Vision statement makes NORAD's vital role clear
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "Providing comprehensive, integrated aerospace defense of North America."
This is the new vision statement of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, as recently unveiled by NORAD Commander Adm. Timothy J. Keating. He also presented the command's core responsibilities and principal means to fulfill those responsibilities -- providing the men and women under his leadership guidance as the command continues to serve as the nation's "eyes on the skies."
"Homeland defense is simply a mission that we cannot fail," Keating said. "Americans and Canadians are counting on us to defend our homelands ... and our new vision statement serves as a blueprint for us to carry out our vital mission."
The safety and security of North American airspace remains NORAD's prime mission, Keating said. The men and women of this bi-national military organization use ground-based and airborne radar, satellites, fighter aircraft, proven command structures and intelligence capabilities to enforce control in the skies over the continental United States, Alaska and Canada.
The admiral outlined three "core, non-negotiable responsibilities" NORAD must focus on to carry out its new vision.
First, NORAD must deter, detect and defeat all aerospace threats to North America.
"Our mission evolved Sept. 11, 2001," Keating said. "Prior to that day, NORAD's focus was almost exclusively fixed on threats coming toward the Canadian and American borders, not threats in our domestic airspace."
Second, NORAD must provide timely, accurate, integrated tactical warning and attack assessment. And third, the command must perform "superbly" in carrying out its Operation Noble Eagle missions, he said.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have scrambled or diverted more than 2,000 times in response to air events, and NORAD aircraft have flown more than 40,000 sorties in support of Operation Noble Eagle.
Keating outlined 10 "principal means" NORAD would implement to fulfill its responsibilities and implement the command vision.
-- Develop and advocate for capabilities to provide persistent, wide-area surveillance of the aerospace domain, respond in a timely manner to any air threat, provide integrated command and control, and precisely and decisively engage threats when necessary.
-- Maintain flexible, executable and regularly exercised plans for the aerospace defense of North America.
-- Be a model for binational cooperation in defense planning, execution, training, information management and technological innovation.
-- Improve teaming relationships with civilian and military organizations in the United States and Canada to ensure operations are well coordinated; develop a fully integrated operational picture.
-- Provide sound military advice to the U.S. and Canadian governments on aerospace warning and aerospace control issues affecting both nations.
-- Develop programs and processes to improve binational information sharing.
-- Consider the possible range of U.S. and Canadian military operations and develop insightful recommendations on what command structure -- binational, military-to-military, or unilateral -- will be most effective for accomplishing each mission.
-- Assist in the development of binational documents such as the NORAD Agreement and Basic Security Document, which defines the cooperation of the United States and Canada in the aerospace domain.
-- Communicate with the citizens of our nations; provide timely and accurate information about our roles and responsibilities.
-- Maintain a positive, bias-free work environment that takes care of people, maximizes their contributions, and encourages them to grow personally and professionally.
"The foundation has been laid," Keating said. "Now it's time for us to take the necessary steps to ensure we provide the 'comprehensive, integrated aerospace defense of North America' the vision statement boldly outlines."