NORAD, USNORTHCOM welcome new senior enlisted leader
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel R. Wood joined the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command team as command senior enlisted leader March 26.
As the top enlisted person in the commands, he is the principal advisor to the commander on all enlisted issues.
Before coming to Colorado, Wood served in Afghanistan as command senior enlisted leader for the Combined Forces Command there. Being in the frontlines of the Global War on Terror, he said, was the catalyst for him pursuing the position at NORAD and USNORTHCOM.
"Coming out of the combat zone, I'm painstakingly aware that the enemy exists," Wood said. "It's a globally interconnected ideology, terrorist network that is everywhere in the world, and it is here in the United States. To be a part of protecting the United States – the people of the United States within the borders of the United States – it's just honorable.
"The U.S. military is in approximately 200 countries throughout the world, deployed and doing great things everywhere. But, to me, the rubber meets the road right here."
Homeland defense is probably the most important area a military leader can be involved in today, Wood said. But he adds that defense efforts are working so well that much of the public has lost awareness of the ongoing battle against terrorism.
Wood is determined that the bottom-line mission of NORAD and USNORTHCOM – defending the homeland – should drive the staff in its work every day.
"There's a certain battle focus that we've got to maintain," Wood said. "We can't expect the civilian populace of the United States of America to think or remember that we're at war if we, wearing the uniform, don't think about it and realize it and recognize it."
Along with maintaining the battle focus of the commands, Wood is concentrating on the education of the enlisted force.
"What we're doing here in this command is of the utmost importance and criticality in the future of our nation," Wood said. "So we, as the enlisted force in NORAD and USNORTHCOM, need to commit ourselves to getting better educated, understanding the mission more, being more operationally savvy and, therefore, having value added to whatever directorate we happen to work in."
Wood has been in the Army for almost 26 years and has been a noncommissioned officer since completing basic training. All the leadership positions he's held through the years, he said, have helped prepare him for his current assignment at NORAD and USNORTHCOM.
"I've always led warriors and trained them. I mean, it's been my life," he said. "Whether I was an instructor in the Ranger course or a squad leader or platoon sergeant in an infantry unit somewhere, I've always been able to look at mission and intent, figure out what the critical part was – the critical role that my element would play in that – and then plan how I was going to attack that situation."