|17 November 2012
NORAD Headquarters and NORTHCOM Headquarters
North American Aerospace Defense Command
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and
Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning
and aerospace control for North America. Aerospace warning includes the
monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and
warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or
space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.
Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the
airspace of Canada and the United States. The renewal of the NORAD Agreement
in May 2006 added a maritime warning mission, which entails a shared awareness
and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime
approaches, maritime areas and internal waterways. ...
The Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) conducts airspace control within its area
of operations and contributes to NORAD's aerospace warning mission. With
its headquarters located at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, ANR provides
an ongoing capability to detect, validate, and warn of any aircraft and/or
cruise missile threat in its area of operations that could threaten North
American security. ANR is supported by both active duty and Air National
Guard units. Both 11th AF and the Canadian Forces provide active duty forces
to the Alaskan Air and Space Operations Center. National Guard forces provide
manning for the Alaskan Air Defense Sector to maintain continuous surveillance
of Alaskan airspace with Alaskan Radar System long and short-range radars.
The Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) is headquartered with the 1 Canadian Air
Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANR executes a variety of tasks to defend
Canadian airspace, including identifying and tracking all aircraft entering
Canadian airspace, exercising operational command and control of all air
defense forces in CANR and operations in support of other government departments
and agencies. The 1 Canadian Air Division is responsible for providing CANR
with combat-ready air forces to meet Canadas commitment to the defense
of North America and maintain the sovereignty of North American airspace.
CANR CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft are on continuous alert to respond to
any potential aerial threat to the safety of Canada and Canadians.
The Continental NORAD Region (CONR) provides airspace surveillance and control
and directs air sovereignty activities for the continental United States
(CONUS). Co-located with Headquarters First Air Force at Tyndall Air Force
Base, Florida, a Combined Air Operations Center coordinates CONR sector
activities and executes the NORAD air sovereignty mission for the continental
United States. CONR plans, conducts, controls, and coordinates all Air Force
forces for the Commander of NORAD. The best of the US Air Force and Air National
Guard fighter inventory, the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor,
fly as CONRs primary weapons systems. CONR is presently divided into
two defense sectors: the Western Defense Sector, with its headquarters located
at McChord Air Force Base, Washington; and the Eastern Defense Sector, with
its headquarters located at Rome, New York. Within CONR is the National Capital
Region (NCR) in the Washington DC area, which is protected by the NCR Integrated
Air Defense System (NCR IADS) consisting of a system of radars, cameras,
visual warning system, alert aircraft and Army air defense artillery assets.
U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) was established Oct. 1, 2002 to provide
command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts
and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM defends
America's homeland protecting our people, national power, and freedom
USNORTHCOMs specific mission:
USNORTHCOM partners to conduct homeland defense, civil support and security
cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests.
USNORTHCOMs AOR includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses
the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding
water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It also includes the Gulf
of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, portions of the Caribbean region to include
The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The commander of
USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada, Mexico,
and The Bahamas.
USNORTHCOM consolidates under a single unified command existing missions
that were previously executed by other DOD organizations. This provides unity
of command, which is critical to mission accomplishment.
USNORTHCOM plans, organizes and executes homeland defense and civil support
missions, but has few permanently assigned forces. The command is assigned
forces whenever necessary to execute missions, as ordered by the president
or secretary of defense.
Civil service employees and uniformed members representing all service branches
work at USNORTHCOMs headquarters located at Peterson Air Force Base
in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The commander of USNORTHCOM also commands the North American Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD), a bi-national command responsible for aerospace warning,
aerospace control, and maritime warning for Canada, Alaska and the continental
USNORTHCOMs civil support mission includes domestic disaster relief
operations that occur during fires, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Support
also includes counter-drug operations and managing the consequences of a
terrorist event employing a weapon of mass destruction. The command provides
assistance to a Primary Agency when tasked by DOD. Per the Posse Comitatus
Act, military forces can provide civil support, but cannot become directly
involved in law enforcement.
In providing civil support, USNORTHCOM generally operates through established
Joint Task Forces subordinate to the command. An emergency must exceed the
capabilities of local, state and federal agencies before USNORTHCOM becomes
involved. In most cases, support will be limited, localized and specific.
When the scope of the disaster is reduced to the point that the Primary Agency
can again assume full control and management without military assistance,
USNORTHCOM will exit, leaving the on-scene experts to finish the job.