US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)29
Headquarters: Peterson AFB, Colorado USNORTHCOM conducts homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests. Its AOR 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. The commander of USNORTHCOM is responsible for theater security cooperation with Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. USNORTHCOM plans, organizes and executes homeland defense and civil support missions, but has few permanently assigned forces. The command is assigned forces whenever necessary to execute missions, as ordered by the President or Secretary of Defense. The commander of USNORTHCOM also commands the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national command responsible for aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for Canada, Alaska, and the continental United States. USNORTHCOM’s civil support mission includes 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. The command provides assistance to a Primary Agency when tasked by DoD. Per the Posse Comitatus Act, military forces can provide civil support, but cannot become directly involved in law enforcement. In providing civil support, USNORTHCOM generally operates through established JTF’s subordinate to the command. An emergency must exceed the capabilities of local, state, and federal agencies before USNORTHCOM becomes involved. In most cases, support will be limited, localized, and specific. When the scope of the disaster is reduced to the point that the Primary Agency can again assume full control and management without military assistance, USNORTHCOM will exit, leaving the on-scene experts to finish the job.