Distant Early Warning (DEW) refers to the line of radar base
s in the Arctic
of North America
. With cooperation
from the United States
neighbors, the DEW Line was constructed in the 1950s
. The DEW Line was to be the first indication of air or nuclear missile
attack by the Soviet Union
over the North Pole
. The Distant Early Warning Line stretches from the far West
of the US state of Alaska
to the farthest East
. South of the DEW line is the Mid-Canada
line. Roughly along the United States
-Canada border is the Pinetree
System. All these warning systems are connected with the combined North American Air Defense Command
) headquarters at Ent Air Force Base
It is the Distant Early Warning Line that detects Santa Claus every Christmas eve, and relays that information to NORAD. Also, when your Army/Air Force commanding officer threatens to assign you to some God-forsaken base deep in the Alaskan tundra... this is where he wants to send you.
Distant Early Warning has become a cultural expression in all of America. It, of course, describes a warning of a grave and serious threat. So when you hear that phrase, you know it comes from the chain of radar bases in the far North.
PS- note the DEW Line references in the Rush lyrics.