ABOUT USNORTHCOM


Click here to view a chronology of U.S. Northern Command events: A Short History of USNORTHCOM (current as of March 2014).pdf

U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) was established Oct. 1, 2002 to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM defends America's homeland — protecting our people, national power, and freedom of action.

USNORTHCOM’s specific mission:

USNORTHCOM partners to conduct homeland defense, civil support and security cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests.

USNORTHCOM’s AOR includes air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It also includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, portions of the Caribbean region to include The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The commander of USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada, Mexico, and The Bahamas.

USNORTHCOM consolidates under a single unified command existing missions that were previously executed by other DOD organizations. This provides unity of command, which is critical to mission accomplishment.

USNORTHCOM plans, organizes and executes homeland defense and civil support missions, but has few permanently assigned forces. The command is assigned forces whenever necessary to execute missions, as ordered by the president or secretary of defense.

Civil service employees and uniformed members representing all service branches work at USNORTHCOM’s headquarters located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The commander of USNORTHCOM also commands the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national command responsible for aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for Canada, Alaska and the continental United States.

USNORTHCOM’s civil support mission includes domestic disaster relief operations that occur during fires, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Support also includes counter-drug operations and managing the consequences of a terrorist event employing a weapon of mass destruction. The command provides assistance to a Primary Agency when tasked by DOD. Per the Posse Comitatus Act, military forces can provide civil support, but cannot become directly involved in law enforcement.

In providing civil support, USNORTHCOM generally operates through established Joint Task Forces subordinate to the command. An emergency must exceed the capabilities of local, state and federal agencies before USNORTHCOM becomes involved. In most cases, support will be limited, localized and specific. When the scope of the disaster is reduced to the point that the Primary Agency can again assume full control and management without military assistance, USNORTHCOM will exit, leaving the on-scene experts to finish the job.

USNORTHCOM Units

U.S. Special Operations Command, North (Provisional Command)  U.S. Special Operations Command, North is a provisional command, also known as SOCNORTH. This new command was approved in December 2012 as a subordinate unified command under USNORTHCOM. SOCNORTH is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in 2014, and will enhance command and control of special operations forces throughout the NORTHCOM area of responsibility. SOCNORTH will also improve support to interagency counterterrorism operations.

U.S. Marine Forces Northern Command
Marine Forces North executes antiterrorism program and force protection responsibilities; plans for the use of USMC Forces and advises on the proper employment of USMC Forces; coordinates with and supports USMC Forces when attached to USNORTHCOM within USNORTHCOM'S area of responsibility in order to conduct homeland defense operations and provide defense support to civil authorities.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command/U.S. Navy North U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) is the Navy component (U.S. Navy North) of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the combatant command established Oct. 1, 2002 to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities.  Located at Norfolk, Virginia, USFF's mission is to provide maritime forces prepared to conduct homeland defense, civil support operations and theater security cooperation activities when directed by USNORTHCOM.  Additionally, USFF has responsibilities to generate ready Navy forces for assignment to global Regional Combatant Commanders, execute the Fleet Response Plan (FRP) using the Fleet Training Continuum, articulate to the Chief of Naval Operations the integrated Fleet warfighting requirements as coordinated with all Navy Component Commanders, and provide operational planning support to Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, and United States Strategic Command.

Air Forces Northern
With its headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base in the community of Panama City, Fla., First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) is one of three numbered air forces assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command.  It has sole responsibility for ensuring the aerospace control and air defense of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. First Air Force is also the designated air component for the U.S. Northern Command. USNORTHCOM's area of responsibility includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada and Mexico, and its air, land and maritime approaches.  As the USNORTHCOM air component, AFNORTH is the senior agency in the United States Theater Air Control System and is specifically responsible for the land areas of the continental United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the surrounding seas out to approximately 500 nautical miles. When tasked, it conducts homeland defense and Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations in the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility.

U.S. Army North
U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) is the Army component of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), the combatant command established Oct. 1, 2002 to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities.  Located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, ARNORTH’s mission is to conduct homeland defense, civil support operations and theater security cooperation activities. On order, U.S. Army North commands and controls deployed forces as a Joint Task Force or Joint Force Land Component Command. 

Joint Task Force North
Joint Task Force North (JTF North), based at Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, Texas, is the Department of Defense (DOD) organization tasked to support our nation’s federal law enforcement agencies in the interdiction of suspected transnational threats within and along the approaches to the continental United States. Transnational threats are those activities conducted by individuals or groups that involve international terrorism, narco-trafficking, alien smuggling, weapons of mass destruction, and the delivery systems for such weapons that threaten the national security of the United States.

Joint Task Force Civil Support
Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS), headquartered at Fort Eustis, Va., began operations Oct. 1, 1999. Originally formed as a standing joint task force under U.S. Joint Forces Command, JTF-CS was transferred to U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) when USNORTHCOM was established Oct. 1, 2002. USNORTHCOM is the combatant command established to provide command and control of Department of Defense (DOD) homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities.

Joint Task Force Alaska
Joint Task Force Alaska (JTF-AK), headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is a subordinate command of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). It is comprised of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Department of Defense (DOD) civilian specialists. JTF-AK’s mission is to, in coordination with other government agencies, deter, detect, prevent and defeat threats within the Alaska Joint Operations Area (AK JOA) in order to protect U.S. territory, citizens, and interests, and as directed, conduct Civil Support.

Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR), based at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. is responsible for land-based homeland defense, defense support of civil authorities (DSCA), and incident management in the National Capital Region.  JFHQ-NCR is responsible for protecting the District of Columbia and neighboring counties and cities of Maryland and Virginia, including Loudon, Fairfax and Prince William Counties in Virginia. JFHQ-NCR draws together the existing resources of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and NORAD into a single point headquarters for planning, coordination and execution of the mission in the National Capital Region.

USNORTHCOM History

USNORTHCOM Crest and Heraldry

USNORTHCOM Vision