U.S., Canada strengthen NORAD agreement
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – With an exchange of diplomatic papers between the United States and Canada on May 12, the North American Aerospace Defense Command Agreement was renewed with two new items to strengthen this unique bi-national pact.
A maritime warning mission was added, and the agreement was renewed on a permanent basis. The agreement is, however, subject to review at least every four years or at the request of either country.
“NORAD remains flexible and capable of responding to evolving threats in a new security environment,” said Adm. Timothy J. Keating, Commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “NORAD’s mission will provide our nations with a more complete picture of the approaches to North America and its internal waterways, such as the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.”
Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD has adapted to the new threat environment by increasing its operational readiness and ability to respond to threats from both outside and inside North America. NORAD has responded to more than 2,100 air events and flown more than 42,000 sorties since 9/11.
“The decision to strengthen NORAD and renew the agreement without an expiration date demonstrates the long-term commitment the United States and Canada have made to the defense of North America,” said Lieutenant-General Rick Findley, NORAD deputy commander. “It is an endorsement of the success we have achieved working side-by-side for the past 48 years, and shows the confidence that our nations have in the men and women of NORAD.”
The next steps following the renewal of the agreement will be defining the terms of the new mission and how NORAD will work with its partner commands and other agencies to develop a comprehensive, global picture of maritime approaches to and within North America and providing that information to those who need it. Responding to maritime threats will remain the responsibility of U.S. Northern Command and Canada Command.
The NORAD agreement was first signed by the governments of Canada and the United States on May 12, 1958, and has been renewed for varying periods since that time. Although there have been nine previous renewals since 1958, the basic text of the agreement has been revised substantially only four times – in 1975, 1981, 1996 and now, in 2006.