TigerTim saidNo expense has been spared in NORAD's yearly tracking of Santa:
including RADAR, satellite tracking, fighter jets (!) and Santa Cam.
A good use of public money?
My understanding is that these missions are training and routine operational flights, which are conducted 24/7 anyway. So that no significant additional taxpayer money is actually being spent.
Additionally, NORAD and the government feel this is a good PR opportunity, to remind US citizens of the fighter aircraft and radar shield that always surrounds and protects us, even in the post-Cold War era.
psst. It's all pretend. They aren't really tracking anything.
I think we know that. But I believe it does involve some ground-to-air communications as part of this charade. Or maybe it's all fake & staged today. Why not, if it thrills a few pre-schoolers? Either way, I don't think it really costs US taxpayers anything.
It costs nothing so there is no "expense" to justify. contrary to the question "every expense is spared."
But an appropriate question is "Does it basically undermine trust to publicly apply the official imprimatur to myth and thereby blatantly demonstrate willingness to engage in an elaborate hoax?"
seriously though - this is as much a part of the military role as the part where liberating troops will hand out candy to children . The military is the first point of contact with many citizens -; they are the emissaries of their nation. That First Contact shapes expectations and makes an indelible impression.
This exercise makes First exposure to our military presence a very benevolent one, engaged in a pastime relevant to the child.
Contrast that with the children whose first exposure is in a combat context.
It is as good for our own troops as for the kids who listen in, to be enaged in a unselfish act of kindness and innocence rather than dealing with the realities of their missions.
When I was a child growing I believed our troops at the base we were on were on standby on christmas Eve to provide support for Santa if disaster struck.
It was, metaphorically speaking, perfectly true - only it might be anyone, not just Santa.