Holiday cheer suddenly appeared on Wednesday during a Senate Armed Services hearing on "U.S. Strategy to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and U.S. Policy Toward Iraq and Syria," when Sen. Tom Cotton posed on question far removed from anti-terrorism strategy.
The Arkansas Republican asked Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether or not NORAD would be retooling its defense resources for the 60th year in order to track Mr. Claus.
It was a definite shift in tone.
"Can you assure the boys and girls of this country that NORAD and the Air Force is fully prepared to track Santa once again?" Cotton asked.
"I don't have a complete intelligence report, senator, but I understand that the reindeer have been in fact fed their quantity of oats and are prepared for the delivery of all of those gifts to those who have been nice and not naughty," Selva said.
While the general was not able to confirm the military's plans to track Mr. Claus -- also known as St. Nicholas -- this Christmas Eve, according to a statement
, NORAD is looking forward to tracking Santa, a tradition that began in 1955
Cotton, himself an Army veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, seized the opportunity to note the sacrifices made by military members and their families during the holidays.
"Well, I think it's a welcome reminder that, while most Americans are at home enjoying Christmas with their families, that our airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines, whether they're in NORAD or around the world are out there keeping us safe," Cotton said.
Those wishing to track Santa can do so here
starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Christmas Eve.