NORAD Deputy visits CONR, makes a Mess

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The highest-ranking Canadian officer serving in the United States visited the Continental US NORAD Region here Apr. 25 to discuss the North American Aerospace Defense Command mission and indulge in some Canadian camraderie.

During his visit, Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Alain Parent, NORAD's deputy commander, met with the Operations Directorate to discuss the CONR role performing Aerospace Control Alert. He was also the guest of honor at the annual Canadian Mess Dinner.

While at the dinner, he gave a very informative and well-received speech about the contributions of the RCAF over the past 20 years throughout the world with emphasis on his country's role in NORAD.

"The NORAD agreement, signed in 1958, is the only agreement in the world where we have two countries so confident in their sovereignties that they decided to share aerospace warning and control, and maritime warning responsibilities," he said. "This bi-national agreement has integrated air defense for our two countries and is really a model for other countries to emulate."

The general went on to discuss the peculiarities that make CONR unique.

"While we have three regions (Alaskan, Canadian, and Continental US) to do the aerospace warning and control mission, CONR is particularly key with Operation Noble Eagle," he said. "Prior to 9-11 NORAD was focused on watching for threats coming from outside our borders. After those events we expanded our systems to also look inwards and CONR stands the watch, ensuring there are fighters ready for the asymmetric threat to deter, detect, and if needed, defend the citizens of the United States."

He also noted CONR's force make-up is unfamiliar to many members.

"Unlike other commands where you do things bi-laterally using exchange or liaison officers, since NORAD is bi-national Canadian military members are fully integrated into the overall architecture of the command," he said. "We are one North American team and it is important that members of both nations be represented. Members of both nations are fully interchangeable at their respective commands."

Parent concluded his remarks with thoughts on the mission.

"I'm very proud to serve as the NORAD Deputy Commander. It is an organization that is now a respected brand recognized world-wide," he concluded. "No matter the issues between the two countries, NORAD always survives and evolves to become stronger because the security of our people cannot be jeopardized. NORAD is on the watch to ensure they are, and remain, safe."