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Department of Defense graphic for change of command ceremony of NORTHCOM and SPACECOM (Source:DoD)

Yesterday, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, in a historic ceremony, the flags of two of America’s combatant commands passed to two new commanders.  General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, USAF relinquished command of NORTHCOM/NORAD to General Glen D. VanHerck, USAF and General John W. “Jay” Raymond, USSF relinquished command of SPACECOM to General James H. Dickinson, USA.

As the commander of NORTHCOM/NORAD, O’Shaughnessy led with his partners across the Department of Defense and Canada to counter evolving threats to the homeland.  He is a champion of cruise missile defense for the homeland, of the requirement for NGI, and of  raising the requirement of  an Arctic strategy for our homeland defense. We commend the leadership of excellence. We recognize his mark, his legacy for the service of the nation his 34 year career, commanded at all levels as a F-16 pilot with 168 combat hours, and in senior assignments in EUCOM and INDOPACOM to include Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Deputy Commander, United Nations Command Korea, and Chief, Joint Plans and Operations, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.  

General VanHerck now continues the championing of the Defense of the United States Homeland and will put his experience, his leadership and his vision  to bring forth the best solutions with the means available to best protect and defend North America.

“Potential adversaries continue to map and challenge us across all domains,” referring to air, land, sea, cyberspace and space. “Homeland defense really starts abroad, so having crucial relationships with other combatant commanders in the services is very important,” General VanHerck, August 20, 2020, Peterson Air Force Base.

General Raymond served as the nation’s  first Chief of Space Operations, building out our nation’s newest service for a critical mission in a new domain.  General Raymond was responsible for standing SPACECOM back up as it’s first commander since 2002.  He has created an organization to set General Dickinson up for success as he takes the torch.

General Dickinson has the honor and unique distinction of being the first Army Air Defender to earn a fourth star and serve as a combatant commander.  General Dickinson is the First Army Space Combatant Commander.

“We are facing the most significant transformation in the history of the US National Space Security Program. We have a unique opportunity and a solemn responsibility, as commander I take this responsibility very seriously. The US is the best in space. Today, US SPACECOM will ensure this remains true as we work to implement national defense strategies, the defense space strategy, and the unified command plan directing for maintaining space superiority and defending our critical space capabilities.” Gen. Dickinson, August 20, 2020, Peterson Air Force Base.

Unique and symbolic of these two particular combatant command changes of commands on the same day at the same place at this time for the national security of our nation. It is a marriage of shared responsibilities and shared domains to make our nation and North America much safer than it has ever been.

“I know that is an even greater responsibility to be entrusted with our nation’s most sacred mission: defense of the homeland” General VanHerck, August 20, 2020, Peterson Air Force Base.

Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.