NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM CC visits 1st Air Force
By Mary McHale , 1st Air Force
/ Published August 02, 2018
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The new commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command addressed an audience from the 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) – Continental U.S. NORAD Region enterprise at an all call during a visit Aug. 1-2, emphasizing the critical importance of the homeland-defense mission – when there’s often only seconds to seek solutions.
“America is counting on us,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaugnessy. “Homeland defense is our sacred, number one, no-fail mission. Catastrophic events will happen but how we respond – when we only have seconds, not minutes -- is more important than the event itself.”
The general, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot who flew 168 of his 3,000 flying hours in combat, is an aeronautical engineering distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy. Previous assignments have included all levels of command with assignments around the world. Immediately prior to this command, he was commander of Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base, HI.
“It’s both a great opportunity and an honor to be charged with the defense of our homeland, the very land we’re from and where our families live,” he said. “North America is no longer a sanctuary, now we have to be prepared to fight the fight here.”
O’Shaughnessy said watching the 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) – CONR team execute that preparation is a great source of pride, particularly when it comes to the people within the organization.
“You are the most important asset we have, it’s an absolute treat to come here and see you in action.”
Additionally, the general stressed the intrinsic value existing interagency partnerships -- with the FAA, Secret Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency -- brings to the 1 AF (AFNORTH) – CONR mission set.
“I found this team is all about working together to find the solution instead of admiring the problem, and I’m looking forward to tough, realistic training with our federal, state and local partners as we go forward together,” he said.
And while he expressed his thanks and admiration, he also made his own priorities clear as he encouraged audience members to constantly strive further. He likened daily enterprise activities to a pilot debrief -- no matter how well a pilot thinks the assigned mission went, there’s always room for improvement.
He said it was “phenomenal” to see this team analyze the significant events of the last year, poring over details, looking for opportunities to optimize efforts.
As the general pointed out, “When we incorporate lessons learned, we make the entire team better. You can’t turn on excellence game day, it has to be there every day.”
In addition to sharing his priorities, O’Shaughnessy also took time to recognize some top performers in the organization. Called up to the stage to receive a recognition coin from the general were: Lt. Col. Michele Boyko, AFNORTH Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, for her outstanding efforts during the 2017 hurricane season; Lt. Col. Anthony Braun, 1st Air Force Strategy, Policy and Plans Division, for his invaluable air-defense planning expertise; Tech. Sgt. Lali Brown, 101st Air Communications Squadron, for her stellar oversight of emerging technical requirements; and Jeffrey Brandenburg, Surgeon General’s office, for his outstanding technical advice and planning expertise in medical plans and logistics.