Academics and military leaders discuss North American defence

News Article / February 6, 2018

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From NORAD/USNORTHCOM public affairs

More than 80 participants took part in the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command’s second annual two-day Academic Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The symposium, sponsored in conjunction with Canada’s Defence Engagement Program and the Royal Military College of Canada, was held December 4 and 5, 2017.

The event engaged a new generation of Canadian and American scholars in academic deliberation with their uniformed counterparts over matters such as the nuances of Canada and United States defence relations and policy, and NORAD’s functions and future transformation.

“While challenging us through the lens of academia….the academic community can help educate the public, through sessions like this, on the importance the role that NORAD and USNORTHCOM play in the defence of North America,” noted Lieutenant-General Reynold Hoover, the deputy commander of USNORTHCOM.

A number of senior leaders and mentors offered their reflections, including the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), General Lori Robinson; the Canadian deputy commander of NORAD, Lieutenant-General Pierre St-Amand; former NORAD and USNORTHCOM commanders, General (retired) Charles Jacoby and General (retired) Gene Renuart; former Canadian Chief of Defence Staff, General (retired) Tom Lawson; and the former commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant-General (retired) Stuart Beare.

During discussions the symposium participants focused their deliberations on the future evolution of NORAD, American and Canadian defence policy, new national and international security threats to North America, and the trilateral relationship among Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  

“I thought that the Academic Symposium was an excellent opportunity to interact with academics who bring a different perspective to the issues we face today,” remarked Canada’s Commodore Angus Topshee, NORAD and USNORTHCOM deputy director of strategy, policy and plans. ”Establishing closer links with the academic community is essential to building the knowledge that we will need, inside [the Department of National Defence]/government and in the broader public, to confront the complex security situation of the 21st century”.

Dr. Kathryn Fisher, associate professor of international security studies at the National Defense University, located in Washington, D.C., concluded that “to bridge the theoretical and practical application, there was great value in bringing together practitioners and researchers to discuss issues of transformation and the future evolution of NORAD…a great success”.  

NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

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