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New commander arrives at EADS

  • Published
  • By Tim Jones
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector
Col. Michael J. Norton became the commander of the Eastern Air Defense Sector today during an assumption of command ceremony at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Norton took command before a crowd of 150 family, friends and fellow Air National Guard members. The ceremony was presided over by Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, Commander of Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region - 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern).

"It's an honor to take command of a unit that plays such an important role in the daily defense of more than 180 million Americans and I am humbled by the responsibility," Norton said. "EADS is known for its operational excellence and I look forward to working with our outstanding Airmen and officers to meet the many challenges that lay ahead."

A NORAD sector headquarters, EADS is manned by New York Air National Guardsmen, a Canadian Forces detachment and liaison officers from the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard. Responsible for the air defense of 1 million square miles east of the Mississippi River, the unit reports to CONR- 1AF (AFNORTH), which is located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Norton graduated from Duke University in 1990, where he earned a B.A. in political science and was the Air Force ROTC Distinguished Graduate. An F-16 pilot, Norton underwent his initial training at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. For the next 14 years, he served as a combat mission-ready pilot, mission commander and instructor. Norton has flown over 300 combat hours in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Allied Force, Southern Watch and Northern Watch. He also served as the operational planner for the air campaign that initiated Iraqi Freedom and in several staff positions.

Prior to assuming command at EADS, Norton was Chief, National Guard Bureau (NGB) International Affairs Division, Strategic Plans, Policy and International Affairs Directorate in Washington, D.C. Responsible for the development and management of National Guard security cooperation programs, including the State Partnership Program, he led cooperative efforts with partner nation military forces, interagency partners and non-governmental organizations at the federal, state and local levels.

Norton came to the International Affairs post after serving as Chief of the Programs Division in the Air National Guard Plans and Programs Directorate. In this capacity, he represented the Air National Guard in Air Force and Department of Defense strategic programming and planning. Responsible for the annual preparation and defense of the $50 billion Future Years Defense Program, Norton provided critical strategic and operational advice to Defense Department and Congressional decision-makers about Air National Guard capabilities and organizations.

A graduate of the Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College, Norton holds a master's degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Norton's awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.