Tag Archives: Can-U.S. Relations

US Air Force not Exactly Highlighting Cooperation with RCAF in NORAD

Excerpt from the bottom of p. 8 and the top of p. 9 of a 12-page statement. There is almost no mention of NORAD, no mention of the RCAF, no mention of close cooperation with Canada in the Arctic to defend vs Russians bombers and cruise missiles (even though on p. 1 the first para states: “China and Russia present real and growing threats to the national security of the United States and our allies”), and no specific mention of the North Warning System, the crucial and aging NORAD radar complex that is badly in need of upgrading/ replacing. More on the North Warning System here and here.

The whole excerpt reads as if Canada is almost irrelevant:

United States Air Force Posture Statement
Fiscal Year 2021
United States Air Force Presentation to the Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate
2nd Session, 116th Congress


Our ready forces that support the homeland defense mission include radars and early warning systems, alert aircraft and aircrew, and supporting infrastructure.  This FY21 budget invests across all these areas.  The centerpiece of the overall Department of Defense budget, Joint All-Domain Command and Control, is the most essential investment we can make to enable the Commander USNORTHCOM/NORAD to have the situational awareness and the ability to bring joint all-domain capabilities to bear.  We continue to partner with this team daily on the number one mission in the NDS: defense of the homeland.

Defense of the homeland includes defeating malicious threats online, where we must counter direct aggression as well as indirect sources of influence.  Air Force cyber warriors are constantly at work, under the newly-reactivated 16th Air Force, to “Defend Forward” with actions to deter adverse action and defend friendly networks and information.  We are also closely examining all friendly systems and capabilities to identify and mitigate potential cyber vulnerabilities and reduce the potential for adversary exploitation.

To successfully execute the Homeland Defense mission, the Air Force will continue upgrading limited numbers of existing aircraft to include modernizing the radars in some F-16s.  These updated legacy aircraft will be complemented by new-build F-15EX aircraft which are significantly more capable and cost-effective than the F-15Cs they will replace, aircraft already many years past their designed specifications and no longer candidates for service life extensions.  The F-15EX will help eliminate the gap between the fighter aircraft we have and the fighter aircraft we need while leveraging other nations’ investments in updating the F-15 program.  Ultimately, the Air Force must field a robust fighter force, anchored by the F-35, able to detect and defeat threats across a wide spectrum.  Homeland defense requires a mix of 4th- and 5th-generation capabilities, and we are investing to achieve that future force [emphasis added–perhaps the fighter we should be getting for Canadian homeland defence, i.e. NORAD–more on the F-15EX at this earlier post, see on RCAF at end, and here; but that’s just a dream, our interminable fighter competition is in no position to re-open for a new plane ].

Engagement across the globe also contributes to the Homeland Defense mission.  As we build a network of partners, allies, and emerging security partners, we enlist help in deterring aggression and containing threats.  We will continue to provide training and assistance to foreign nations through military equipment sales, training programs, and personnel exchanges.  The Air Force remains committed to collaboration with key allies and partners, and we have accelerated and expanded combined participation in air and space operations, exercises, wargames, and education.

Residing at the intersection between the U.S. Homeland and two critical regions—Indo-Pacific and Europe—the Arctic is an increasingly vital region for U.S. national security interests.  The Air Force has more missions and investments in this region than any other U.S. military service.  We are a cornerstone of the Nation’s defense in this region with installations positioned across Alaska, Canada, and Greenland and composed of large air bases, training complexes, and a constellation of more than 50 early-warning radars and missile defense facilities [emphasis added].  We are continuing our investments to include the upcoming beddown of the F-35 at Eielson AFB, placing more 5th-generation aircraft in Alaska than anywhere else in the world.  In addition to modernizing the world-class Joint Pacific Range Complex, we continue to build interoperability with Arctic allies and partners.  Sustained future investment in modernized missile defense, enhanced space capabilities, and improved domain awareness will ensure the Joint Force can respond to contingencies in, and from, the Arctic [emphasis added]

The US is going to want us to put some real money into NORAD. If we don’t they may just tell us to get out of their way and let them do it. On Canadian territory. That’s why Canada’s putting reasonable resources into continental defence has been called “defence against help”, to preserve our oh so precious sovereignty.

Plus a post from 2016 (note links at end) that is very relevant to NORAD today:

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds