; 75°10′W; 35°10′N; 75°10′W; 32°00′N; 80°30′W; 30°30′N; 81°00′W; 26°40′N; 79°40′W; 25°00′N; 80°05′W; 24°25′N; 81°15′W; 24°20′N; 81°45′W; 24°30′N; 82°06′W; 24°41′N; 82°06′W; 24°43′N; 82°00′W; 25°00′N; 81°30′W; 25°10′N; 81°23′W; 25°35′N; 81°30′W; 26°15′N 82°20′W; 27°50′N; 83°05′W; 28°55′N; 83°30′W; 29°42′N; 84°00′W; 29°20′N; 85°00′W; 30°00′N; 87°10′W; 30°00′N; 88°30′W; 28°45′N; 88°55′W; 28°45′N; 90°00′W; 29°25′N; 94°00′W; 28°20′N; 96°00′W; 27°30′N; 97°00′W; 26°00′N; 97°00′W; 25°58′N; 97°07′W; westward along the U.S./Mexico border to 32°32’03″N, 117°07’25″W; 32°30′N; 117°25′W; 32°35′N; 118°30′W; 33°05′N; 119°45′W; 33°55′N; 120°40′W; 34°50′N; 121°10′W; 38°50′N; 124°00′W; 40°00′N; 124°35′W; 40°25′N; 124°40′W; 42°50′N; 124°50′W; 46°15′N; 124°30′W; 48°30′N; 125°00′W; 48°20′N; 128°00′W; 48°20′N; 132°00′W; 37°42′N; 130°40′W; 29°00′N; 124°00′W; 30°45′N; 120°50′W; 32°00′N; 118°24′W; 32°30′N; 117°20′W; 32°32’03″N; 117°07’25″W; eastward along the U.S./Mexico border to 25°58′N, 97°07′W; 26°00′N; 97°00′W; 26°00′N; 95°00′W; 26°30′N; 95°00′W; then via 26°30′N; parallel to 26°30′N; 84°00′W; 24°00′N; 83°00′W; then Via 24°00′N; parallel to 24°00′N; 79°25′W; 25°40′N; 79°25′W; 27°30′N; 78°50′W; 30°45′N; 74°00′W; 39°30′N; 63°45′W; 43°00′N; 65°48′W; to point of beginning.

Es handelt sich um einen Gürtel rund um Nordamerika (Quelle der Grafik):

Die Überwachung des Flugverkehrs in diesem Gürtel war bis 9/11 die Aufgabe NORADs. In der “NORAD REGION GROUND ENVIRONMENT SYSTEM CONFIGURATION“ werden detailliert die Radarstationen der USAF aufgelistet, auf die NORAD hierbei zurückgreifen konnte (Stand 1995). Die Liste für NEADS lautet:

J01 NAS Oceana VA 4 J
R51 Barrington NS 1 M
J50 The Plains VA 3 F
J51 Gibbsboro AFS NJ – J
J52 Riverhead NY 4 J
J53 North Truro AFS MA 4 J
J54 Bucks Harbor ME 4 J
J55 Remsen NY 4 J
J56 Dansville NY 3 F
G56 Sandborn/Lockport NY 6 M
J58 Empire MI 3 F
J60 Nashwauk MN 4 J
J61 Trevose PA 3 F
J62 Detroit/Canton MI/OH 3 J
G62 Alpena (CRTC) MI 6 M
G63 Plattsburg NY 6 M
G51 McGuire AFB NJ 6 M
ECRS Bangor ME ( in storage) 5 MC

Demzufolge standen NEADS im Jahr 1995 Radarstationen in Oceana (Virginia), Barrington (Nova Scotia), The Plains (Virginia), Gibbsboro (New Jersey), Riverhead (New York), North Truro (New York), Bucks Harbor (Maine), Remsen (New York), Dansville (New York), Sanborn/Lockport (New York), Empire (Maine), Nashwauk (Minnesota), Trevose (Pennsylvania), Detroit (Minnesota)/Canton (Ohio), Alpena (Michigan), Plattsburgh (New York), der McGuire AFB (New Jersey) und Bangor (Maine) zur Verfügung. Die Radarstationen in einer Karte:

Die Konzentration auf die Grenzbereiche des Kontinents ist unübersehbar. Auch die sieben Air Force Bases mit den 14 Maschinen, die 9/11 auf alert, d.h. in 15min bewaffnet, betankt und abflugbereit waren, lagen alle in diesem Gürtel: Die Portland Air Force Base (AFB) am Portland International Airport, Oregon; March AFB bei Riverside, Kalifornien; Ellington Field AFB in Houston, Texas; Tyndall AFB 20km südöstlich von Panama City, Florida; Homestead AFB in Homestead, Florida; Otis AFB im Westen von Cape Cod, Massachusettes; Langley AFB bei Hampton, Virginia (vgl. auch Sieben Stationen auf alert):

Das Zusammenwirken von NORAD und FAA

Doch wer überwacht den nordamerikanischen Kontinent, wenn NORAD es nicht tut? Für die Flugüberwachung über CONUS war die zivile Luftfahrtüberwachungsbehörde Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) zuständig. Die bis 9/11 gültige Arbeitsteilung NORAD-außen/FAA-innen kann man sich mittels einer MIT-Präsentation von 2002 veranschaulichen, in der die Reichweite des NORAD-Radars einmal mehr veranschaulicht wird (S. 6, vgl. auch das NORAD-Briefing der 9/11 Kommission):

Die FAA Order 7610.4J: Special Military Operations, Chapter 7. ESCORT OF HIJACKED AIRCRAFT von 1998, eine der zentralen Richtlinien zum Zusammenwirken von FAA und NORAD, die auch 9/11 Gültigkeit besaß, verdeutlicht das arbeitsteilige Prinzip ebenso wie die fehlende Abdeckung des Landesinneren durch das Radar des NORAD (meine Herv.):

When the hijacking activity is within coverage of the NORAD surveillance system, position reports will be forwarded to the Cheyenne Mountain AFB/Air Defense Operations Center (CMAFB/ADOC) by NORAD units.  To facilitate NORAD tracking, every attempt shall be made to ensure that the hijacked aircraft is squawking Mode 3/A, code 7500.
[…]
When the hijacking activity takes place outside NORAD radar coverage within the continental United States, the ARTCC/CERAP controlling the activity shall forward position reports to the appropriate NORAD/SOCC/ROCC Senior Director.

O-Töne

Entsprechendes wird dann auch von allen befragten Vertretern des NORAD bzw. NEADS übereinstimmend nach 9/11 ausgeführt.
NORAD Gen. Richard Myers (Hearing):

I can’t answer the hypothetical. It’s more — it’s the way that we were directed to posture, looking outward. Those were the orders that NORAD had and has had for — ever since the end of the Soviet Union when we had at that time I think it was 26 alert sites around the United States and we’d gone down to seven.
So it would have required more than exercising if you wanted to be effective and it would have been not just the military, because civilian agencies had the major role.

NORAD Gen. Edward Eberhardt (MFR):

The primary difference between NORAD’s projected missions and the 9111 attacks, according to Eberhart, was that in fulfilling NORAD’s air sovereignty and defense missions, whether in support of other U.S. agencies or not, the threats NORAD was tasked with always originated from outside of CONUS. Therefore, in these circumstances there was more time to respond to the event.

NORAD William A. Scott (MFR):

Scott commented that despite the notice of the terrorist events that were analyzed in the RAM report they still looked at the NORAD mission as a direct mission to protect the continental United States (CONUS) from external threats …

Nochmal Col. William A.Scott (Hearing):

At 8:43, as this is going on, the fourth airplane, United 93, takes off out of Newark, New Jersey. It’s a 757. It is headed for San Francisco. At 8:46, our next log event, we get the last, and, by the way, much of this radar data for these primary targets was not seen that day. It was reconstructed days later by the 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron, and other agencies like it who are professionals at going back and looking at radar tapes and then given that they are loaded with knowledge after the fact, they can go and find things that perhaps were not visible during the event itself.

CONR Gen. Larry Arnold (MFR):

Arnold noted that in the early 1990s NORAD’s mission of air defense shifted to a mission of air sovereignty. Air defense was protective, whereas air sovereignty was intended to maintain control and prevent illegal entries into CONUS.

NEADS Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins (MFR):

Deskins noted that the primary mission ofNORAD has always been to look out over the oceans and identify targets… Previous to 9/11, the alert bases were based on the Air Defense mission of looking out over the water. Which asset is scrambled depends on the proximity to where the threat is incoming.

NEADS Mj. James Fox (MFR):

Fox understood NORAD’s air defense mission as a task to survey and identify all aircraft entering United States airspace. If NORAD was unable to identify an aircraft, then the mission would be to scramble and actively identify. NORAD is also tasked to work with customson.counter-drug operations, Thirdly, NORAD is tasked with defending against a coordinated air attack on the United States.

NEADS Col. Robert Marr (MFR):

Looking out” posture: 1) the “looking out” mission:
NEADS primary job is to identify aircraft crossing over the Air Defense Zone (ADZ). The second part to this, according to Marr, is the “friendly by origin” issue within the ADZ. Anything that was beyond this military responsibility was “in the hands” of civilian authorities.
2) physical capabilities:
Marr commented that NEADS was using fourteen radar, and many radio sites. He noted that these sites are focused around the perimeter of the coast. He noted that the radar coverage varied by the sites themselves. He noted that the sites were optimized for their off the coast vision.
Commission staff presented to Marr that the flights that were hijacked on 9/11 were within the physical capabilities of the radar NEADS is linked to.

NEADS Lt. Jeremy Powell (MFR):

He started as a Senior Airmen Tracking Technician. His primary responsibility was for surveillance. Surveillance will initiate a “pending track” on an unfamiliar target headed towards the US coastline from over water… Powell noted that the training prior to 9/11 was focused on a mission that mostly monitored that airspace out from the continental United States; he also noted that the training for this purpose was outstanding. He stated that there are now new procedures with the FAA to coordinate the monitoring of internal airspace.

NEADS SSgt. Stacia Rountree (MFR):

Rountree briefly described the role of the Identification Technician at NEADS (the ID Tech) as primarily investigatory. She noted that the ID desk is responsible for feeding the Mission Crew Commander (MCC) information. The MCC expects the ID Techs to identify incoming aircraft within a set period of time. Once an aircraft crosses the ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone), the period of space located 12 minutes off of the coast, the ID Techs most identify the aircraft as friendly within the allotted time frame. If that time frame is passed, fighters are scrambled to intercept and identify the aircraft. Rountree noted that the radar that was in place on 9/11 did have some coverage on the interior, but did not receive low altitude feeds. She mentioned that now the radar has surface to 10,000 foot coverage.

Chief Master Sgt. Edward Aires (MFR):

Aires noted that the main purpose of NEADS before 9/11 was to look out over the water, and there was a rare occasion for operations over land.

Der 9/11 CR fasst den Komplex zusammen wie folgt.

NORAD is a binational command established in 1958 between the United States and Canada. Its mission was, and is, to defend the airspace of North America and protect the continent. That mission does not distinguish between internal and external threats; but because NORAD was created to counter the Soviet threat, it came to define its job as defending against external attacks. (9/11 CR, S. 16)

Analog Commissioner John Farmer in seinem Buch „The Ground Truth“ (S. 90f.):

Like the other federal agencies, then, NORAD responded to the emerging terrorist threat by redefining its mission to accommodate that threat. In some ways, that redefinition salvaged NORAD. Also like the other agencies, however, NORAD continued to function as it always had, as a Cold War entity subject to all of the Cold War rules, modes of operation, and restrictions. In the context of NORAD´s mission, these rules meant that because domestic terrorist attacks were considered criminal acts, NORAD´s focus had to remain what it had been during the Cold War, focused on the terrorist attack that would come from abroad.”

Fazit

Das Gesamtbild zeigt demnach dreierlei:
1. Die Mission von NORAD war bis 9/11 im Wesentlichen der Blick nach außen bzw. die Überwachung der Grenzen auf eine Gefahr hin, die von außen droht. Die Überwachung des Luftverkehrs über dem Kontinent oblag dagegen der FAA.
2. Die Kapazitäten von NORAD hätten zu einer Überwachung des Luftverkehrs über dem Kontinent nicht gereicht.
3. Ausgleichen sollte die Ungleichheit in den Kapazitäten ein Programm für eventuelle Notfälle, in denen das US-Militär nach Meldung durch die FAA einen oder mehrere Abfangjäger über den nordamerikanischen Kontinent, außerhalb der contiguous U.S. ADIZ, sendet. Dieser Fall trat in den zehn Jahren vor 9/11 genau ein Mal ein (Payne Stewart) und NORAD war nicht daran beteiligt.

9/11 legte zwei Schwächen dieses Systems offen. Erstens, NORAD wusste vor der Alarmierung durch die FAA nichts von den entführten Flugzeugen und hatte deshalb nur sehr kurze Reaktionszeiten. Zweitens, mehrere der Manöver der 9/11-Maschinen fanden außerhalb des Überwachungsbereichs des Radars der USAF statt (Quelle der Grafik: .ppt aus den Radardaten des RADES, CD 1).

Nach 9/11 wurde dieses System deshalb verschiedentlich zu verbessern versucht. Die FAA ist es nach wie vor, die den nordamerikanischen Kontinent überwacht, allerdings erlauben es die Computer es NORAD nun jederzeit, Flugplaninformationen aller Flüge abzurufen, die in den USA fliegen; die USAF kann zudem auf interne Radarstationen der FAA zurückgreifen; und die FAA reagiert schneller auf Unregelmäßigkeiten im Flugverkehr – zumindest sind das die offiziellen PR-Verlautbarungen, die natürlich mit Vorsicht genossen werden sollten.
Einblicke in die verlauteten Veränderungen (nicht nur, aber auch zu diesen Punkten) liefern der Calgary Herald 2001, Maj. Gen. Larry Arnold 2002, der Bolkcom Report 2003, das Hearing von FAA Montae Belger 2003, die Air Combat Command News 2003, die für den Radarausbau zuständige Firma Sensis Corporation 2003, das Hearing von Admiral Timothy Keating 2005, das Airforce Magazine 2005 und der Defense Industry Daily 2010.

Literatur

Farmer, John: The Ground Truth. New York 2009

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