Nov. 6, 2006 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -Senior non-commissioned officers from 10 nations gathered at the headquarters of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command today as part of a Foreign Joint Services NCO Association conference designed to share insights into NORAD and USNORTHCOM operations and how NCOs in the U.S. military operate.
Sgt. Maj. D. Scott Frye, NORAD and USNORTHCOM senior enlisted advisor, hosted the conference, which ends Tuesday. Frye said the FJSNA fosters cooperation and understanding between other nations’ services and U.S. armed forces.
“They can gain a better understanding of who we are, how we do business as a military and how we can all be better partners as professional military practitioners,” Frye said.
Guests were given a basic overview of NORAD and USNORTHCOM followed by an operations brief from each command. Following the briefings, visitors toured the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Command Center, which demonstrated the breadth and focus of operations at the commands.
Learning how USNORTHCOM is working to improve disaster relief and consequence management operations was a focus of the conference.
“Each of us, in our own countries, is facing the same challenges today,” Frye said. “Each of us is trying to figure out how we can better defend our people on our own home soil from the type of rogue terrorist threats that exist today.
“They’re very interested in how we do that here,” he said.
Master Chief Petty Officer Andre Moeller, president of FJSNA, said the camaraderie built during such conferences is the most important part of the visit.
“Building these relationships between NCOs from different nations, that’s the main focus of coming here,” said the German navy sailor. “And to learn something for ourselves. I might tell my boss ‘I heard something at USNORTHCOM that might work for us,’ … maybe we change something at home.”
Moeller said viewing the way the United States military participates in homeland defense and disaster relief is helpful, especially since, according to German law, the military is not allowed to operate within the nation’s borders.
“We are working to change our constitution now, so that we may (conduct homeland defense and disaster relief operations),” he said. “We are getting a good picture of what you are doing over here, and there might be some good ideas that we could bring into our process of changing laws in Germany.”
Moeller said that he did not fully understand the scope of the NORAD and USNORTHCOM commands before his visit. “It’s much more important than I thought,” he said. “What you don’t see, you don’t get in to your mind. (It is good) to actually see what USNORTHCOM is doing. I never thought of all these operations that they (USNORTHCOM) are in charge of.
Moeller was sure to reiterate the connection between NCOs in service of the nations involved, and how involved American NCOs are in every level of their commands.
“This is always pretty amazing to (NCOs from) different nations that you see how much the NCOs are involved in every part of a command like this,” Moeller said.
The conference was designed to send attendees away with a clear picture of NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s responsibilities and daily operations, and the contributions of the commands to homeland defense and the Global War on Terrorism.
“We’re proud of who we are and what we do,” Frye said. “We also really embrace every opportunity we can to reach out to friendly nations and know more about each other.”