May 15, 2009 —
Secretary of Homeland Defense Janet Napolitano, visited North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command yesterday to receive briefings and discuss the current status and future goals of both organizations with General Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM.
Napolitano provided unique insights into the new administration’s disaster preparation and consequence management requirements, as well as the overall direction of Homeland Security programs and initiatives.
According to Renuart, this was a key opportunity to reinforce efforts to communicate, plan, share information and collaborate, especially for the 2009 hurricane season.
Specifically, Renuart said that "we were able to give Secretary Napolitano a good dose of NORAD and USNORTHCOM in terms of day-to-day operations, the kinds of things we’ve been involved in really in partnership with (DHS) over the last year." Renuart said that lessons learned from wildfire fighting and hurricanes and issues like defense of the homeland, air sovereignty and missile defense were topics for discussion.
“For us this was really an opportunity to share a great relationship that our two commands have (with DHS),” said General Renuart.
When asked about the relationship DHS and NORAD and USNORTHCOM have Napolitano responded, “I think that DHS has a very strong relationship with (NORAD and) NORTHCOM and we want to build on that. One of the ways you do that is you get to know the people that run the various operations and offices so one of the advantages of a site visit is to put faces with names, so in that respect this has been a very productive day.”
NORAD is the bi-national command responsible for aerospace defense and maritime warning for North America.
Formed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, USNORTHCOM is the command responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities when requested and authorized by the Secretary of Defense or the President.