Leaders at NORAD and Northern Command entertained a gaggle of media Friday afternoon, even allowing them into the inner sanctum of the command center, although all screens and other devices had been cleared for an unclassified visit.
North Com deputy commander National Guard Lt. Gen. Steven Blum and Canadian Lt. Gen. J.M. Duval, deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, spoke to reporters about the missions of both agencies, based at Peterson Air Force Base.
They said the missions have evolved and the command center changed dramatically to keep pace. For example, maritime was added in 2006 and cyber oversight more recently.
NORAD in particular has been in the news lately as it scrambled jets several times due to commercial airline passengers who were unruly or acting strangely.
Duval said in the last year Russian flights "added validity to the NORAD mission" by encroaching on North American air space.
Duval also said NORAD is prepared to offer support to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, along with Canada Command, Canada's version of Northern Command. The lead agency will be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. NORAD will monitor air space over Vancouver, one of the busiest in the continent, for the duration of the Games.