USA — Pentagon Dedicates NORAD Corridor

WASHINGTON — The Defense Depart­ment today unveiled a cor­ri­dor in the Pen­ta­gon bedecked with pho­tos, quotes and his­tor­i­cal pas­sages cen­ter­ing on the foun­da­tion of the U.S.-Canadian defense rela­tion­ship: the North Amer­i­can Aero­space Defense Com­mand, bet­ter known as NORAD.

For more than half a cen­tu­ry, this bilat­er­al com­mand has been respon­si­ble for keep­ing the skies over the two coun­tries –- and, increas­ing­ly, the waters sur­round­ing them –- safe from a myr­i­ad of poten­tial ene­mies, from the Cold War Sovi­et threat to present-day ter­ror­ists.

“The chronol­o­gy brings you up through the cre­ation of NORAD and the adap­ta­tions made as our secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment has evolved through the decades,” Air Force Gen. Vic­tor E. Ren­uart said of the dozen chrono­log­i­cal­ly arranged glass pan­el palettes on which the his­to­ry of the com­mand is dis­played. “As the 20th com­man­der of NORAD, I’m proud to ded­i­cate this cor­ri­dor to the self­less ser­vice of the men and women of NORAD, past, present and future.”

The exhib­it depicts the command’s mis­sions in the air and space domains that began in 1957 — and the recent addi­tions of the mar­itime and mis­sile warn­ing sys­tems that bol­ster the command’s abil­i­ty to safe­guard North Amer­i­ca.

Speak­ing from a hall­way housed in a build­ing that hijack­ers struck less than a decade ago dur­ing the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks, Ren­uart under­scored the impor­tance of hav­ing a robust NORAD defense.

“The ongo­ing adap­ta­tion of NORAD’s mis­sion and capa­bil­i­ties to meet the chal­lenges posed by ever-chang­ing threats tes­ti­fies to the strength of the NORAD agree­ment and the sol­id rela­tion­ship between Cana­da and the U.S.,” he said. “The strength of the NORAD rela­tion­ship has enabled it to serve as an extreme­ly flex­i­ble frame­work, one that adapts to an evolv­ing secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment.”

Cana­di­an Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States Gary Doer, who joined defense offi­cials in the rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mo­ny, said the exhib­it is emblem­at­ic of the strong part­ner­ship between the two nations and it also serves as a reminder of the ded­i­cat­ed per­son­nel at NORAD.

“It is an hon­or for all of us Cana­di­ans hav­ing this dis­play here at the Pen­ta­gon,” Doer told the audi­ence of Cana­di­an and Amer­i­can mil­i­tary per­son­nel and civil­ians. “The great bi-nation­al coor­di­na­tion will evolve in the future.” In a mil­i­tary head­quar­ters that serves as office space to tens of thou­sands of employ­ees — many of whom always seem to be pressed for time — this new Pen­ta­gon cor­ri­dor should give them rea­son to pause and its trib­utes should inspire reflec­tion, the Pentagon’s top pol­i­cy offi­cial said.

“All of us who work in the Pen­ta­gon, includ­ing myself, get caught up in the work we do day to day, and we run from meet­ing to meet­ing, and we often speed through these hall­ways like we’re run­ning a race,” Under Sec­re­tary of Defense for Pol­i­cy Michele Flournoy said. “But this cor­ri­dor should be a reminder to us all to, on occa­sion, slow down.”

The cer­e­mo­ny today comes a month after Cana­di­an Defense Min­is­ter Peter MacK­ay met at the Pen­ta­gon with Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates to dis­cuss bilat­er­al defense top­ics.

Offi­cials from both coun­tries have tout­ed the recent Olympic Games in Van­cou­ver, British Colum­bia, as a high­light of the bilat­er­al coop­er­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and Cana­da. They also not­ed the two nations will work togeth­er on secu­ri­ty issues relat­ed to the G‑8 and G‑20 sum­mits to be host­ed in Cana­da.

The NORAD cor­ri­dor is locat­ed at the “A” ring on the Pentagon’s third floor between cor­ri­dors 10 and 1.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)