December 3rd, 2013
03:58 PM ET

Eight tiny reindeer and two fighter jets?

By Brian Rokus and Barbara Starr

Does Santa need more than just Rudolph’s red nose to guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve this year?

Like, maybe, two fighter jets?

A new video released by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to promote its annual tracking of Santa’s trip around the world is drawing fire from some children’s advocates.

In the 39-second clip, Santa is shown flying across the globe, tracked by an Air Force radar surveillance plane and, at one point, being escorted by two fighters.

“I think that it’s really problematic. It’s taking a beloved children’s tradition and inserting violence and militarism into it,” said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.

An accompanying video documents NORAD’s “test flight” to track Santa (call sign “Big Red One”). Maritime units report they’re ready to conduct “any gift rescue operations if necessary” while land units verify “load-bearing capacity for all rooftops which reindeer will land on.”

“It’s a backdoor way to market to children, and the military has no business marketing to children,” Golin said.

Last year, the website had 22.3 million unique visitors from 235 countries and the program had 1.5 million Facebook followers.

The videos and extensive website – intended to be lighthearted – includes more scenes this year to reflect NORAD’s work when it’s not tracking Santa.

“This is a site that is intended as a service to children around the world,” said NORAD spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. “We did make a conscious effort this year to be a bit more operational because that’s what we do.”

But marketing to children what NORAD does is a concern for some groups.

“They’re not showing their capabilities to adults, they’re showing their capabilities to children. As an adult I find it interesting, but the problem is that children are watching this,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

The military has tracked Santa since 1955 when a newspaper ad urged children to call Santa directly. But the phone number was misprinted and connected callers to the crew commander at the operations center of NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command.

While the public can still call NORAD by phone on Christmas Eve to get a real-time update on Santa’s whereabouts, the operation has since gone high-tech and online with a new interactive tracking map and even smartphone apps.

According to NORAD, more than 1,250 Canadian and American uniformed personnel and civilians volunteer their time on December 24 to answer the tens of thousands of e-mails and more than 100,000 incoming phone calls. Virtually all of the costs are paid for by corporate sponsors.

Calls to Santa for comment were not immediately returned.

soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Jed

    Is it me or do some people think they are using actual fighter jets? (it's a computer animation...) This is what America has become..

    December 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  2. MrD

    Sorry guys.. but the Political Correctness B.S. Here is just way to thick. NORAD has always been a military command, never been a secret.. The men and women who volunteer to keep this going give of their time and energies.. The people complaining do just that.. COMPLAIN.. Seriosly.. get a life.. I am Jewish!.. Ill be watching NORAD track Big Red One.. and I am very happy that he;s got a fighter escort.. North Korea would love nothing than to steal Christmas from American kids.. If someone does not approve of this stuff.. Turn Off The TV.

    December 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  3. smokeyscot

    All the best Barbra Starr, The NORAD folks put together an awesome site. Not sure Barbra, but it doesn't appear that the U.S. military has taken possession of Saint Nick. Quite the oppisite. NORAD with jet escort shows a protective posture. For children this is important Christmas and the good spirit that comes with it. Child advocacy groups need to understand that the good guys are on the job. NORAD a joint Canadian and United States effort has been on the job protecting us all for many years. Including Santa. I hope you do a follow up with these points in mind. NORAD are the good guys. All the best !

    December 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • MrD

      Barbara Star is frustrated.. she needs to get LAID.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
      • jazzbo13

        I just Googled her image. That's not going to happen.

        December 6, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  4. TheGunslinger

    Don't like it? Don't click on it. Better yet.....Make your own website with Santa being escorted by fairies with twinkle dust and add a few unicorns! Some people are just ridiculous. Here's an idea....Get a job. Take a walk. Read or write a book but stop complaining about every little thing.

    December 4, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • nisroc00

      I hate to tell you this but Santa does NOT exist! So why would I need to make my own site about Santa being escorted by fairies that do NOT exist either. Why would any need Santa escorted by F18s? Is he under terrorist threat? Really, like I said the USA cannot do anything with out politics or guns.

      December 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
      • MrD

        OMG.. you mean those screens and all that stuff is Fake? No Santa.. No.. say it aint so.. Where then did my Big Wheel come from? and my new slippers? Santa Exists.. but people with too much time on their hands, who simply look for things to complain about.. y'all can't see him.

        December 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • MRJ

        Too bad those are CANADIAN fighters. look at the markings on the tail and go look up 409 Sqn RCAF. These "advocacy groups" need a new hobby.

        December 4, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  5. Tay

    I think its admirable...kids see all the drama and bs we as adults are responsible for with war and terrorist actions..I say let them see that the one thing truly for them is protected and safe. I come from a military family and support the idea of my two lil boys getting excited that our military family is protecting Santa and the innocence of Christmas.

    December 4, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  6. rhall335

    What has been overlooked – and what is not reported at all – is that this is not something new. The NORAD tracks Santa effort has included such vignettes since at least 1999. So why are people complaining about it now? NORAD has been tracking Santa since the 1950's (check the web site for details) and uses Christmas and the Santa story to weave in what it is NORAD does in protecting North America. So, as the story goes, they very dutifully detect and track something' unknown' approaching North America and once they realize who it is, they provide escort.
    If people are offended hearing how NORAD protects North America – and if they are getting spun up about something that is at least 14 years old – they ought to keep it to themselves.

    It is too bad that CNN has (perhaps inadvertently?) fueled this, especially since CNN has shown these video vignettes for years. I would expect CNN to update this article with a revision describing what is going on.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:57 am | Reply
  7. Rich

    When I think of all of the "progressive' garbage we put out there in front of our kids, and you're complaining about this? Be proud of our military and stop whining.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:11 am | Reply
  8. Mark

    LOL. Get a load of this so-called "Religion of Peace". Their most sacred holiday, the birth of Jesus, is now celebrated with shows of violent warmongering potential. Just to remind you of the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children these Christians slaughtered using planes like these and others in Southeast Asia (in their Jihad to stop "godless communism") and later when "god told me to 'liberate' the people of Iraq" who just happened to be sitting on the world's second largest oil reserves. Oh, but THEIR jihads are completely different than the ones by other religions that actually kill far fewer people. Because, well, they are done in English by Americans. Their hundreds of thousands of victims die very soft, comfortable and enjoyable deaths of course and their families are all smiles at their losses.

    Behold the Religion of Peace with the fighter jet escort. I just spit up my morning coffee.

    December 4, 2013 at 7:57 am | Reply
    • Rich

      What's this: my jihad kills less people than your jihad? A kinder, gentler jihad? Wars in Southeast Asia weren't started by Christians, nor were they fought by Christians in the name of Christianity. Hitler didn't cause the death of millions in the name of God, nor did Lenin, Stalin, or Mao. No one killed anyone in the name of God in Vietnam or Irag. Today it is your friendly neighborhood Muslim terrorists who kill for their God.

      The Crusades were over long ago. Stop watching so much Al Jazeera.

      December 4, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • MrD

      Oh Please.. go back to your hole. NORAD has been protecting this country for many years..Santa needs protection from NKVD.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  9. Luc Brouillard

    I do think that they have gone too far. Regardless if the implications of Santa Claus are psychologically harmful or not, what impression are we sending our children if he is being fallowed by fighter jets. The mind's of children are fragile as it is, how will it shape them if this was the year Santa was fallowed by fighter jets. Does it make them worry of terrorists attacks, instigating fear, and stereotyping potential terror threats. It may sound extreme, but just think the ripple this could cause. Most likely it will be nothing, but do we really need a major government organization controlling the US and Canada's air space dictating our Christmas traditions, as whack as they may already be?

    December 4, 2013 at 4:28 am | Reply
  10. Jack Valenti

    Santa needs those fighters. Terrorists are everywhere haven't you heard Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Rodgers tell us so.

    December 4, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
    • Captain Wolff

      See, my thinking was that the occasional right-wing crazy who has an AR-15 and sees commies everywhere would be less inclined to shoot at something thats being escorted by our good ole' boys in the Air Force.

      December 24, 2013 at 3:56 am | Reply
  11. Random

    I support it. The critics also think guns kill people, forks make them fat, sometimes the best thing you can do is just ignore the trolls and just keep having fun.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  12. MikeG

    Get a life, its meant to bein fun. Do you think theyare really tracking Santa???????

    December 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  13. Won

    By cutting off this program, we can save million of dollars in food stamp alone. We don't need NORAD.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  14. John Diles

    Get over yourself, Mr. Golin.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  15. t

    .....Rushie Dumnutz just announced Santa is a SOCIALIST.......Just GIVING AWAY TOYS TO EVERYONE........

    December 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  16. Smellferd

    The point they are making is that anything entering our airspace is tracked. A friend gets an escort and a foe gets the tip of the spear. Those fighters are the protectors of our children and the gate keepers of our airspace. It's up to all of us to make sure they are used properly. Its not a bad thing to let the kids know someone is watching the sky while they sleep at night. That way they feel safe while they are little... and understand the responsibility they have as adults to make sure our power continues to be used for the right purposes.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • MrD

      Very well said.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  17. adibese

    Ya, with the new no-fly zones from China etc. Santa needs escorts. After all, Santa does not bow down to oppressive regimes.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  18. Skarphace

    Ok, fine. Let's just cut to the chase, then, and tell children the truth. Santa does not exist. We are better off without him anyways. It is a very stupid tradition and has nothing at all to do with Christmas.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • adibese

      I agree, and while we're at it, let's just take it one step further and tell the kids that the OTHER Christmas characters don't exist either. Namely, Jesus, Mary, the Wise Men and god.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Reply
      • Skarphace

        Well, the Santa story is a known myth and can be proven a myth easy. Merely put stockings up and do not fill them. They will remain empty. Ever try proving that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph did not exist? Good luck!

        December 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  19. Joe

    I know the point has been made, but it bears repeating...how is it that NORAD can handle 235 million visitors in one day and Healthcare.gov maxes out at 50,000?

    December 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
    • Skarphace

      Maybe, just maybe, because there is a bit of difference between a website you visit and one you use to sign up for health insurance? You are also comparing daily visitors with concurrent visitors. You want a more accurate comparison? How many visitors can Geico sign up at one time? More or less than 50,000?

      December 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  20. kikucat

    Santa does need the fighter jet escort while flying over that airspace that China is claiming. After all, it would really suck if he got shot at while doing his rounds :)

    December 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  21. Wayne

    If they are concerned about "militarizing" Santa,..maybe they shouldn't be getting their info from NORAD….just saying….

    December 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  22. Bob

    I agree with Bob (above). How is it 'marketing'? Encouraging people to serve their country is somehow now to be frowned upon? By the way, the military still has great benefits and offers training that some people would not be able to acquire any other way.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  23. outawork

    Josh Golin was the kid in class that always reminded the teacher that she forgot to assign homework

    December 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  24. Patrick T

    I personally Enjoy watching the NORAD clips with my children,. and have pointed this out to them, that the United States Armed Forces is ESCORTING Santa into American Airspace.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  25. Rembrant

    It costs $44,000 per hour to operate an F-22. Who is paying for this Santa escort?

    December 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • ORChuck

      I'm told that Santa reimburses the Pentagon for all related expenses.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  26. Bob

    This guy is concerned that the military is "marketing" to children, but makes no mention of constant bombardment of "marketing" consumerism that is Christmas. Give me a break. So its ok to turn our kids in greedy, materialistic hoards, but not ok to turn them into selfless soldiers?

    December 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
  27. leah

    So don't stick your little kid on the computer by themselves. Start a different website for tracking Santa that you approve of. Nobody is forcing you to go to the friggin NORAD site.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  28. NorCalMojo

    whiny scrooges

    December 3, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • JJC

      Agreed, the wussification of America continues, I see! hahaha

      December 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  29. Mark

    Josh Golin and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood can go and $.u.c.k it.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Reply
  30. Al

    First this is NORAD which is military I dont see any other big company doing this every year for free. Fighter jets I think is cool and bet kids will to. If everyone is complaining shut down the site like flag football,dodge ball, even recess because its bullying. The people have nothing better to complain about why not complain about the REAL issues not something done by the military for children.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  31. Jake S

    Wait.... what? Santa isn't real? CNN you just ruined my childhood. Lol child advocates, 'military marketing to children' Oh and Santa isn't a marketing scheme in the first place? Go protest black friday and consumerism, waste your time there.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  32. BK

    What a bunch of ninnies. Getting upset over a computer generated image of a fake tracking service centered on a fictional individual. Yep, this will scar children forever.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  33. Jon Okie

    At least this government website works!

    December 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • ORChuck

      And the award for best post goes to... Mr. Jon Okie.

      Congratulations.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  34. sparky

    Here is an idea if you have a problem with it... DON'T GO TO THE SITE!!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  35. leeann

    The military does good things, too. They go to places suffering from natural disasters for humanitarian relief. They protect. And, on occasion, they escort VIP dignitaries from one place to another. Sometimes an escort is a sign of respect and acknowledgment of a person's position. Santa certainly qualifies as a very important person. The jets are respectfully escorting Santa . . . not getting into a dogfight with the reindeer!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  36. Adam M

    Why would the US military spend the money on providing jets to protect Santa and his sled? He isn't even merican and he is a communist.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  37. IdiotinAmerica

    Lol people need to calm the hell down, its a joke. Oversensitive idiots in this world today.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  38. PoliticalCorrectnessSucks

    Political correctness can kiss my butt! People are so worried about not offending anyone, well that can suck it! You aren't Vertically challenged if you're short. You're short! Grow a pair America! I am so tired of this crap. Oh so little Timmy and Suzie might see Santa escorted by two really cool fighter jets, big deal! Why don't you worry about teaching your kids about what Christmas is really about. You know, about Christ, it's not about a fat old man delivering presents that you probably had to fight someone to get during the black Friday sale. Enough of that rant

    December 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • Jake S

      Agree. But hey, they got their 5 seconds of fame being quoted on CNN.

      December 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  39. garcon5245

    Sounds like Golin needs a job because he has a lot of time on his hands. Also maybe grow a pair.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  40. Al

    Santa Claus is superhuman with powers and abilities that are well beyond what we are capable of. He is able to deliver toys to every household in the world in one day, which probably means he can manipulate time and space. I'm pretty sure he is not visible on radar or any other sensors we possess and he can defeat any of our fighter aircraft.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  41. scotttx

    I feel sorry for Santa, with NSA spying on him looking for child porn, and now missile aimed at him, looks to be a great holiday season, Hey Santa may want to stay home got to watch out for the drones

    December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  42. Crowley

    Awesome! A great way for parents to start a discussion with their children how freedom shouldn't be taken for granted. About how there are people in this world who would take our freedom from from us, given the chance, and how we must always be on guard and ready to fight to stay free. Santa Claus is pretty cool too.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  43. Bill

    It's funny how people are shocked at how the U.S is pointing fighter aircrafts at Santa... and ohhh the outrage the U.S doesn't own Santa so why would they be allowed to do this and not the other countries ?

    Well my friends you failed to realize that the U.S isn't doing that.

    Look carefully these are actually Canadian F-18 escorting Santa... why ? Because Santa comes from the North Pole... and the North Pole is in Canada.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • David Edwards

      When did Canada "inherit" the North Pole?

      "No country currently owns or can lay claim to the polar region. Canada's marine claims — like other coastal nations — is limited to 200 nautical miles (370 km) off its shores."

      torontosun (.) com / 2013 / 12 / 04 / canada-wants-to-lay-claim-to-north-pole-says-report

      December 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  44. Sandy Claws

    personally i think installing a negative view or senario with santa clause is wrong
    fighter jets represent fighting, warfare, aggression, defense etc
    what can possibly be the reason for santa having a fighter jet escort?
    are we going to re write all child stories? maybe give the tooth fairy some secret service agents?
    you know..... just in case one of the children happen to be a terrorist
    or maybe get the NSA to tap the easter bunnies phone in case the bunny was plotting to plant grenades instead of chocolate eggs

    December 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • VoiceofReason

      You should move to another planet. Christmas is not about Santa Claus, there is aggression, war, and fighting already in children's stories and it has been that way for centuries. I'm pretty sure that Disney and Dreamworks have already alluded to secret service agents in their movies many times. The fighter jet escort is a show of respect, by the military, for the life of someone who is considered important. You are either dumb and purposefully ignorant and if you do not like the escort you can skip your happy self someplace else and let the people that do not thrive on ignorance enjoy their Christmas.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  45. vbscript2

    This is perhaps one of the most silly suggestions I've seen a CNN article written about. And news flash to Dr. Benjamin: Children find jet aircraft cool, too. Now, if Santa was accompanying drones on a mission to shoot up some terrorists in Pakistan, I could see your point. Simply giving his sleigh a fighter escort as a joke isn't hurting anyone, though. It's just a cute joke. While I'd agree that we shouldn't be glamorizing war to children, it doesn't sound like that's what was being done here. Encouraging children to be interested in impressive feats of engineering and science is a good thing. Anyone who knows many engineers and scientists knows that interest in such things is one of the largest motivators of getting people interested in math, science, and engineering. For goodness sake, the last thing we should be complaining about is something designed to get more kids interested in math and science in the U.S. Our public schools are already lagging much of the developed world in math and science education and, from my experience, a lot of that comes down to lack of motivation to be interested in math and science as kids (which is also largely due to boring methods of 'teaching' math and science that do more to teach kids that math and science are boring than anything else.)

    December 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  46. some guy

    Just dont use F 35s to escort Santa.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  47. Steel On Target

    That's right cry me a river because kinds see a picture of F-18s. Afraid that after your kids finally discover that you've been lying to them about Santa Claus they'll want to get a meaningful job? Let me guess, some one else's child should do the fighting and dying right?

    December 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  48. Dave

    Give me a break! Why is the only country in the world so obsessed with being politically correct. The whole world laughs at our stupidity and obvious complete disregard of common since. Have our political leaders lost their minds, oh that's right, I cannot answer that one or I will be labeled a crazy conservative Republican or a crazy liberal Democrat, and who would want to be stuck with that moniker? If the US Military wants to escort Santa around the world, well, perhaps it is because there are folks out there that do not believe in him, want to kill him, eat the rain deer, and cause us as much pain as we have caused them. Get over it and take your heads out of your rectal areas and start thinking with if for once in you lives. Is this any worse than the violent games of killing, raping, theft, and other violent behavior you just bought your kids for Christmas Gifts?

    December 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      RA16897089 12/66-12-68

      December 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  49. M.E.

    First of all, this is a load of hogwash, the NORAD santa tracking project is awesome and it's not marketing squat to kids. Second of all, cool military things are a great way to interest kids in STEM. Neat planes and rockets and things that go "KERBLOWWW" and "PEW PEW PEW" are often a gateway drug to nerdery. Also, has everyone forgotten kids putting together models of military stuff? I suppose we should outlaw that now cause building Spitfires and tanks clearly is evil and wrong.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • vbscript2

      Exactly. This is a rather pathetic attempt at being 'politically correct' (more accurately known as 'incorrect.')

      December 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • MrD

      Oh man.. if NORAD tracking Santa.. whhart will we ever do with GI JOE!????

      December 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  50. johns

    Did you see the al qaeda version? They shoot Santa's sleigh down, dismember Santa and urinate on his body parts.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  51. mudbirdy

    If you don't like it, DON'T WATCH IT! Obviously this Josh Golin has never done anything to keep America free and has never participated in "Christmas giving" for third world countries. It is a trait of extreme liberals to interfere with the rights of others when they don't agree with something. The first Christmas I was overseas (in the Navy) and working a lonely Christmas night, it was quite delightful for the duty section to be updated on "Santa's flight". Look up "Berlin air lift" and you will see that in 1948, a bunch of military guys started giving all their personal candy rations, making little homemade parachutes and dropping it to the kids behind the blockade in West Berlin. It started with one guy giving some kids chewing gum thru the fence. US military people have always tried to make Christmas a little brighter for kids where ever they are. The person that called the Golin guy a grinch got it right! What has he done to make Christmas a little brighter for kids worldwide? (And remember that Santa Clause is just a commercial to promote buying).

    December 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  52. oldmanontheinternet

    I just have to ask: Is Santa filing a flight plan through China's new air defense zone? I'll bet Santa's putting coal in all the stockings of the whiners posting here. So you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm tellin' ya why: cause Santa Claus has fighter escort.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  53. Cris

    Hey!! That's insurance that the gifts will get here on time......

    And it's free......*grin* Just lighten up for Christmas sake....

    December 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  54. LH

    Oh wannnhhh!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  55. Mike

    Fighter jets are of critical importance to National defense. Without them, what language would we speaking right now? Likely not English.

    A country without fighter jets is like a body with no immune system. it won't last long. We should embrace jets- even drones.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • M.E.

      I can tell you what language the UK would certainly be speaking, and what anthem they'd be singing. Certainly wouldn't be God Save The Queen, more like Deutschland Uber Alles, hahaha!

      December 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  56. jimvsmij

    Love it. We don't just monitor's Santa's progress we give him presidential treatment to safeguard him, his rain deer, and his precious cargo. If you don't like the thought of US taxpayer's money helping to ensure the good kids get their presents then don't tune into it.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • mdhsimons

      agree and luv it, my son is gonna get a kick outta this and my daughter will be greatful for the extra care Santa and the reindeer get!!

      December 3, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  57. nisroc00

    Really USA once again guns, military, cannot you do anything with out guns or you military. Really this is what you want to teach children Santa is being escorted because NK and Iran are trying to shoot him down? Pathetic!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
    • lol

      You're an idiot. Please, don't have kids and do not collect $200 as you pass go.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  58. bassmaster22

    Fly jets over a stadium or put a tank in a parade and it's "patriotic." Put a jet next to Santa and it's in the end of the world. If jets have no business being around santa, neither do they being around an inflatable rubber ball and a bunch of drunks.
    Grow up people.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  59. DarrellSF

    Silly as it may be, I watch a little of NORAD's tracking of Santa every year. It's one of many reminders throughout the year that I am a Global Citizen, as well as a Citizen of the United States. It also reminds me that we have more in common as human beings than one would think at times, and it also draws my attention again to thinking about how I impact my world on a daily basis. It's also a way to touch bases with that little boy that still exists inside of me, who is still filled with wonder about this beautiful planet and everything on it. I wouldn't necessarily want to see fighter jets in a video at this site, but it IS run by NORAD.

    Lesson to take away from this? Not take the holidays too seriously!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  60. simple math

    According to several mathematical calculations, Santa needs to travel in excess of 5 million mph to cover estimated 122 million mile distance including stops and criss-crossing and backtracking. He needs a UFO escort. If it can keep up.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  61. EddieG

    Now, this year Santa's not going out in a sleigh. This time he's going Total Tank.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Reply
    • Saul S.

      Well played sir.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  62. OneDogMama

    So NORAD is protecting Santa. And what is wrong with that?

    December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  63. Mike

    Like any military jet could keep up with Old Saint Nick and the Reindeer! Really makes me wonder if NORAD has our back when China launches its ballistic missiles to nuke us.... Fighter Jets as fast as Santa, BAHAHA

    December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  64. SRM in Rochester

    It's kind of sick that some people see everything in the worst light. The Military is not the enemy! They've helped keep Santa real by saying "Even we believe, and will support Santa on his flight". In the movie "Miracle on 34th Street", the US Post Office was used to confirm his existance (and yes, I know that's just a story). The Military is made up of real people, with a real desire to help others. (And don't respond with examples that try to disprove this – nothing is 100% one way or the other.) Just feel good that this will help some children be happy!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • Bull Crap

      Like there is no atheist in fox holes.They claim not to believe in God but when it comes down to the last straw look who is praying the loudest...

      December 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
      • anonymous

        what does that have to do with anything here?

        December 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  65. HZD

    For someone advocating a commercial free childhood, maybe Josh Golin should be aware that our cultural image of Santa is basically the product of his commercialization by Coca Cola. So let's just lighten up a little bit, shall we?

    December 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  66. John Smith

    Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, and Modern Warfare are ok for the kiddies (which by-the-way desensitizes them to murder), but let's not show Santa with a couple of fighter jets. The stupidity is so glaring, it's just mind boggling that the topic is about a cartoon, and not the real issue!

    December 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • Danthetallcool1

      Excellent point, John Smith! And very well put!

      December 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  67. ScottCA

    He will need the air support to protect him from the Chinese expanding claims to own international airspace. We don't want the Chinese shooting down Santa, now do we.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • ORChuck

      The Chinese would never shoot down Santa.... he's one of their biggest customers.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
      • JustSaying

        Sure but I doubt he has a two-way radio. So hence the need for the fighter jets to escort him so that the Chinese don't fire first and ask questions later.

        December 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  68. TAK

    If Santa were real you can be certain that there are parts of the world where he'd need a fighter escort. So if NORAD wants to play make-believe at least they're doing it right.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  69. ORChuck

    While Santa, of course, is a citizen of the world, US Norad and the USAF have been helping and protecting Santa on his yearly run for decades. It's nice to see that the US of A is bringing our latest and greatest technology to this most-important of missions. Go Santa, Go! And don't worry because Norand and the USAF have your back.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  70. Nickie

    Well, it IS run by the military. If you have a problem with it, don't watch or tune in. I know my boys LOVE knowing that F-15's are watching over Santa making sure he makes it safely from point A to point B. The sound an F-15 makes is the sound of FREEDOM if you've never been lucky enough to hear it.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • JustSaying

      Freedom coming in to punish those misbehaving kids in the Middle East.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  71. neoritter

    Hey now, Santa is gonna need those jets when he goes over the East China Sea.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  72. ORChuck

    "...said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood."

    The Air Force radar may be able to track Santa, but it took CNN to find the Grinch.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • Lazerdawg

      haha, clever

      December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • smokeyscot

      I have to agree. Barbra Starr normally is on the money. This time she appears to be a Grinch. This an awesome program with the combined effort of Canadians and United States protecting our air space from possible threat over North America. I welcome the child advocacy groups comments. Clearly, Santa needs protection while he blesses the world with the Christmas spirit. My 7 year old understands that. NORAD are the good guys. Barbra you can do better.

      December 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  73. damienFish

    Its kind of sick, militarizing Santa Claus. I thought it was cute when, at 10 pm or so, they would show the kiddies where his sleigh was on radar, but now, he gets F-35s, probably some JDAM air to ground support, and the NSA monitoring cell phone chatter.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • pablo

      With a Delta/Ranger QRF combo pack

      December 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Reply
    • JOhn C

      I guess NORAD, which is a military command, should stop providing this service then right?

      December 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
      • MrD

        Yes.. we should give the North Koreans instead an escort so they can bomb us.. right.. who needs NORAD? The politically correct crap has to stop.. please.. this whole conversation comes from the Looney Left!

        December 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm |

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