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Who Gives Order To Shoot Down Civilian Airliners?

Thu Feb 13, 2003 8:09 am

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Since 9/11, this has become normal around the DC and
other areas around the country... a somewhat disturbing,
yet comforting, sight when I drive by these things...
Disturbing because these anti-aircraft missles are there
to shoot down civilian airliners if the unthinkable happens
again. Comforting, because downing a single plane with
a couple hundred passengers is "better" than having it
crash into a large buliding with thousands of victims...  Sad

Anyway, I was wondering who has the final authority to give
the order to fire these missles to bring down a civilian
airliners? Is it the U.S. president, the defense secretary,
or the commander in charge of the missles? If the
soldiers in these vechiles do not receive such orders,
but visually spot an airliner a mile away, heading straight
for a building, can they fire?(for example, it was not
detected by radars, and these guys with the missles
obviously will have not time to ask for permission...
will they simply have to sit idle and watch the plane

[Edited 2003-02-13 00:16:30]
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RE: Who Gives Order To Shoot Down Civilian Airline

Thu Feb 13, 2003 8:13 am

No question. Bush would have to order it.

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RE: Who Gives Order To Shoot Down Civilian Airliners?

Thu Feb 13, 2003 8:15 am

Prior to the attacks on September 11, 2001 only the President of the United States had the authority to order the military to shoot down a civilian aircraft that posed a threat.

After realizing that a life or death decision of this magnitude may not permit the time required to get in touch with the President and brief him before getting such an order, the authority to engage a civilian airliner has been expanded to the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a handful of other high-ranking military officers.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
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RE: Who Gives Order To Shoot Down Civilian Airliners?

Thu Feb 13, 2003 8:38 am

All the same, notwithstanding which person actually gives the order to shoot at a civilian plane, the ultimate responsibility as always lies with the President.

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RE: Who Gives Order To Shoot Down Civilian Airliners?

Thu Feb 13, 2003 9:32 am

since 9-11 and the creation of NorthCom, the President has delegated that authority to two Air Force 4 star generals, One at Cheyenne Mountain and one in Alaska, all fall within the NORAD and Northcom command structure.
If you are so interested I can email more details or write a mini-book  Big grin here on how the plans work on the unclass level.

Several articles on this were in mainstream news sources several months after Sept 11.

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