NORAD's New Role: Hunting bin Laden's al Qaida Armada
The Word Unheard out of Colorado is that NORAD has expanded their role to include maritime defense in response to President Bush's directive that a maritime defebse blueprint be created to defend against sea-borne terrorism.
In a recent post I had asked a simple question:
Has anyone heard a peep lately about al Qaida's 15 vessel 'armada'?
A platform waiting for deployment.
The Word Unheard is pleased to hear of one of NORAD's New Roles: Maritime Defense & Hunting bin Laden's 'Navy'.
Freighters could be used as missile platforms or floating conventional or nuclear bombs within cargo containers.
Although Keating said the oceans pose “a tough way to get at us,” he added, “We’re working harder to make sure they can’t.”
He said the Northern Command monitors the seas around the clock for threats, conducts frequent exercises and maintains minute-to-minute data on Navy and Coast Guard assets. Emphasis on maritime protection is no surprise in light of government reports that say only a fraction of arriving shipping containers are inspected.
Also, terrorist organizations operate merchant ships from which they could launch missiles at the United States, said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., a public-policy research group.
Although a sea-based attack might not be likely, he said, “The biggest lesson of 9-11 is if you ignore a potential danger, it will become a real danger.”
The nation’s surveillance system for tracking ships isn’t well developed or integrated with other capabilities, he said.
“What Northern Command is looking for is an architecture that will bring together all the various agencies and all the various surveillance capabilities that bear upon homeland defense,” Thompson said.
This is welcome good news indeed. We have indeed come a long way since we abandon the folly of prosecuting terrorists as if they were merely criminals.