By Ian Graham
To say U.S. Air Force General Victor E. Renuart, Jr.,commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, has a pretty important job would be, well, a colossal understatement.
His responsibilities as head of NORTHCOM and NORAD (you may more familiar with them as abbreviations) include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.
- Domestic disaster relief operations that occur during fires, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Support also includes counter-drug operations and managing the consequences of a terrorist event employing a weapon of mass destruction.
- Ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States.
- Awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and inland waterways.
- Providing civil authorities with a potent military response capability to counter domestic airspace threats.
- Planning, organizing and executing homeland defense and civil support missions.
- Tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The area he watches? From NORTHCOM’s Web site: U.S. Northern Command’s area of responsibility includes “air, land and sea approaches and encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. It also includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and portions of the Caribbean region to include The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
And get this: he’s not just in charge of military operations.
Some 52 federal agencies have employees stationed in the NORTHCOM Command Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Depending on the issue at hand, he may work with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI, or the CIA.
In coming months, he’ll be working with his Canadian counterparts to provide security for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. He currently has people deployed to Haiti to assist U.S. Southern Command’s mission with Operation Unified Response.
If you haven’t gotten the point yet, the man has a lot on his shoulders. The Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service sat down with him today to discuss the many things his command does, and how they’re able to integrate so well with all of the organizations they work with.
Read the Defense.gov news article here.