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NORAD posts rare video of its command center

The North American Aerospace Defense Command has a mystique fueled in part by how little the public knows about its facilities. Now it's offering a peek.

The entrance to Cheyenne Mountain, the former home of NORAD. Today, NORAD is based at Peterson Air Force Base, like Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

This is not your "War Games" fan's NORAD.

If the picture in your head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command's operations center is straight out of that 1983 Matthew Broderick movie, you may need to replace it.

That real-life command center, where personnel from the militaries of the United States and Canada keep a watchful eye out for threats from the sky, is no longer buried deep under Cheyenne Mountain. It is, however, still in Colorado Springs, Colo. Today, it is housed at Peterson Air Force Base, and it is a joint venture with the U.S. Northern Command known as the NORAD Integrated Command Center.

And befitting the sensitive nature of that facility, the public does not often get a look inside.

But earlier this week, NORAD changed that equation when it posted a video (see below) showing nearly three minutes of B-roll shot inside the Integrated Command Center. It's not the most exciting three minutes that ever happened in there, to be sure, but then again, it is NORAD.

NORAD, of course, is gearing up for its annual Christmas Eve Santa Claus tracking marathon. Starting Dec. 1, the NORAD Santa tracking Web site has been live, and has been offering up a series of games for kids, as well as some historical information about that program. Come back to this blog on Monday for a look behind the scenes of the NORAD Santa tracker.