U.S. NORAD Air Defense Terminology

Bibliography

CESAS Plan 500-1-12 (1 August 2001) (PDF)

The Limits of Safety by Scott Sagan

References used by Sagan:

Appendix II to annex B to 6595 ATW OPLAN 1-63, 6 Sept. 1962, FOIA;
Alert System of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 29 Jan. 1981, part 1 Concept, FOIA, p. 31-1 and p. 3-7;
Emergency Conference Procedures, Papers of Robert S. McNamara, Organization Files, RG 200, National Archives.

Defense Conditions (DEFCON)

Term

Exercise Term

Readiness Condition

DEFCON 5

FADE OUT

Normal readiness posture; can be sustained indefinitely.

DEFCON 4

DOUBLE TAKE

Intelligence watches are increased and more attention is paid to areas of tension. Security levels are increased, with special attention paid to anti-sabotage measures. No measures shall be taken that could be considered provocative or could disclose operational plans.

DEFCON 3

ROUND HOUSE

Force readiness levels are raised above normal, and plans for the next higher level of readiness are reviewed. No measures shall be taken that could be considered provocative or could disclose operational plans.

DEFCON 2

FAST PACE

Force readiness levels are raised another level, but remain below maximum readiness. Preliminary measures are taken to permit transition to the next level of readiness with minimal time required.

DEFCON 1

COCKED PISTOL

Maximum readiness posture. Indications are that hostilities are imminent against US forces, US Allies, or US possessions, and may occur momentarily.

Emergency Conditions (EMERGCON)

Term

Exercise Term

Readiness Condition

Air Defense Emergency

BIG NOISE

Unknown

Defense Emergency

HOT BOX

A major attack, whether conventional or covert, against US/Allied forces, or upon the United States itself, has occurred and has been confirmed by Higher Authority.

Air Defense Warning Conditions

Term

Exercise Term

Readiness Condition

Air Defense Warning - WHITE

BIG NOISE - SNOWMAN

Attack by enemy aircraft or missiles against the United States, Alaska, Canada, or Greenland is not considered probable.

Air Defense Warning - YELLOW

BIG NOISE - LEMON JUICE

Attack by enemy aircraft or missiles against the United States, Alaska, Canada, or Greenland is highly probable.

Air Defense Warning - RED

BIG NOISE - APPLE JACK

Attack by enemy aircraft or missiles against the United States, Alaska, Canada, or Greenland is imminent or is taking place.