The U.S. Air Force released this week its strategy for defending the United States and Canada from threats posed by Russia but also China and other adversaries as beefing up continental defences increasingly takes the centre stage in relations between Ottawa and Washington.
The strategy covers two separate but highly interlinked commands: the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), a binational U.S.-Canada command, and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
NORAD is responsible for three missions in defence of the U.S. and Canada: aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning.
USNORTHCOM is the U.S. geographic combatant command responsible for defence of the U.S. territory. U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck commands both USNORTHCOM and NORAD. Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier is NORAD’s deputy commander.
“Over the last three decades, our nations’ competitors and potential adversaries have watched Canada and the United States and our way of deterring, competing, and conducting war,” the strategy reads.
“They have adapted and developed advanced capabilities in all domains challenging us at home and across the competition continuum, and holding at risk our people, our critical infrastructure, and our power projection capabilities.”
The ability by the U.S. and Canada to field a “capable and persistent defence at home” is a prerequisite to deterring future conflict, the strategy says.
“Our ability to deter in competition, de-escalate in crisis, and deny and defeat in conflict requires all-domain awareness, information dominance, and decision superiority,” the strategy reads.
“We must improve critical infrastructure resiliency, strengthen partnerships, and provide rapid
flexible options and decision space in support of civil authorities.”