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Robinson assumes command of NORAD, NORTHCOM

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Gen. Lori Robinson assumed command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command from Navy Adm. Bill Gortney during a ceremony May 13.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Jonathan H. Vance, the Canadian chief of the defence staff, presided over the change of command ceremony. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. and Canadian Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan were also in attendance.

NORAD is a bi-national command between the U.S. and Canada, while NORTHCOM is the U.S.-only geographic command for North America. The two commands have complementary missions and are colocated at the headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Carter praised Gortney for his service, leadership and professionalism, and welcomed Robinson to her new post.

“As commander of NORAD and NORTHCOM, Admiral Bill Gortney has been instrumental in forging a stronger coordination and deeper connection with both our Mexican and Canadian neighbors,” Carter said. “Bill, as you transition from this command, you can take comfort in knowing that NORAD and NORTHCOM are now in the hands of another proven strategic leader, warrior and diplomat: General Lori Robinson.”

The secretary noted that changes in the world continue to show the need for NORAD and NORTHCOM to protect and defend North America.

“As a strategic thinker and joint force leader, (Robinson) has proven her ability to manage complex operations with partners across theaters and domains; these abilities will serve our nation well as NORAD and NORTHCOM continue their vital contributions in the counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant campaign and defense of our homelands.”

Sajjan remarked on the great partnership between Canada and the U.S.

“NORAD is certainly a shining example of two countries that can and continue to work together for mutual benefit,” he said. “May history record, reflect and remember our unique partnership.”

As the new commander of two of the most complex commands in the world, Robinson spoke about the importance of homeland defense.
“The world is more dangerous, and North America is increasingly vulnerable to a vast array of evolving threats, threats in every domain we operate in,” she said.

Robinson also noted the importance of the various mission partners who are key to the success of the two commands.

“With linkages in our cultures, our prosperity and our security, the quality and scope of cooperation between the United States, Canada and Mexico is at an unprecedented high,” she said. “Undeniably, the power and the strength of NORAD and (NORTHCOM) are derived from its sustained partnerships with joint, interagency and multinational organizations.”

Prior to departing from Colorado Springs for retirement, Gortney took a moment to thank his family, the Navy and the local community for their support, and wished Robinson well in her new assignment. He had special words for his NORAD and NORTHCOM team.

“To all the members of NORAD and NORTHCOM -- Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, shipmates: I wish to thank each and every member of the NORAD and NORTHCOM team, and I want to really thank their families for the sacrifices and contributions each of them make.  While we wear the cloth of our nation, it is the families that are the very stitching that hold that cloth together.”

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