Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station

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Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station (1966-Active) - A Cold War era United States Air Force Station established in 1966 near Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado. The Air Force Station contains a complex of underground operations centers built into Cheyenne Mountain for nuclear attack survivability. Initially built to house the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) underground command and control center for the SAGE System radar network and other early sensor systems. Now owned and operated by Air Force Space Command and used by NORAD, USNORTHCOM and other DoD agencies. Active Air Force Station although the NORAD/USNORTHCOM facility has been designated as an alternate to the primary command center at nearby Peterson Air Force Base.

NORAD Command Center 7 Dec 2015.
Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center 1988.
Vice President Mike Pence with the Secretary of the AF Heather Wilson at the North Portal, Cheyenne Mountain AFS with Gen. Lori Robinson, North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command commander, and 21st Space Wing leadership 23 Jun 2017

Cold War

The requirement for a hardened command and control center was identified in the late 1950s as a defense against nuclear attack by long-range Soviet bombers.

Cheyenne Mountain Complex Tunnel Under Construction in 1962.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex Exterior Construction in 1963.
Operations Center Console circa 1988 in the Peterson AFB Museum.
Model of the Underground Cheyenne Mountain Complex Buildings in the Peterson AFB Museum.
One of the Building Support Springs in the Peterson AFB Museum.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex Power Production Plant, which houses six 2,807 horsepower diesel engines.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain some 1500 feet underground and the construction of an operational center complex within the granite mountain.

Internally, the complex consisted of fifteen free-standing but interconnected buildings, each shock-mounted on large springs (1,300 total), connected to the outside world by a two-mile access tunnel with two portals to the outside. The entrance to the underground building complex was protected by two 23 ton blast doors that would be closed in the event of an impending attack. The complex is self-sufficient with power, water, and climate systems as well as quarters and mess facilities to sustain buttoned up operations. Communications facilities ranged from landlines to hardened radio and satellite terminals.


The 425L System portion of the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on 1 Jan 1966. The Cheyenne Mountain facility became fully operational as the NORAD Combat Operations Center on 6 Feb 1967. On 20 Apr 1966, the 425L System became fully operational.


The underground complex has been reconfigured as the missions have changed over the years. The complex has housed facilities belonging to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command, USAF Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Known as the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC), several centers supported the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.


Current Status

Vice President Mike Pence and General Lori J. Robinson Passing Through the Blast Doors at Cheyenne Mountain AFS.

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station is owned and operated by Air Force Space Command. NORAD and USNORTHCOM use just under 30% of the floor space within the complex and comprise approximately 5% of the daily population at Cheyenne Mountain.

Now the Cheyenne Mountain Complex serves as NORAD and USNORTHCOM's Alternate Command Center and as a training site for crew qualification. Day-to-day crew operations for NORAD and USNORTHCOM typically take place at Peterson Air Force Base. The station is host to more than a dozen DoD agencies including the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Public tours of Cheyenne Mountain are not currently available.


Location: On Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.74434 Long: -104.84665

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 7,000' ~

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