On 9/11, the U.S. Military Was Preparing for a Simulated Nuclear War


9/11 Blogger
November 20, 2011

While September 11, 2001 is well known as the day when the U.S. suffered its worst terrorist attack, what is little known is that it was also a day when large sections of the armed forces around the nation had been preparing to fight a simulated nuclear war, as part of major training exercises being conducted at the time. In their annual exercises “Vigilant Guardian” and “Global Guardian,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Strategic Command (Stratcom) were scheduled to carry out what has been described as a “simulated air war,” a “full-blown nuclear war” exercise, a “fictional nuclear war,” and a “practice Armageddon.”

No official attempts have been made to fully investigate these exercises and what effect they had on the military’s response to the 9/11 attacks. But evidence indicates they caused at least some confusion over what was “real-world” and what was simulation, and they may also have been a factor behind the communication problems experienced by military personnel that day. Other evidence suggests that some actions that have been presented as reactions to the terrorist attacks may actually have been related to these exercises–actions such as raising the alert status of American armed services to Defcon 3 and closing the huge “blast doors” to NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. There is also evidence that other “practice Armageddon” exercises were being conducted at the time of the 9/11 attacks, but details of these are unknown.

AMERICA’S AIR DEFENDERS WERE SET TO FIGHT A ‘SIMULATED AIR WAR’ ON SEPTEMBER 11
Perhaps the most important exercise to consider is NORAD’s exercise called “Vigilant Guardian.” Close examination of this exercise is imperative due to the crucial role NORAD had to play in responding to the 9/11 attacks.

NORAD is the military organization responsible for monitoring and defending U.S. airspace. It was created during the Cold War, to protect North American airspace against nuclear attacks from the Soviet Union. Its Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC) in Colorado, where numerous staffers were involved in Vigilant Guardian, was described by the BBC as “the nerve centre of North America’s air defense.” [1] The center’s role, according to the Toronto Star, was “to fuse every critical piece of information NORAD has into a concise and crystalline snapshot.” [2] And NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York, which was also participating in the exercise, was responsible for trying to coordinate the military’s response to the hijackings on September 11. [3]

Vigilant Guardian, described as a “Cold War-style training exercise,” was held annually by NORAD. It was reportedly scheduled to last two weeks and was several days underway on September 11. [4] All of NORAD, including its subordinate units, was participating in the exercise that day. [5] NORAD’s CMOC was fully staffed for the exercise, with more than 50 members of staff in the Battle Management Center taking part. [6] According to Ken Merchant, NORAD’s joint exercise design manager, the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon–which also played a key role in the military’s response to the 9/11 attacks–regularly contributed to NORAD exercises. It was therefore presumably set to play a role in Vigilant Guardian on September 11. [7]

EXERCISE SIMULATED A ‘FULL-BLOWN NUCLEAR WAR’ AGAINST RUSSIA
Full details of Vigilant Guardian are unknown, but various accounts have given indications of what it involved. The 1st Air Force’s book about the 9/11 attacks described Vigilant Guardian as a “simulated air war” and as “an air defense exercise simulating an attack on the United States.” [8] It was a “transition to wartime operations command post exercise,” according to an information page for exercise participants. [9] Ken Merchant called Vigilant Guardian a “full-blown nuclear war” exercise. [10] According to the Denver Post, it would involve “ever-escalating scenarios, from strained diplomacy to the outbreak of conventional warfare that headed inexorably toward nuclear conflict.” [11]

Lieutenant Colonel William Glover, the commander of NORAD’s Air Warning Center on September 11, said Vigilant Guardian involved NORAD “simulating war,” with “attacks coming from the outside, Soviet-style bombers coming in, cruise-missile attacks, that type of thing.” [12] The 9/11 Commission Report said the exercise “postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union.” [13] According to Merchant, it included “bomber response and intercontinental ballistic missile response.” [14]

The imagined enemy in Vigilant Guardian was Russia. [15] Merchant told the 9/11 Commission that “NORAD must use Russia in its exercises at the strategic level since no other country poses a great enough threat to NORAD’s capabilities and responsibilities.” [16]

EXERCISE INCLUDED A SIMULATED HIJACKING

Full details of what scenarios were scheduled for September 11 are unknown, but some information has been revealed. Vanity Fair reported that Vigilant Guardian had been “designed to run a range of scenarios” that day, “including a ‘traditional’ simulated hijack in which politically motivated perpetrators commandeer an aircraft, land on a Cuba-like island, and seek asylum.” [17] Jeff Ford, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was working in the CMOC on September 11, recalled that it involved “air exercise events and then some scripted inputs that we were reacting to … whether it be unknown aircraft that we scramble aircraft for to intercept, or whatever.” According to Ford, “The big event that day was supposed to be a B-1 bomber that was flying out of Fairchild Air Force Base [in Washington State] and going out over the Pacific.” [18]

‘GLOBAL GUARDIAN’ EXERCISE TESTED STRATCOM’S ABILITY TO FIGHT A NUCLEAR WAR
The other major exercise simulating a nuclear war that is known to have been taking place on September 11 was Global Guardian. This annual exercise was run by Stratcom, which is “the single U.S. military command responsible for the day-to-day readiness of nuclear forces.” [19] Like Vigilant Guardian, Global Guardian was scheduled to last about two weeks and had already been running for several days by September 11. [20]

Global Guardian was in fact held “in cooperation with” a number of other military exercises, including Vigilant Guardian. [21] Ken Merchant told the 9/11 Commission that it “was coordinated with Vigilant Guardian so the combined Stratcom offensive abilities and the NORAD defensive abilities could be exercised.” [22]

Global Guardian, according to an official after-action report on the exercise, was designed to exercise Stratcom “and supporting forces during a simulated crisis, validate war-fighting procedures, and verify command relationships.” [23] Military analyst William Arkin described it as an “all-out game involving multiple regional conflicts that lead to a global nuclear war.” [24]

The goal of the exercise, according to the Omaha World-Herald, was to test Stratcom’s “ability to fight a nuclear war.” [25] One reporter said it would involve America fighting “a fictional nuclear war,” and would test the “response to a fictional attack from another nation.” [26] The adversary preparing this nuclear attack on the United States was a fictional rogue nation called “Slumonia,” a small nuclear power in northeast Asia. [27]

SUBMARINES, BOMBERS, AND HUNDREDS OF PERSONNEL PARTICIPATED IN GLOBAL GUARDIAN
Numerous military units were participating in Global Guardian in September 2001. [28] Around the U.S. and off its shores, bombers, missile crews, and submarines were taking part, following orders from Stratcom’s command bunker at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. [29] As well as Offutt, other Air Force bases around the U.S. that were involved in the exercise included Barksdale, Minot, and Whiteman Air Force bases, where “dozens of aircraft and hundreds of personnel” were participating. [30]

“Other support” for the exercise was provided by personnel at the Pentagon, Camp H. M. Smith in Hawaii, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, and NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. [31] According to William Arkin, several senior civilian and military leaders participated in Global Guardian exercises, including individuals from the offices of the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so presumably this was the case in the September 2001 Global Guardian. [32]

STRATCOM WAS AT INCREASED STATE OF ALERT, AIRCRAFT WERE ‘SIMULATING THEIR WARTIME ROLES’
Admiral Richard Mies, at that time the commander in chief of Stratcom, has described how Global Guardian was proceeding when the 9/11 attacks took place. He said Stratcom had been “ready to respond to a potential attack from a hypothetical adversary. … We had intelligence indicating that they were preparing to attack us.” Stratcom was positioning its forces “to be ready to offer the president the ability to respond in a wide variety of ways. A lot of our command and control systems that, in peacetime, are normally not on alert were at a much, much higher state of alert and we had a number of aircraft, manned control aircraft that were airborne that were simulating their wartime roles.” Preparations underway in the exercise included “elevating our readiness status to a heightened state of readiness,” “preparing bombers to potentially launch, if required,” and “getting submarines that were in port ready to go to sea.”

Mies added that Global Guardian involved “a lot of the elements of what ultimately would be the nuclear command and control system in support of a national emergency.” It included “an exercise secretary of defense” and “an exercise president.” [33] Among the exercise’s objectives were disseminating “presidential nuclear decisions … to the forces,” and preparing and issuing National Command Authority directives, so presumably the participants acting as the president and the secretary of defense were involved in these activities. [34] (The National Command Authority refers collectively to the president and the secretary of defense.)

CREWS LOADED LIVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ONTO BOMBERS
At Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, according to journalists Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, air crews taking part in the exercise were “pulling nuclear bombs and missiles out of their heavily guarded storage sites and loading them aboard B-52s” on the morning of September 11. Real, live nuclear weapons were being used, but “their triggers were not armed.” [35]

American History magazine described the scene at the base: “Even though it was only a drill, the command center was tense, everyone proceeding as if the planes would soon take off on bombing runs, instead of just idling at the end of the runway.” Then, at precisely 9:00 a.m. (Eastern time), “an alarm sounded across the base and the crews raced to their planes.” After news was received about the terrorist attacks in New York, the base’s command staff “ended the drill, but left the fueled and armed planes where they were.” [36]

Also as part of Global Guardian, three E-4B National Airborne Operations Center planes that were based at Offutt Air Force Base were airborne on September 11. The E-4B, nicknamed the “Doomsday” plane during the Cold War, is a militarized version of a Boeing 747-200. It is equipped with advanced communications equipment, and in times of national emergency can act as an alternative command post from which top government officials can direct forces, execute war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities. Even after Global Guardian was terminated, the three E-4Bs remained in the air. [37]

AIR FORCE COMMANDER THOUGHT FIRST ATTACK WAS EXERCISE SIMULATION
That these training exercises were being conducted on the morning of September 11 raises important questions. As the Omaha World-Herald noted, the fact that Global Guardian was “in full swing” when the United States came under attack was “at least an odd coincidence.” [38]

We need to investigate how much confusion military personnel experienced because they were preparing for a simulated attack on America at the time an actual attack on America took place. We already know of some instances of confusion caused by the exercises. For example, when Lieutenant General Thomas Keck, the commander of the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, who had been monitoring the Global Guardian exercise, was told a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, he initially thought this was a simulated scenario. He therefore told the junior officer who had brought him the news: “That’s not the way you interject a situation into a training exercise! When you have a scenario injection, you say, ‘Sir, this is an exercise input,’ and then you give me the information.”

Additionally, some of the airmen at Barksdale who had been participating in the exercise appear to have been only vaguely aware of the real-world crisis. American History noted that after Global Guardian was called off, the crews in the B-52 bombers knew only “that something very serious was happening and they were not being ordered to stand down.” Even by early afternoon, they had only heard “the most basic reports about the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.” [39]

EXERCISE INCLUDED SIMULATED COMMUNICATION OUTAGES

We also need to consider whether actions incorporated into the training exercises affected lines of communication that would have been critical for enabling a swift response to the terrorist attacks. Some evidence indicates this may have been the case. For example, one of the listed objectives of the September 2001 Global Guardian was to “simulate outages between NC2 [nuclear command and control] nodes requiring alternate routes to maintain connectivity.” Another objective was for participants to “determine operational impacts and work-arounds to simulated C4I [command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence] outages.” The official after-action report on the exercise did not elaborate on what these “simulated C4I outages” involved. [40]

Certainly, those in NORAD’s CMOC, who had been participating in Vigilant Guardian, appear to have experienced significant communication problems. William Glover recalled that the time of the 9/11 attacks was his “first time, you know, thinking about the fog of war, because we didn’t know what was going on.” [41] Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of operations, commented, “I wouldn’t call it flat-footed, but we were a little bit behind the power curve most of that morning as we were trying to figure out exactly what transpired.” [42] And Lieutenant Colonel Steven Armstrong, NORAD’s chief of plans and forces, has complained that he and his colleagues “were out there in an information void, just looking for anything that we could find.” He said, “All the information we were getting at the time was really off the TV.” [43]

The causes of this “information void” surely need to be investigated. Might it have been the result, at least partly, of an attack on military communications systems that was incorporated into one (or more) of the exercises that day?

Some actions carried out on September 11 have been reported as if they were responses to the terrorist attacks, but evidence suggests they may actually have been conducted as part of an exercise, or at least perceived within the military as being part of an exercise. Two such actions, described below, are the closing of the blast doors to NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center and the order to raise the military’s alert status to Defcon 3. If these actions were connected to the exercises taking place that day, it would raise further questions about how much confusion was caused by these exercises, and would indicate that the exercises continued even after it became obvious the U.S. was suffering a major terrorist attack.

NORAD CLOSED DOORS PROTECTING OPERATIONS CENTER FROM A NUCLEAR ATTACK
On the morning of September 11, the thick steel doors to NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain were closed for the first time in a real-world crisis since the CMOC opened in 1966. [44] The two doors are three feet thick and each weighs 25 tons. [45] They were designed to seal the operations center, to protect it from a nuclear blast. [46]

The time the blast doors were closed at is unknown, although a BBC documentary placed the event at 10:15 a.m. [47] The reason they were shut is also unclear. A number of reports suggested they were closed in response to information the CMOC received about an aircraft that was incorrectly thought to have been hijacked and targeting Cheyenne Mountain. [48] However, as the Regina Leader-Post pointed out, “Protected by 2,600 feet of granite, the NORAD command center and hundreds of personnel in their green flight suits were actually in the safest place in North America.” [49] The CMOC was therefore already safe against an aircraft crashing into the mountain.

Furthermore, the blast doors are located at the end of a tunnel, about a third of a mile into the mountain. [50] Closing them would therefore have been a needless action as protection against a threatening aircraft, as a plane could hardly have made it all the way along the tunnel to the entrance to the CMOC! Brigadier General Jim Hunter, the vice commander of the CMOC on September 11, commented on the lack of danger, saying, “They could have driven airliners into that mountain all day.” [51]

BLAST DOORS WERE CLOSED DURING EXERCISES
It is worth considering if there was a different reason why the blast doors were shut. Might they have been closed as part of one of the exercises? Vigilant Guardian and Global Guardian both involved simulating a nuclear war. And since the doors were designed to protect the CMOC from a nuclear strike, it would seem logical that they might be closed during an exercise simulating a nuclear attack on the United States.

Furthermore, while the doors had never been closed in a real-world crisis before September 11, they had been closed during exercises. Air Force officer William Astore wrote that when he worked inside Cheyenne Mountain between 1985 and 1988, the blast doors were kept open, “except, of course, during ‘exercises,’ when the mountain ‘buttoned up’ its self-contained world.” [52]

MILITARY’S ALERT STATUS WAS RAISED TO DEFCON 3
Another event on September 11 that has yet to be properly explained is the order to raise the defense readiness condition from Defcon 5, the lowest possible level, to Defcon 3, the highest alert level for 28 years. [53]

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld issued the order to go to Defcon 3 at around 10:45 a.m. after conferring with General Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld also discussed the issue with Vice President Dick Cheney over the air threat conference call, and later briefed President Bush on his actions and was given the president’s approval for what he had done. [54]

DEFCON 3 WAS INTENDED ‘TO RESPOND TO A NUCLEAR THREAT’
However, some have questioned the appropriateness of this increased state of readiness to the situation on September 11. John Farmer, the senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, pointed out that Defcon 3 is “a Cold War-era designation, devised to respond to a nuclear threat.” [55] Farmer and other 9/11 Commission staffers have written that it was “suited more to a Cold War conflict than to al-Qaeda’s attack.” [56] And General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, told the 9/11 Commission that Defcon 3 is “not intended for [events like] the attacks of 9/11 and thus could have complicated the response to the attacks.” He said he did not think that raising the defense readiness condition would have “done anything for us” within the continental United States. [57]

Myers told the 9/11 Commission that the reason for going to Defcon 3 was “to improve our readiness and protection of our forces worldwide.” [58] But evidence suggests that the order might have had some connection to the exercises taking place that day.

DEFCON CHANGES WERE SIMULATED DURING EXERCISES
While it was apparently inappropriate as a response to the 9/11 attacks, raising the defense readiness condition is something that was incorporated into military exercises at that time. Staff Sergeant Brent Lanier, who was in NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center on September 11 and was tasked with sending out a message about the increased alert status, has commented that while he’d never sent out an “actual Defcon change message” before then, he had “sent out false Defcon messages during exercises.” [59]

It is also worth noting that details of the increased alert level were sent out in an “emergency action message” (EAM) issued at 10:52 a.m. on September 11. [60] EAMs appear to have been more suited to Cold War-type scenarios–like, perhaps, the practice nuclear wars being conducted by NORAD and Stratcom–than to a terrorist attack. For example, they have been defined by the U.S. military as “highly structured, authenticated messages primarily used in the command and control of nuclear forces.” [61]

Furthermore, the EAM put out on September 11 appears to have been issued by the NMCC at the Pentagon. [62] And according to Ken Merchant, during NORAD exercises (like Vigilant Guardian), “More often than not, the NMCC ran conferences and interjected emergency action messages for NORAD.” [63] The issuing of EAMs also appears to have been part of Stratcom exercises. One of the listed objectives for the September 2001 Global Guardian was for participants to “exercise first emergency action message via alternate means.” [64]

Might the EAM on September 11 therefore have been issued in relation to Vigilant Guardian and/or Global Guardian, rather than in response to the real-world attacks? Or could there have been confusion within the military that this might have been the case?

WERE THERE OTHER ‘PRACTICE ARMAGEDDON’ EXERCISES ON SEPTEMBER 11?
Another question to address is whether there were other military exercises taking place at the time of the 9/11 attacks, in addition to Vigilant Guardian and Global Guardian, that simulated a nuclear war. William Arkin wrote in 1997 that Global Guardian was “merely one of many practice Armageddons the military continues to stage.” He then named other “practice Armageddon” exercises. For example, the “Air Combat Command, which flies B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers,” conducted an exercise called “Crown Vigilance,” and the U.S. Space Command, “which operates land-based missiles,” ran an exercise called “Apollo Guardian.” [65] Furthermore, a 1997 Department of Defense report listed a number of exercises that Global Guardian “links with,” indicating that these exercises might run concurrently with Global Guardian. The list included Vigilant Guardian, which is known to have taken place around the same time as Global Guardian in 2001, and also Crown Vigilance, Apollo Guardian, and a NORAD exercise called “Amalgam Warrior.” [66]

Ken Merchant in fact told the 9/11 Commission that Apollo Guardian had been “running on September 11, 2001.” [67] Whether Crown Vigilance and Amalgam Warrior were also being conducted that day is unknown. And no details have been revealed about these exercises, such as what they involved, what simulations they included, who exactly participated in them, and–if they were taking place on September 11–what effect they had on the military’s ability to respond to the real-world crisis.

OFFICIAL INVESTIGATIONS OVERLOOKED THE 9/11 EXERCISES
Considering the nature of these simulated nuclear war exercises and the fact that they were “in full swing” at the time of the 9/11 attacks, it is remarkable that so little attention has been paid to them. The 9/11 Commission Report devoted only a few sentences to Vigilant Guardian in its notes section and made no mention of Global Guardian. [68]

Recently, an interviewer questioned Donald Rumsfeld about Global Guardian. The interviewer pointed out that because of this exercise, there had been “places like Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana where there were literally rows of B-52s loaded with live nuclear weapons,” and noted, “With so much unknown about who was attacking in those early hours, there had to have been some urgency to deal with that much live weaponry out and about.” He went on to ask Rumsfeld, “Were there concerns about having these live nuclear weapons out in aircraft in places like Barksdale that day?” Rumsfeld’s answer was, “I don’t know.” The most he could say was to add, “Clearly, there’s always concern.” [69]

NOTES
[1] Clear the Skies. BBC, September 1, 2002.
[2] Scott Simmie, “The Scene at NORAD on Sept. 11: Playing Russian War Games … and Then Someone Shouted to Look at the Monitor.” Toronto Star, December 9, 2001.

[3] Michael Bronner, “9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes.” Vanity Fair, August 2006; Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation. New York: Twelve, 2008, p. 203.
[4] William M. Arkin, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World. Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2005, p. 545; “NORAD.” The Early Edition, CBC, September 8, 2011; Tom Roeder, “Inside the Mountain: Rumor of a Threatening Jet Fed Tension.” Colorado Springs Gazette, September 10, 2011.

[5] “Vigilant Guardian 01-2.” Northeast Air Defense Sector, August 23, 2001; “NORAD.”
[6] Jason Tudor, “Inner Space.” Airman, March 2002; “NORAD.”
[7] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.” 9/11 Commission, March 4, 2004.
[8] Leslie Filson, Air War Over America: Sept. 11 Alters Face of Air Defense Mission. Tyndall Air Force Base, FL: 1st Air Force, 2003, pp. 55, 122.

[9] Neil A. Cleveland, “Special Instructions (Spins) Vigilant Guardian 01-2.” Northeast Air Defense Sector, August 23, 2001.
[10] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[11] Kevin Simpson, “Rearmed Forces: 9/11 Changed Military Life in Colorado.” Denver Post, August 28, 2011.
[12] “NORAD.”
[13] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 458.

[14] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[15] Kevin Simpson, “Rearmed Forces.”
[16] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[17] Michael Bronner, “9/11 Live.”
[18] Thomas Doscher, “In Their Own Words–NORAD Members Recall September 11: Jeff Ford.” Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, September 8, 2011.

[19] Rita Clark, Vincent A. Giroux Jr., and Todd White, History of the United States Strategic Command, June 1, 1992 – October 1, 2002. Offutt Air Force Base, NE: Command Historian’s Office, United States Strategic Command, January 2004, p. 50; William M. Arkin, Code Names, p. 59; “Global Guardian.” GlobalSecurity.org, May 7, 2011.
[20] Joe Dejka, “When Bush Arrived, Offutt Sensed History in the Making.” Omaha World-Herald, September 8, 2002; Bill Kelly, “Military Insiders Tell of Bush 9/11 Visit for the First Time.” NET Radio, September 1, 2011.

[21] Nuclear Weapon Systems Sustainment Programs. Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, May 1997; William M. Arkin, Code Names, p. 378.
[22] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[23] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report. United States Strategic Command, December 4, 2001, p. A1.
[24] William M. Arkin, “The Beat Goes On.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1, 1997.

[25] Joe Dejka, “Inside Stratcom on Sept. 11 Offutt Exercise Took Real-Life Twist.” Omaha World-Herald, February 27, 2002.
[26] Bill Kelly, “Rumsfeld Reflects on Offutt Air Force Base Role on 9/11.” NET Radio, August 30, 2011; Bill Kelly, “Military Insiders Recall Bush’s 9/11 Stop at Stratcom.” NET News, September 7, 2011.
[27] Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al-Qaeda. New York: Times Books, 2011; Bill Kelly, “Military Insiders Tell of Bush 9/11 Visit for the First Time.”

[28] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report, pp. A6-A7.
[29] Stephen Buttry, “Final Words, Final Hours Before All Changed.” Omaha World-Herald, September 10, 2002.
[30] Mario Villafuerte, “Practice Becomes Reality Within Minutes.” New Orleans Times-Picayune, September 8, 2002; J. J. Green, “Confusion in the Air, Terror on the Ground.” WTOP, September 6, 2011.

[31] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report, p. A2.
[32] William M. Arkin, Code Names, p. 379.
[33] Bill Kelly, “Military Insiders Tell of Bush 9/11 Visit for the First Time.”
[34] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report, p. A4.

[35] Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, Counterstrike; Bill Kelly, “Military Insiders Tell of Bush 9/11 Visit for the First Time.”
[36] Gregory A. Freeman, “Code Alpha: The President is Coming!” American History, October 2006.
[37] Stephen I. Schwartz (Editor), Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1998, p. 210; “E-4B National Airborne Operations Center.” Federation of American Scientists, April 23, 2000; Joe Dejka, “Inside Stratcom on Sept. 11 Offutt Exercise Took Real-Life Twist.”

[38] Joe Dejka, “Inside Stratcom on Sept. 11 Offutt Exercise Took Real-Life Twist.”
[39] Gregory A. Freeman, “Code Alpha.”
[40] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report, p. A4.
[41] “NORAD.”
[42] Steve Mertl, “Canadian General Who Led NORAD on 9/11 Praises its Performance, Considering.” Canadian Press, September 10, 2006.

[43] “In Their Own Words–NORAD Members Recall September 11, Part 3: Steve Armstrong.” North American Aerospace Defense Command, September 9, 2011.
[44] Scott Simmie, “The Scene at NORAD on Sept. 11″; William B. Scott, “Exercise Jump-Starts Response to Attacks.” Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 3, 2002; Pam Zubeck, “NORAD Chief Will Testify at 9/11 Hearing.” Colorado Springs Gazette, June 14, 2004; “In Their Own Words–NORAD Members Recall September 11, Part 3: Steve Armstrong.”

[45] Pat McKenna, “The Border Guards.” Airman, January 1996; “Facts About Unusual Aspects of NORAD.” Colorado Springs Gazette, May 10, 2008.
[46] Scott Simmie, “The Scene at NORAD on Sept. 11″; William J. Astore, “Leaving Cheyenne Mountain.” The Nation, May 5, 2008.

[47] Clear the Skies.
[48] Ibid.; Pam Zubeck, “NORAD Chief Will Testify at 9/11 Hearing”; T. R. Reid, “Military to Idle NORAD Compound.” Washington Post, July 29, 2006.
[49] Will Chabun, “Regina Airport Authority’s CEO Recalls NORAD on 9/11.” Regina Leader-Post, September 12, 2011.

[50] Pat McKenna, “The Border Guards”; “NORAD to Patrol Skies Over NYC During Convention, Anticipates Attack on U.S. Before Election.” Reuters, August 25, 2004; John Hazlehurst, “Opening Cheyenne Mountain Could be Tourism Boom.” Colorado Springs Business Journal, February 2, 2007.
[51] Will Chabun, “Regina Airport Authority’s CEO Recalls NORAD on 9/11.”
[52] William J. Astore, “Leaving Cheyenne Mountain.”
[53] Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, “A Day to Speak of Anger and Grief.” Washington Post, January 30, 2002; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 326; Alfred Goldberg et al., Pentagon 9/11. Washington, DC: Defense Department, Office of the Secretary, Historical Office, 2007, p. 131.

[54] Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript. U.S. Department of Defense, September 11, 2001; “Testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld Prepared for Delivery to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” 9/11 Commission, March 23, 2004; 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 326, 554; George W. Bush, Decision Points. New York: Crown, 2010, p. 133.
[55] John Farmer, The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009, p. 235.
[56] John Farmer et al., “A New Type of War: The Story of the FAA and NORAD Response to the September 11, 2001 Attacks.” Rutgers Law Review, September 7, 2011.

[57] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With CINC NORAD (Commander in Chief NORAD), General Edward ‘Ed’ Eberhart.” 9/11 Commission, March 1, 2004.
[58] “Statement of General Richard Myers, USAF, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” 9/11 Commission, June 17, 2004.
[59] Jason Tudor, “Inner Space.”
[60] Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript; “UA93 and Andrews Timeline.” 9/11 Commission, n.d.
[61] “JITC EAM OT&E Support.” Joint Interoperability Test Command, October 24, 2002; “CJCSI 5721.01E: The Defense Message System and Associated Legacy Message Processing Systems.” Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 13, 2010.

[62] Air Threat Conference Call, Transcript.
[63] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[64] Exercise Global Guardian 2001-2 Joint After-Action Report, p. A4.
[65] William M. Arkin, “The Beat Goes On.”
[66] Nuclear Weapon Systems Sustainment Programs.

[67] “Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Major Paul Goddard (Canadian Forces) and Ken Merchant.”
[68] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 458.
[69] Bill Kelly, “Rumsfeld Reflects on Offutt Air Force Base Role on 9/11.”


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