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Eberhart Tabbed to Head U.S. Northern Command

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2002 – The commander of the U.S. military's space and continental air defense assets has been chosen to lead the nation's premier military homeland defense organization.

Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart has been nominated by President Bush to command the soon-to-be established U.S. Northern Command, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today in a Pentagon news briefing. The nomination requires U.S. Senate confirmation, DoD officials noted.

Northern Command will take the homeland security missions being performed by various combatant commanders and put them under a single command, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted April 18 at a Pentagon press briefing.

If approved, the new organization is slated for activation Oct. 1 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo., as part of changes to DoD's Unified Command Plan announced April 17.

Eberhart currently wears three hats as the commander in chief of both U.S. Space Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command and as Defense Department manager for Space Transportation Systems Contingency Support, all at Peterson. He has served as head of Space Command since Feb. 22, 2000.

A command pilot, Eberhart flew 300 combat missions in Vietnam. Other assignments during his career include tours as Air Force vice chief of staff; commander, Air Force Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.; and commander of the 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan. He is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs.

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