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NORAD Commander Completes First Visit to Canada – Warns Canadian Officials About Hypersonic Missiles Threat

General Glen VanHerck, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command, visited National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, on November 29 and 30.

During this first visit to Canada as the commander of NORAD, and while in Ottawa, General VanHerck met with the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, Ms. Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence, General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, and other senior military and civilian defence officials. Discussions focused on the strong Canadian-American defence partnership and current efforts to strengthen continental defence and modernize NORAD – a key component of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. Discussions also addressed the evolving nature of current and future conflicts, the strategic importance of the Arctic, and the technological advances being developed to assist in all-domain awareness and decision-making processes.

General VanHerck’s visit coincided with increasing fears about the development and deployment of hypersonic weapons by Russia and China which are capable of striking North America. General VanHerck warned Canada’s top officials and military leaders about the threat hypersonic missile technology poses to North American security. While the U.S. missile defence review is evaluating hypersonic missile technology, Canada is not conducting a similar review and hasn’t laid out a clear position. VanHerck said his priority is to build a defence system that will provide officials with enough time to detect a threat and decide the appropriate response.

“Collaboration between Canada and the United States through NORAD is a powerful example of the unique defence relationship between our nations. With increased competition in the global security environment, we must remain vigilant and ready to protect North America. NORAD is the long-standing cornerstone of the defence relationship between Canada and the United States. Our two countries will continue to work closely together to keep our continent safe.” – The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“The relationship we share with our American allies through NORAD is unique, and it was a pleasure to welcome General VanHerck in his first visit to Canada as Commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. Given our increasingly volatile world, the strong partnership we share between the United States and Canada, including a common vision for the future, NORAD is critical to ensuring the defence of North America.” – General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff

“The United States and Canada have a long and shared defence history exemplified by NORAD which I am honored to lead. With competitors now capable of striking discrete military targets and critical infrastructure in both Canada and the United States, the need for continued collaboration and support is key to the ongoing success of NORAD and the security of North America. The discussions between General Eyre and myself, as well as with the other civilian and military leaders with whom I met, assure a common perspective on continental defence, now, and in the future.” – General Glen VanHerck, Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command



• The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a bi-national military command responsible for providing aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for the defence of North America. The NORAD Commander is appointed by and responsible to the heads of government of both Canada and the United States.

• Through outstanding bi-national cooperation, NORAD has supported the defence of North America since 1958, and has evolved to meet changing threats to the continent. NORAD continues to play an important role in the defence of Canada and the United States.

• In addition to supporting NORAD operations, Canadian Armed Forces personnel are posted to NORAD headquarters at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and at other various locations across Canada and the United States. This close cooperation has created unprecedented interoperability between the two countries.

• Canada provides fighter aircraft on alert status to NORAD during normal operations, maintains and operates the Canadian portion of the North Warning System, and operates three forward operating locations in Inuvik, Iqaluit, and Yellowknife to support fighter operations in the North.

• NORAD employs a layered defence network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response.

• NORAD is focused on the defence of both the United States and Canada. NORAD’s response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations, and draws on forces from both countries as required.

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