Washington — The electronic backbone of the North American Air Defense System has so many problems that it should be replaced, Congress has been told. "The NORAD situation is very close to critical," acting Comptroller General Milton Socolar told a House Government Operations subcommittee. Reporting on a General Accounting Office study, Mr. Socolar told the panel that NORAD, which relies on a network of radar and computers to detect enemy attacks, is plagued by seriours problems traceable in part to bad planning.
But NORAD commander, Lt. Gen. James Hartinger, defended its effectiveness. He cited improvements made in the system after three false alarms in 1979 and 1980, in which the system wrongly reported enemy miss iles were on the way.