Lieutenant Gen. Christopher Coates, Royal Canadian Air Force, assumed the duties as the North American Aerospace Defense Command deputy commander during a transfer of command authority ceremony here today.
The ceremony was presided over by the Canadian Armed Forces Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Jonathan H. Vance and the Commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy.
Coates assumed command authority from the outgoing deputy commander, Lt. Gen. Pierre St-Amand who is retiring from the Royal Candian Air Force after 37 years of service.
Coates has extensive experience supporting NORAD operations. He has served as the director of the Combined Aerospace Operations Centre at 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region as well as the Deputy Commander for the Continental United States NORAD Region at Tyndall, Air Force Base, Florida. Most recently, he has served as the Director of Operations at NORAD headquarters, a position he has held for the last three years.
Coates is a Commander of the Order of Military Merit and is a graduate of the Canadian Forces College and U.S. Air Force Air War College.
Vance praised Coates for his outstanding service and commitment to NORAD and congratulated him on his promotion.
"It is my great honour and privilege to preside over the promotion and appointment of Lt. Gen. Coates,” said Vance. “Having worked with Christopher multiple times throughout his career in his role as NORAD Operations Director and as a Deputy Commander at Canadian Joint Operations Command, I know that he will continue the great work of his predecessor and that Canada will remain well represented in NORAD under his leadership."
O’Shaughnessy acknowledged Coates’ qualities and experience serving in multiple positions across NORAD.
"As my NORAD Director of Operations, Lt. Gen. Coates has been a strong and dedicated leader,” said O’Shaughnessy. “He is immensely qualified to assume duties as my NORAD Deputy, has my complete trust and confidence, and I look forward to his continued leadership to this important bi-national command.”
Coates expressed commitment to the command and the importance of continuing to build upon the strong partnership between the U.S. and Canada.
“I am both honoured and grateful to have been given the opportunity to continue NORAD’s mission as the Deputy Commander, and I look forward to continuing to build upon our strong bi-national partnership, which is essential in the defense of North America,” said Coates.
St-Amand thanked the men and women of both commands who serve every day to keep both homelands safe. He also thanked the Colorado Springs community.
"I have been privileged to spend the past three years here in Colorado Springs as the NORAD Deputy Commander,” said St-Amand. “I would like to thank the local community for being such gracious hosts to our Canadian members and their families. I have no doubt that Lt. Gen. Coates is the best choice to assume these duties, and I thank all the Canadian and American men and women for their tireless dedication to the mission of protecting North American airspace from any and all threats."
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.