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U.S., Canadian Officials Celebrate NORAD’s 55th Anniversary

By Special to American Forces Press Service
North American Aerospace Defense Command

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., May 9, 2013 – North American Aerospace Defense Command celebrated its 55th anniversary in its headquarters here today. NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada and the United States.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
North American Aerospace Defense Command leadership and members of the Canadian government cut the NORAD 55th anniversary cake during a ceremony at the command's headquarters here May 9, 2013, on Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The celebration featured brief remarks by Army Gen. Chuck Jacoby, commander of both NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, and James Bezan, chairman of Canada’s Standing Committee on National Defence.

“What a testament to two great nations deciding together to go after common security issues in a unified manner as an example to our people and really an example to the world,” Jacoby said to the gathering of NORAD personnel. “It’s quite remarkable, quite a special relationship. And at the heart and soul of it are all of you who work so hard together, shoulder to shoulder, and the complete trust and confidence in each other and how we do business.”

Bezan said NORAD’s successes over the last 55 years can be attributed to the servicemembers and civilians who work in the commands.

“This anniversary is an occasion to reflect on the history of the command and to recognize its evolution in response to new and changing threats and emerging technologies,” said Bezan. “The success of NORAD is directly attributable to the thousands of American and Canadian men and women who have dedicated themselves to the defense of North America over the last 55 years. On this day, we celebrate not only the anniversary of this historic agreement, but the work that you all do each and every day.”

The ceremony included a traditional cake cutting ceremony carried out by Jacoby, Bezan, Canadian Lt. Gen. Alain Parent, NORAD Deputy Commander, Jack Harris, vice chair of the Canadian committee and Marcy Grossman, Consul General of Canada, in Denver.  NORAD personnel and members of the Canadian Parliament Standing Committee on National Defence were also on hand for the event.

Although not at the ceremony, Peter MacKay, Canadian Minister of National Defence released a statement congratulating NORAD on its anniversary and highlighting the important role it plays in the defense of both nations.

“In the future, NORAD will continue to play an important role in the defense of North America, adapting to new challenges and acting as a clear deterrent to any aggressor,” MacKay said. “Despite 55 years of successful operation, NORAD continuously seeks innovative ways to better protect Canadians and Americans.”

The United States and Canada signed the agreement creating NORAD on May 12, 1958.  That agreement was last updated in 2006 when the maritime warning mission was added to the command’s responsibilities. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Armed Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Contact Author

Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr.

Related Sites:
Special Report: Northcom/NORAD

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