NORAD may shed 24-hour alert sites in Va., Minn.

DENVER — NORAD is considering taking two of its 18 Air Force sites off 24-hour alert, saying it will save millions of dollars without compromising its ability to defend against 9/11-style attacks.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed late Thursday it might take fighter squadrons in Duluth, Minn., and at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., off 24-hour alert.

A NORAD spokesman says no decision has been made and both sites remain on alert.

NORAD, based in Colorado, told the Government Accountability Office the move wouldn’t hurt its ability to scramble fighters to intercept hostile or hijacked aircraft. NORAD said it used computer models and other analyses.

The Air Force says the move would save $73.1 million over five years. It appears to be unrelated to mandatory budget cuts taking effect today.


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