June 28, 2013 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited NORAD and USNORTHCOM June 27 and 28, his first since his appointment as SECDEF in February.
Hagel’s two-day visit included tours of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command headquarters and the alternate command center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, troop talks at NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters and Fort Carson, and a session where he thanked military firefighters at Peterson Air Force Base for their contributions during this year’s busy wildfire season.
“I’m very proud of the kind of contributions our service people make to this community and others,” Hagel said outside Cheyenne Mountain AFS. “That’s who we are. That is part of our mission.”
Hagel noted the importance of Cheyenne Mountain and its role in the NORAD and USNORTHCOM mission.
“These facilities and the entire complex of NORAD and NORTHCOM represent the nerve center of defense for North America,” he said.
Hagel took the opportunity to re-emphasize the Defense Department’s dedication to its members, saying that an organization’s success or failure depends on the quality of its people. “The people are the core of any institution,” he said. “And it doesn’t really matter how much money you have in the budget or how much technology you have. If you don’t have the right people, you don’t have much. The quality of our people, the character of our people, has always been central to the defense and security of this country, and I’m very proud.”