|U.S. Northern Command Activate|
U.S. Northern Command Activates
Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado -- (AFPN) October 2, 2002 -- Homeland Defense has a new champion: U.S. Northern Command.
The nation's newest unified command was activated Oct. 1 and is commanded by Air Force Gen. Ralph "Ed" Eberhart.
"We must be prepared for attacks on our territory and our people," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. "The fundamental way we will remain prepared for uncertainty is through the commitment of the men and women of Northern Command, who today shoulder a great responsibility on behalf of our nation."
USNORTHCOM is different from the U.S. military commands operating in other regions of the world in that its area of responsibility is North America.
USNORTHCOM's area of responsibility will include air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding waters out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It will also include the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The defense of Hawaii and U.S. territories in the Pacific will remain the responsibility of U.S. Pacific Command.
"First and foremost this is a command that will focus on the defense of this great nation and this area of responsibility, day in and day out," said Eberhart.
USNORTHCOM's mission is to conduct operations to deter, prevent and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories, and interests within the assigned area of responsibility and, as directed by the president or secretary of defense, provide military assistance to civil authorities including consequence management operations.
Even so, USNORTHCOM is only one part of a multilayered federal, state and local effort to defend the nation.
"The command will coordinate, liaison and communicate with all federal agencies and local responders that have an interest in the homeland security of this great nation," Eberhart said. "We are going to share information, harness technology and breakdown cultural barriers to make sure we can do what the citizens of this great nation expect and deserve. That is to protect them and their families."
Even though he is now the combatant commander of USNORTHCOM, Eberhart will continue in his other role as commander in chief for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a position he has held since February 2000. The headquarters of both USNORTHCOM and NORAD are located here.