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Kevin's NORAD HQ notes

General Eberhart
3/1/04
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NORAD Commander sinceFebruary 2000.
Past experiences that most prepared himfor 9/11?
Air Defense experience during the 1970's overseas
Prior commands onoperational andstrategic level
As Air Combat Command (ACC) forceprovider for NORAD air defense
Evolution of theNORAD mission:
Gen. E's priorities upon taking command in2000 were: 1. Increase radar
capabilities (against thecruisemissile threat); 2. Ballistic missile defense; 3.
Find a"way- ahead" for cruisemissile defense.
Post ColdWar threat was determined tobeICBMs vicelong- range aviation.
Alert sites andair assets decreased accordingly. "I've arguedboth sides of
that. " (Staff note: Gen. E was theViceChief of theUSAF 1997~1999)
Interestingly, wasn't familiar withthe"four comers" air defense plan
advocated by the 1997QDR.
Air Superiority was important, though there certainly was a"raging debate"
during the 1990's over themission's relevance.
Staff note: Gen. E seems tohavebeen infavor of using regular Air Force
assets, vice theAir National Guard, for alert duty (performance of the
NORAD mission). His comment was that it would havebeen "cheaper and
better" todo soandwould assist with themodernization of theforce, which is
always expensive.
Asked about statements madepre- 9111by General Myers that America had air
sovereignty in"nameonly," Gen. E saidthat hedidhave someconcerns about
that, namely withthefact that theradar picture available to theFAA was in a
steady stateof atrophy (FAA thought thefuturewas going tobe "all squawk
and talk" andthereforewasn't very concerned about theradar capability
situation).
Pre~9111: "We hadahard time conveying thethreat, or at least theneed for
situational awareness. "
North American Air Surveillance Council (dates??? Preor post- 9/11???) was
established to comeupwith shared funding solutions to theradar problems.
Gen. E stated that NORAD went onrecord, via theNASC, for theneed to
sharetheburden across theDOD andDOT "Without 9/11wewould have
likely lost that fight. Everyone agreed, but didn't want topay for it or thought
that new technology would comeonline" to fix theproblems.
"We (NORAD +FAA) grewtoo far apart, but nowwe're back. "
Asymmetric Threat:
It was still the"away game" pre- 9Ill , andall of his andhis predecessors'
speeches, briefs, etc. reflected such assessments.
It was natural tothink of theasymmetric threat because it was clear that
classic attrition warfarewas not likely.
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Regarding thefact that pre- 9f11 asymmetric threats inCONUS were
considered alawenforcement issue, Gen. E stated, "We were wrong, sadly we
were wrong. "
Gen. E wasn't awareof General Arnold's RAM study.
Gen. E didspeak to Gen. A about thecruisemissile threat, as it was seen as
thethreat that NORAD was "least prepared todeal with. "
NORAD was focused on trying torally support and "solution sets" regarding
the cruisemissile threat. As such, they conducted several exercises (CONR)
to show thevulnerability of that threat.
Did Posse Comitatus prevent awareness of theemerging threat? "I wouldn't
say that, maybe it complicated it abit. " Thenumber onereason was not
having adocumented threat briefed briefed tohim(something like the9/11
attacks).
What weretheperceived threats on9/11? Russia (ADIZ violations and
probes) andto help lawenforcement with drugtrafficking (follow alc andpass
off to relevant departments).
Any pre- 9/11 speculation within NORAD of theHJ as weapons threat?
NORAD didn't postulate terrorists actually controlling thealc (always left it
likely that thepilot incontrolwouldn't ultimately comply with a9/11- type
attack).
Where alc asweapons were considered, it was always froman"external
approach" perspective that were less timesensitive regarding NORAD
response (not originating within CONUS). (Staff note: theimportance of
good intelligence andwarning areusually coupled with the"external
approach" comments, though Gen. E didn't expressly mention it).
Training and Exercises:
Involvement of FAA? "Tough to get themtoparticipate, they're not manned
to participate. " I
In Gen. E's opinion, theFAA had aminimumroleinnational security pre-
9/11.
Hestated that therewerepre- 9/11 exercise scenarios that "worked" theROE
against commercial aircraft up theNational Command Authority for shoot-
down authorization - but always ininstances where they had alot of time to
make that decision (andwith thealc squawking its location).
Air defense training for theNational Capitol Region (NCR)? No, the origin of
thethreat was perceived to be external, andthus they focused on pushing out
their defense zones.
Air defense for NSSE's wasn't an"assigned mission" (ie. NORAD didn't
participate inthem).
9/11
CMOC was fully manned on 9/11. It madethings more coherent, but
probably didn't affect theoutcome of theevents as they were fundamentally
time- distance problems.
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Gen. E wasjogging at home early inthemorning. Upon finishing, he got a
call fromtheCommand Director at CMOC notifying himof areal- world HJ .
Herecalled that hewasn't too excited over it- was certainly thinking
traditional HJ . .
Drove into theoffice shortly thereafter.
SawtheWTC burning onCNN. Called theCMOC and was told that the
reports indicated that alight alc, not theHJ commercialalc hadhit theWTC.
- Information coming intoNORAD was only as good aswhat theFAA
- - - :v provided.
After seeing thesecondhit onTV fromhis office Gen. E doesn't yet know
about thesecond HJ alc, but does immediately know that it was acoordinated
terrorist attack.
Gen. E immediately triedto contact theCJ CS, but hewas "out. " Tried the
k7 DCJ CS anddid get incontact withhimwhilehewas ontheHill. General
Myers was going toreturn tothePentagon.
Gen. E then focused onwhether tostay at theHQ building or go to CMOC.
His thought process involved thefact that CMOC was already fully manned
andthat hehad good communications fromhis office(andknew that while
thecomms in thevehiclethat would drivehimtoCMOC were good, there
were likely going tobesomedead spots andhedidn't want to lose
connectivity to theNCA).
0930 isthebest that NORAD canestimate Gen. E left theHQ building for
.~}'.t..\CMOC. . Heleft during aperceived lull intransmissions onthe"net" .
~~~l\)r (telecon. ) .
J fI'- Herecalls getting calls fromGeneral Arnold enroute CMOC regarding an alc
inthevicinity of Washington D. C. andalso someinformation regarding the
Langley scramble - thoughhedoesn't recall thetwo being linked.
When Gen. E arrived CMOC (Time???) therewere HJ "issues" going on. He
later learned that they wereDelta 1989issues.
Gen. E doesn't recall ever being notified of areport that AA11was still
airborne (nor its connection totheLangley scramble).
Gen. E stated that hedidnot knowuntil recently about AAll being reported
as airborne (after it had actually struck theWTC).
Hewasn't aware of Andrews involvement on9/11 until "recently. "
Gen. E was asked if thefailureof theFAA tonotify NORAD of theHJ 's
bothered him. Hereplied, no, that it doesn't cost anything to scramble alc and
that command- by- negation canalways beused toturn off ascramble if
necessary.
Delta 1989+UA93:
"We possibly might have gotten thosetwo interchanged, wewere confused. "
"I think thetext supports that. " (Staff note: reference totranscripts ofNEADS
floor)
. On two separate occasions during theinterview, Gen. E firmly stated that their
(NORAD writ large) focus was onDelta 1989(Staff note: andnot onUA93).
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ROE and Shoot Down Order:
Gen. E thinks theshoot downorder occurredjust before hegot into CMOC.
Hebelieves that Gen. F toldhimof theVP's direction. Herecalled telling
Gen. F that hewanted more specificity, andthat hewanted to seehostile
intent of any alc Tal's.
"I still wanted to seeahostile act, hostile intent," before authorizing action.
Gen. E recalls put such guidanceout to everyone inthesystem.
According to Gen. E thepilots that day werelikely goingtobe "trigger
hesitant, not trigger happy. "
Asked what authorities thepilots had to act ontheir own, following theVP
direction, Gen. E stated that it was anissue of timing, but that thepilots could
have taken action if they sawhostile intent anddidn't have time torun up the
chain.
Communications (or lack- there- of) with all Tal's would have been critical.
Gen. E assumes today that theVP direction was in fact passed all theway
down to thepilots - andthat wouldbe "most important" for themtohave
known.
Folder 5around the 16minute mark contains a very good discussion by Gen.
E on the difference between FAA ATC controlling actions and NORAD 's
"command and control" offighter assets.
DEFCON 3:
Gen. E recalls debating theadvantages and disadvantages.
Pentagon made thecall (Staff note: believe it was Gen. Myers himself).
Gen. E saidit wasn't abig deal tohimregarding NORAD's response as it was
designed for other things.
"Transition ROE didn't changewhat wehad already toldthem(pilots). "
(Staff note: I'm not surethis is accurate. And, according tothe Langley
pilots' interview theT. ROE certainly had asignificant effect on their thought
process andthat it was a"big deal. " This miss- match of viewpoints is
significant).
Post- 9111Reconstruction effort:
Gen. E started out by sayingthat there aretactical, operational, and strategic
levels totheafter action effort.
Ontheoperational level, hesaidthey were focused onthequestion "What
really complicated theday?" Andthat it was obvious that theanswer was lack
of communication/liaison with theFAA.
Gen. E statedthat thetimelines wereput together "as best wecould" and that
"initially, they're always wrong. "
Hewas very clear that they focused forward onwhat needed tobe done to
correct theglaringly obvious gaps in capabilities, andthat their timelines
"served us well tohelp decidewhat weneeded to do. "
Asked if heordered areconstruction of the events immediately afterward, he
replied "No, l/we didn't focus onthat. I was fighting thewar. "
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Gen. E was asked directly ifhe's awareof, or has participated in, any 9/11
spin. Heresponded "No, never. "
The timelines wereintended to determine FAA notification times and areas
surrounding ROE guidance, andless soto definitively reconstruct theattacks
andtheresponse tothem.
Gen. E stated that inno way where/are NORAD's efforts anissue of
"falsification. "
Gen. E provided ananalogy regarding thetiming of events: "Say I call you at
0700 and you write it down as 0705. " (Staff note: clearly to imply that the
inaccuracies inNORAD's timelines aremerely aresult of nominal time
differences).
Regarding thenewest NORAD timeline (received bytheCommission late
February 2004), Gen. E stated that hedidnot specifically order it and it was
likely theresult of his "standing order" to correct therecord of events
whenever possible.
*** Geoff - need to ensure wecapture his exact comments regarding whether or
not heknew that thetimeline was being revised, or even if it existed prior toour
interview.
Regarding Colonel Marr, Gen. E stated that heknows himto "tell it likeit is,
even if youdon't want tohear it. J F asked if there would be any reluctance or
fear of admitting that ascramble order was given onathreat that turned out to
be afalse report - Gen. E saidno.
May 2003 Hearing:
Gen. E didreview theprepared statement prior to it being given to the
Commission.
Hehas reviewed atranscript of thehearing.
He saidhehad no roleincreating thetimeline presented at thehearing.
General McKinley called Gen. E following thehearing, andwasn't exactly
happy with how things went.
Recommendations:
Thebiggest challenge is identifying thenext threat.
A complicit crewof acommercial alc ishis biggest worry.
Theradars and radar issues ani funded for 04' and 05' but not for the"out
years. "
Datalinks areneeded.
Communications canalways beimproved.
Modernization efforts within NORAD areapriority.
Transfer themission totheregular Air Force? "No, theANG does it thebest
andno onecould do itbetter. "
On Posse Comitatus: "People wanted meto saythat PC doesn't need to be
changed. Though weknow of no changes that arenecessary now, we're
taking alook. "
Never forget 9/11.
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Win thewar, but be atpeace with theMuslimworld.
Killing terrorists is agoal- line stance, it's theminimum. But for everyone
killed, 100return, andyoujust can't do it fast enough.