Eastern Air Defense Sector

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Eastern Air Defense Sector
Eastern Air Defense Sector emblem.jpg
Eastern Air Defense Sector Emblem
Active 1956–1966, 1987–present
Country  United States

 United States Air Force

New York Air National Guard
Role Air Defense

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

The Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) is a United States Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC) unit permanently assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. A joint, bi-national military organization, EADS is composed of U.S. and Canadian military forces, federal civilians and contractors. Located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York. EADS is a subordinate command of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region-1st Air Force, headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.


The Air National Guard provides the majority of the forces for the NORAD mission. At EADS, this responsibility belongs to the New York Air National Guard’s 224th Air Defense Group. The 224th ADG consists of the 224th Air Defense Squadron, the 224th Support Squadron and two detachments in the Washington, D.C. area.

In total, EADS has more than 400 full- and part-time military and civilian personnel. This includes a 15-member Canadian Forces detachment and Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration liaison officers. These personnel work side-by-side with the 224th ADG and are fully integrated into every aspect of the unit.

EADS Detachment 1 serves at the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC) at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. Commanded by U.S. Army National Guard air defense units that serve year-long rotations, the JADOC is responsible for the National Capital Region’s Integrated Air Defense System (IADS). Detachment 1, composed of 39 New York ANG members, is the permanent Air Force component at the JADOC.

Detachment 2 serves at the National Capital Region Coordination Center (NCRCC) in Herndon, Virginia. Operated by the Transportation Security Administration, the NCRCC is a fusion center that enables the federal agencies responsible for defending the NCR airspace to share vital information in real time. The seven New York ANG members at Detachment 2 are responsible for correlating, coordinating and rapidly sharing threat information with EADS Battle Control Center in Rome.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is one of two Sectors responsible for the air defense of the continental United States. The other sector is the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS).


We will detect and defeat the next air attack on America.


Counter all air threats to EADS' assigned Area of Operations through vigilant detection, rapid warning and precise tactical control of NORAD and NORTHCOM forces.


  1. Execute the steady-state mission effectively.
  2. Ensure the Sector can effectively surge to meet contingency and wartime requirements.
  3. Provide focused, standardized and realistic mission training.
  4. Recruit and retain the highest quality Airmen and make EADS the best place to work in the Mohawk Valley.
  5. Continuously strive to find efficiencies and improve Sector effectiveness.

Historical Overview: EADS, Air Defense and the Air National Guard[edit]

In December 1994, the New York Air National Guard assumed primary responsibility for manning the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), as it was then known. Since then, the Sector has been staffed predominately by New York Guardsmen, along with a Canadian Forces detachment, U.S. Army, Navy, Coast Guard liaison officers and civilian personnel. EADS defends more than 180 million Americans, every hour of every day, and has long served as a first line in the nation’s defense.

Air Defense Origins. During WWII, the British developed an air defense reporting system that combined newly-developed radar technology with intelligence and ground observation. This “air picture” enabled Air Defense Sectors to direct fighter aircraft to intercept enemy aircraft. This system proved highly successful during the 1940 Battle of Britain, enabling the outnumbered British fighter pilots to defeat the Luftwaffe and deter an invasion of England.

Air Defense in the U.S. In 1958, in response to the threat of long-range Soviet bombers, the U.S. and Canada signed a treaty creating the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), responsible for both countries’ air defense and air sovereignty. Air Defense Sectors were established soon after, including the New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) headquartered at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. Responsibility for air defense of the Northeast changed with various reorganizations. In 1983, the 24th Air Division was assigned to Griffiss Air Force Base to provide air defense for the Northeast. In 1987, NEADS was activated and co-located with the 24th AD. NEADS took sole responsibility for air defense mission when the air divisions were deactivated in the early 1990s.

The Air National Guard and Air Defense. In the mid-1990s, the Air National Guard (ANG) assumed responsibility for leading U.S. air defense. ANG flying units had performed the air defense mission for decades. However, as a result of this initiative, activated Guardsmen provided the command and staff for the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and its subordinate Sector HQs. The Northeast Sector was the first to transition. In December 1994, the New York Air National Guard activated the Northeast Air Defense Squadron to staff the Sector HQ. That NYANG unit formally became the 224th Air Defense Group in December 2014.

9-11 Changes Air Defense. During the Cold War, NORAD focused on external threats: long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, this Air Defense Sector pioneered many of the changes that now allow it to build a detailed internal air picture to identify and engage air threats originating within North America. In addition to the Battle Control Center in Rome, EADS helped stand-up and maintain two detachments in the National Capital Region to defend critical assets and improve interagency communication. In 2006, the Southeast Air Defense Sector was inactivated and NEADS assumed responsibility for defending the airspace east of the Mississippi. To better align name and mission, NEADS formally became the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) in 2009.

Detailed History[edit]

539th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron Convair F-106A-64-CO Delta Darts McGuire AFB, New Jersey October 1959
332d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron North American F-86D-45-NA Sabre 52-3901, 4709th Air Defense Wing, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1956

Cold War[edit]

The Sector's history begins on 1 April 1956 when the 4621st Air Defense Wing was organized.[1] The sector's predecessors, the 4709th Defense Wing (later 4709th Air Defense Wing) and the 52d Fighter-Interceptor Wing had performed the air defense mission at McGuire AFB, New Jersey since 1949.[2]

The wing operated a Manual Air Direction Center (MDC) at Roslyn AFS, New York. It was redesignated as the New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) on 1 October. The sector's mission was to train and maintain tactical flying units in state of readiness in order to defend Northeast United States while initially continuing to operate the MDC.

The organization was in large part responsible for one of the foundational projects of the computer era: the development of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system, from its first test at Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1951, to the installation of the first unit of the New York Air Defense Sector of the SAGE system, in 1958.

The idea for SAGE grew out of Project Whirlwind, a World War II computer development effort, when the War Department realized that the Whirlwind computer might anchor a continent-wide advance warning system.[3] Developed during the 1950s by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratories engineers and scientists for the U.S. Air Force, SAGE monitored North American skies for possible attack by manned aircraft and missiles for twenty-five years. Aside from its strategic importance, SAGE set the foundation for mass data-processing systems and foreshadowed many computer developments of the 1960s. The heart of the system, the IBM AN/FSQ-7 computer, was the first computer to have an internal memory composed of "magnetic cores," thousands of tiny ferrite rings that served as reversible electromagnets. SAGE also introduced computer-driven graphic displays, online keyboard terminals, time-sharing, high-availability computation with a redundant AN/FSQ-7 to fail over if the primary system went down, digital signal processing, digital transmission over leased telephone lines, digital track-while-scan, digital simulation, computer networking, and duplex computing.

The SAGE Direction Center DC-01 40°01′51″N 074°34′32″W / 40.03083°N 74.57556°W / 40.03083; -74.57556 (NYADS-SAGE DC-01) was activated on 1 July 1958, the first sector to achieve this status. In a ceremony marking this achievement, General Curtis E. LeMay was the guest speaker. He described SAGE as, "A system centralizing many air defense functions, minimizing manual tasks and allowing electronic devices to perform hundreds of complex computations accurately and simultaneously to improve air defense capability."

On 1 April 1966, the NYADS was inactivated, as were the other 22 sectors in the country. The SAGE system remained active until replaced in 1983 by newer technology Joint Surveillance System (JSS). The 3-story DC-01 SAGE building, with reinforced 3' concrete walls and roof now hosts the Headquarters, 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, Air Mobility Command at McGuire AFB.

Modern era[edit]

On 1 July 1987, four of the previous ADCOM Air Defense sectors were reactivated, redesignated, assigned and colocated with the four remaining air divisions.

  • The Montgomery Air Defense Sector (MOADS) became the Southeast Air Defense Sector or SEADS; assigned to 23d Air Division
  • The Los Angeles Air Defense Sector (LAADS) became the Southwest Air Defense Sector or SWADS; assigned to 26th Air Division
  • The Seattle Air Defense Sector (SEADS) became the Northwest Air Defense Sector or NWADS; assigned to 25th Air Division
  • The New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) became the Northeast Air Defense Sector NEADS; assigned to 24th Air Division

The ADTAC Air Divisions were inactivated.

The Air Defense Sectors were reassigned to the Air National Guard. All reported to First Air Force.

On 1 November 2005, the NEADS and SEADS consolidated, giving the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) the responsibility of providing detection and air defense for the entire eastern half of the United States. NEADS was officially re-designated the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) on 15 July 2009.


Wisconsin ANG 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard over Wisconsin's capital city of Madison
  • Designated and organized as 4621st Air Defense Wing, SAGE, 1 April 1956
  • Designated and organized as the 4621st Air Defense Wing, SAGE, 1 April 1956
  • Redesignated as the New York Air Defense Sector on 1 October 1956
  • Discontinued and inactivated on 1 April 1966
  • Redesignated as Northeast Air Defense Sector and activated on 1 July 1987
  • Redesignated as Northeast Air Defense Sector (ANG) on 1 December 1994
  • Redesignated as Eastern Air Defense Sector on 15 July 2009
F-16A 'Vipers' of the South Carolina ANG's 169th TFG, 1989


Attached to First Air Forces Northern (Provisional), 28 February 2006 – 1 November 2007


  • McGuire AFB, New Jersey (1 April 1956 - 30 September 1968)
  • Griffiss AFB, New York (1 October 1968 - 30 September 1995)
  • Rome, New York (1 October 1995 - present)



52d Fighter Wing (Air Defense)[edit]

Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 July 1963 – 1 April 1966


Suffolk County AFB, New York, 18 October 1956 – 1 July 1963
New Castle County Airport, Delaware, 18 October 1956 – 8 January 1958
Dover AFB, Delaware, 8 February 1957 – 1 July 1958
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 8 February 1957 – 1 August 1959

Interceptor Squadrons[edit]

Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 March 1956 – 8 February 1957
Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 July 1963 – 1 Apr 1966
Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957; 1 July 1958 – 1 February 1959; 1 July 1961 – 1 July 1963
Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 July 1963 – 30 September 1968
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957; 1 August 1959 – 1 April 1966

Missile Squadrons[edit]

Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 February 1959 – 15 December 1964
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 January 1959 – 1 Apr 1966

Radar Squadrons[edit]

Highlands AFS, New Jersey, 18 October 1956 – 1 April 1966
Palermo AFS, New Jersey, 8 June 1957 – 1 October 1961
Montauk AFS, New York, 18 October 1956 – 1 April 1966


Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 June 1998 – 31 May 1999
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG) 11 September 2001
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG) 1 November 2008 - 31 October 2010
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG) 1 June 2011 - 31 May 2013
Northeast Air Defense Sector, 1 July 1987 – 1 April 1989
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 January 1990 – 1 January 1992
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 June 1994 – 31 May 1996
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 January 2001 – 30 April 2002
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 31 July 2005 – 31 May 2007

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, Eastern Air Defense Force (accessed 22 January 2012)
  2. ^ Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 414–415. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  3. ^ See generally Redmond, Kent C; Smith, Thomas M (2000). From Whirlwind to MITRE: The R&D Story of The SAGE Air Defense Computer. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-18201-0. 
  4. ^ Ravenstein, Charles A (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947–1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 85. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. 
  5. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 114. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. 
  6. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 52nd Operations Group (accessed 3 March 2012)
  7. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 148
  8. ^ a b Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 89. 
  9. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 204. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. 
  10. ^ Cornett & Johnson p. 121
  11. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 327
  12. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 410
  13. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, P. 646
  14. ^ a b Factsheet, Eastern Air Defense Force
  15. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 156
  16. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson pp. 166–167


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]

External image
SAGE facilities