Northern Command Established in Colorado
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGON, Oct. 2, 2002 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called the activation of U.S. Northern Command "historic" and said the new command is charged with "the momentous responsibility to help deter and defend against attacks on America's home soil."
Wolfowitz and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard Myers participated in the command's activation ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart is the commander of the new combatant command.
At the same time, Myers helped "case" the colors of U.S. Space Command. Some of the functions that unified command performed have merged with U.S. Strategic Command based at Offutt AFB, Neb.
Wolfowitz said the new command will focus aerospace, land and sea defenses, and provide critical support for U.S. civil authorities in times of national need. "In standing up Northern Command, we are effecting a real transformation a transformation that will leave us better organized, better trained, and better prepared to meet the security environment that will define the 21st Century," he said.
The deputy secretary said that Sept. 11th has taken its place alongside Dec. 7th as a date that will live in infamy. But both events have their lessons for the United States. "The larger lesson we may draw from these attacks remains unchanged and clear: we must be prepared for surprise from wherever it may appear and however it may threaten," he said.
The United States must now be prepared for attacks on the United States and its people. The new command will help plan for these contingencies.
During World War II, Wolfowitz said, the term "home front" dealt with U.S. citizens who worked to build the equipment and supplies for U.S. forces and their allies to fight overseas. The home front today is an actual battlefield, he said. While U.S. forces will continue to defend the United States in places like Afghanistan, other forces must concentrate on preventing more attacks from being launched against the United States.
Wolfowitz said the men and women of the new command have a big job ahead of them, but that they are up to the challenge. "There is no question that each one of you here will help shape America's future," he said. "Each one of you here will help America and her allies win this war. And let there be no doubt we will win this war."