USNORTHCOM, DHS refine relationship

By Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | April 10, 2008

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command plan to refine their existing intelligence relationship, said the top DHS intelligence official during a recent visit to USNORTHCOM headquarters.

“We have a number of areas where we’ve already agreed that we will begin new initiatives together, where we will do joint projects together, where we will do intelligence analysis together, where we will work to understand what NORTHCOM is doing in exercises and training,” said Charles Allen, the DHS undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis.

The intelligence divisions of DHS and USNORTHCOM are “extraordinarily compatible,” Allen said, and the organizations have the same goals.

“The combatant commander’s goals here, and my goals, and that of Secretary Chertoff, as the secretary of Homeland Security, are very simple: to keep the country safe, to keep the country from harm, to keep the country from damage.”

Strengthening the relationship between the DHS and USNORTHCOM intelligence offices will promote more efficient and effective information sharing, said Allen, and the American public benefits because the intelligence community at the federal level is working together in new and different ways.

“We have common objectives on the intelligence side: information sharing, which deals with secure borders, … with protecting the United States’ critical infrastructures [and] with trying to prevent dangerous materials from crossing our borders – chemical, radiological, nuclear, biological,” Allen said. “And we worry over extremism – global, violent extremism as represented by al-Qaida. And we also worry about the movement of large groups of people – migration trends and patterns.”

There are global elements, said Allen, that are not only trying to damage U.S. interests overseas, but also trying to strike the U.S. homeland.

“So we have to have a global understanding of what’s occurring,” he said. “Both [USNORTHCOM commander] Gen. Renuart and I have to understand the global picture so we can work together, along with our federal partners and our state and local partners, to keep the country safe.”

U.S. Northern Command was established on Oct. 1, 2002, to anticipate and conduct homeland defense and civil support operations within the assigned area of responsibility to defend, protect, and secure the United States and its interests.