Obama Taps Winnefeld to Head Northcom, NORAD
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2009 President Barack Obama has nominated Navy Vice Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr. to be the next commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
If approved by the Senate, Winnefeld would receive his fourth star. He currently is director of strategic plans and policy at the Joint Staff and senior member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Military Staff Committee.
Winnefeld would be the second sailor to command NORAD, the U.S.-Canadian command charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. He would succeed Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart Jr. in both jobs.
Both commands are based in Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. Northern Command stood up Oct. 1, 2002, to provide command and control of Defense Department homeland defense efforts and to coordinate defense support of civil authorities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
Winnefeld is an ROTC graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and has served as a naval aviator. He served with two fighter squadrons and as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School.
He commanded Fighter Squadron 211, the USS Cleveland and the USS Enterprise. He commanded the “Big E” during Sept. 11, 2001, and launched aircraft in support of Operation Enduring Freedom against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He commanded Carrier Strike Group 2/Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Before taking his current job, he served as the commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, NATO Allied Joint Command Lisbon and Striking and Support Forces NATO.
Renuart has commanded Northcom and NORAD since Oct. 1, 2007. He was commissioned in the Air Force in 1971, and served in the United States, Europe, Southwest Asia and the Pacific. Renuart served as the director of operations for U.S. Central Command during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was responsible for helping to plan and execute all joint and allied combat operations.
Renuart also served as the director of strategic plans and policy before serving as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.