Clear Air Force Station, Ballistic Missile Early Warning System Site II, One mile west of mile marker 293.5 on Parks Highway, 5 miles southwest of Anderson, Anderson, Denali Borough, AK
Significance: The Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) was constructed in 1958-61 in response to the threat of a potential Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) attack from the Soviet Union (demonstrated by the October 1957 launch of Sputnik). BMEWS Site II at Clear AFS in Alaska was one of three radar sites (the others were located in Greenland and Britain) that covered the polar regions. Although BMEWS was an expansion of existing radar technology rather than a significant innovation, it represented a major engineering achievement. MBEWS was an important part of the deterrence strategy (Mutual Assured Destruction) developed by both sides in the Cold War. It provided a minimum of fifteen minutes advance warning for a nuclear counterstrike, but not a missile defense. BMEWS remained in operation throughout the remainder of the Cold War, although the technology became increasingly antiquated and difficult to maintain in later years.
Survey number: HAER AK-30-A
Building/structure dates: 1958-1961 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1980 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1981 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 2000 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 2001 Subsequent Work