Keystone participants visit NORAD, USNORTHCOM

By Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Juatai | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | February 18, 2009

Senior enlisted leaders from all U.S. military services, the U.S. Coast Guard and one member of the Canadian Forces visited North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command on Feb. 10 as part of the Keystone course.

Keystone is designed for Command Senior Enlisted Leaders currently serving in, or slated to serve in, a joint or service headquarters that could be assigned as a Joint Task Force. 

KEYSTONE is focused on bringing “those that do” to Combatant Commands, Joint Task Forces and senior leadership (both officer and enlisted) to explore the relationships and challenges of operating in a joint environment.  Specifically, the course covers the relationship between the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of a Joint Force Commander and the enlisted personnel from all the services operating under the commander.

According to Command Master Chief Wayne North of the 13th Coast Guard District, the NORAD and USNORTHCOM visit provides a great opportunity for him to understand how the Coast Guard interacts with the commands.

“I’ve got a better understanding of NORAD and NORTHCOM and how they interrelate with each other,” said North. “More importantly, [I learned], as a Coast Guardsman, how we relate within NORAD and NORTHCOM and how our missions overlap almost on a daily basis with (the commands’).”

“Too often, we focus on what ‘our service’ is,” Cmd. Sgt. Maj. George Shine of the 4th Marine Division said. “(Keystone) gives us a broader picture of what we represent as the military as a whole.”

The NORAD and USNORTHCOM portions of Keystone allowed leaders to learn more about the commands, but also to continue to build on relationships that could be useful later in a service members’ career, according to Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, Deputy Commander of USNORTHCOM, who gave the course introduction to the group.

Blum explained that the relationships built as these leaders tour various commands during Keystone allows them to form a network of leaders, giving them resources to draw upon outside the potentially narrow lanes of an individual command or region.

“About three years from now, you’ll say, ‘that was invaluable,’” Blum said. 

The Keystone course occurs twice a year and is designed to give senior enlisted leadership from all services a broader picture of joint and service-level operations throughout the world.

NORAD is the bi-national U.S. and Canadian command responsible for aerospace warning and control as well as maritime warning for North America.

USNORTHCOM is the combatant command responsible for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities when requested and directed.