Aug. 4, 2005 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – To defend America’s homeland. Simply put, that is why the United States Northern Command was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The command’s new vision statement, which was unveiled July 19 by its commander, Adm. Timothy J. Keating, takes to heart what he describes as the “most critical mission“ one can have – defending the homeland.
The statement reads: “United States Northern Command defends America’s homeland — protecting our people, national power, and freedom of action.”
“Fighting and winning the war on terrorism ... that’s our bottom line,” Keating said. “Protecting our homeland requires constant vigilance and more. Our mission demands flexibility, innovation, aggressiveness, and rock-solid readiness to act on a moment’s notice.”
Along with the vision, the admiral announced four “core, non-negotiable responsibilities” for USNORTHCOM, which center around the command’s motto: Deter … Prevent … Defeat … Mitigate.
According to the core responsibilities, USNORTHCOM must:
- Deter aggression and coercion against the United States and its interests.
- Prevent attacks on the nation by detecting and interdicting threats early and at the safest possible distance from the homeland, in cooperation with its international and interagency partners and other combatant commands.
- Defeat enemies rapidly and decisively within the United States Northern Command area of responsibility.
- Mitigate the effects of attacks or disasters by providing timely, effective support to civil authorities when directed.
Finally, the admiral’s vision outlines 10 principal means for USNORTHCOM to fulfill its responsibilities and implement the new vision.
- Maintain an operational focus at all times, sustaining 24/7 situational awareness and readiness to respond to threats and protect our homeland.
- Build and sustain relationships and advocate for the capabilities necessary to deter, detect, prevent, and defeat current and emerging threats in all domains.
- Maintain flexible, executable, and regularly exercised plans to defend the nation and provide civil support.
- Work at the leading edge of visionary, predictive intelligence fusion and analysis; stay ahead of adaptive, evolving threats and facilitate seamless information sharing with partner organizations.
- Help shape the Department of Defense’s efforts to synchronize national, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental efforts for homeland defense, homeland security, and civil support.
- Be a nationally and internationally recognized leader in homeland defense planning, execution, training, information management, and technological innovation; serve as an international model for military forces as they conduct operations in their homeland under civilian control.
- Engage nations and territories in our area of responsibility through an active theater security cooperation program that produces more effective and efficient continental defense and consequence management cooperation.
- Anticipate requests for civil support and provide required military capabilities at the right place and time.
- Communicate with the citizens of the land; provide timely and accurate information about USNORTHCOM’s 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.
“These are the principal means which will serve as a benchmark for us to determine our success,” Keating said. “We have been working these issues hard since the creation of USNORTHCOM, but we must not become complacent … we must strive to improve every day.”
Since its creation Oct. 1, 2002, USNORTHCOM has conducted operations to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories, and interests within the assigned area of responsibility; and as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provide defense support of civil authorities including consequence management operations.