Protecting the Homeland: Featuring ADM William Gortney

On Wednesday, October 7, the Atlantic Council hosted Admiral William Gortney, Commander, North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command, for the event, “Protecting the Homeland.” The New York Times’ National Security Correspondent, Eric Schmitt, moderated a public discussion following Admiral Gortney’s public remarks.

Charged with providing aerospace warning and control for North America, NORAD’s mission is to ensure the sovereignty and defense of the air space of Canada and the United States, and US Northern Command’s mission is to provide command and control of Department of Defense homeland security efforts. Admiral Gortney’s comments focused on the evolving national security challenges he faces in his leadership of these two organizations.

While expressing strong confidence in NORAD’s ongoing ability to detect and address air threats to the United States, Admiral Gortney acknowledged that an increasingly unstable world order has forced the military to respond to new and evolving challenges. He focused in particular on Russia’s increasingly brazen fly by missions near US air space, the uncertainty posed by an unstable and chaotic North Korean regime, and how transnational organizations in the Middle East and beyond have made the world a decidedly more complicated arena than it was during the Cold War. The task for the United States, he said, will be to continue developing constructive ties with partners and allies around the world to address and neutralize common threats.