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Safeguard Ballistic Missile Defense Center (BMDC)

(Excerpt from Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. ND-9)

IV. Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex

B. Facility Description

6. Ballistic Missile Defense Center (BMDC)

The BMDC was the only component of the SRMSC that was not located in North Dakota. The BMDC, located in Colorado, interfaced Safeguard and North American Air Defense (NORAD)/Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) operations. As such, the BMDC monitored the operations of the SRMSC. It was the highest echelon of command and control in the Safeguard system, allowing the Commander-in-Chief of CONAD (CINCONAD) to exercise operational command and provide the capability of the Commanding General of the Army Air Defense Command to exercise command and technical supervision of the force employing the Safeguard weapons system. BMDC interfaced with the CONAD Combat Operations Center (COC) to provide the means for CINCONAD to exercise operational control of Safeguard, to provide SRMSC with attack warning and other data concerning BMD information generated outside of the Safeguard system, and to perform other necessary functions. Command and control personnel could observe and analyze BMD operations and intervene as directed to modify the automatic weapon system response.

The BMDC was housed in one of eleven steel buildings constructed in the 4.5 acres of tunnels in the NORAD/CONAD complex. The building was 39 m (128 ft) long, 12.8 m (42 ft) wide, and three stories tall. A power center and mechanical equipment room were situated above the third level. The BMDC was free standing and shock mounted on rows of huge springs made from 7.6 cm (3 in) steel rod. The BMDC's walls of 9.7 cm (3.8 in) steel plate would protect its electronics against the electromagnetic effects of a nuclear blast.

The BMD Operations Room (BMDOR), located on the first floor of the BMDC, is where the status and operation of the SRMSC were monitored through command and control consoles and four six-foot-square display boards by Safeguard command and control personnel. Here, too, directions received from CINC of CONAD were transmitted to the complex in North Dakota.

For more information about the BMDC, see ABM R & D at Bell Laboratories: Project History, Part II, Chapter 12 (PDF).