Canada and the United States have long benefited from the protection afforded by North American geography. However, growing strategic competition, rapid advancements in technology, and ongoing changes in world climate are eroding that protection, including by exposing North America to a greater and more complex conventional missile threat. As an integral part of ongoing work to strengthen the security and defense of Canada and the United States, they reaffirm theirs commitment to supporting NORAD’s ability to detect, deter, and defend against aerospace threats and to detect maritime threats to North America.
U.S. and Canadian military officials have decided to join forces to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to protect the continent of North America from complex conventional missile threats. The Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd James Austin III and The Minister of National Defence of Canada, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan approve this Joint Statement to guide cooperation between Canada and the United States to enhance the ability of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to execute the missions outlined in the NORAD Agreement while facing evolving threats.
The modernization will prioritize new investments to better Situational awareness in the northern and maritime approaches to the continent. The two neighbors share a desire to coordinate in fielding new capabilities to complement and eventually replace the North Warning System with more advanced technological solutions as soon as possible, including next-generation over-the-horizon radar systems that can improve early warning and persistent surveillance of North American airspace and approaches. Ensuring effective awareness ultimately requires a system-of-systems approach including a network of Canadian and U.S. sensors from the sea floor to outer space.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), known until March 1981 as the North American Air Defense Command, is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for Northern America. Headquarters for NORAD and the NORAD/United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) center are located at Peterson Space Force Base in El Paso County, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The nearby Cheyenne Mountain Complex has the Alternate Command Center. The NORAD commander and deputy commander (CINCNORAD) are, respectively, a United States four-star general or equivalent and a Canadian three-star general or equivalent.