PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating its 63rd anniversary of defending the homeland along with its tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the globe Dec. 24.
“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed Dec. 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States.”
NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian Command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally.
However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.
It all started in 1955 when a local ad directed children to call Santa – only the number was misdialed. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD.
Now, the 63rd iteration of NORAD Tracks Santa kicks off Dec. 1, with a more mobile-friendly website, social media channels, “Santa Cam” streaming video and a call center that will be operating around the clock on Dec. 24. More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to join NORAD on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to help track Santa’s journey.
NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. The NORAD Tracks Santa website can be found at http://www.noradsanta.org. On Dec. 24, users may call or text 1-877-HiNORAD for Santa’s up-to-date location.
Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of Homeland Defense, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
The defense of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day. For 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted aircraft in the execution of NORAD’s North American air sovereignty and air defense missions. Because NORAD is a binational command, responses do not distinguish between the two nations and draw on forces from both countries.