Thursday, July 28, 2011

Udall Questions NORTHCOM Nominee at Hearing

Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby Would Lead NORTHCOM/NORAD at Peterson AFB

Today, Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, pledged to work with Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, the nominee to command Colorado Springs-based NORTHCOM/NORAD, on cyber security and other national security challenges, and on a program to coordinate National Guard and federal troops to respond to a natural disaster. Udall questioned Jacoby during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning. The two also met privately earlier this week.

Udall has been a strong advocate for measures to support the defense of the global information grid and to ensure that the military is working in collaboration with the civilian sector to do so. This June, he introduced a bill that would help military installations respond in the event of a failure or extended interruption in the commercial power grid. More information is available HERE.

Today, in answer to questions from Udall, Jacoby acknowledged that cyber security is critical to the Department of Defense and our national security, and he said NORTHCOM must be prepared to protect physical infrastructure and provide support in the event of an attack. "It is an absolute requirement that we become effective in that domain and that we have the right strategy, the right policies and the right authorities to conduct the full range of activities required in the cyber domain for now and in the future," Jacoby said. "I think all of us can imagine pretty significant consequences as a result of a deliberate cyber attack."

Udall also lent his support for the program to train and develop Contingency Dual Status Commanders who can direct both federal active-duty forces and state National Guard forces in response to domestic incidents.

"Lt. Gen. Jacoby is the first soldier to lead NORTHCOM, and I know his many years of ‘boots on the ground' experience as a combat leader will serve the command well," Udall said after the hearing. "NORTHCOM is vital to our homeland security, and we face new challenges on many fronts, including cyber security and in stemming violence caused by transnational criminal organizations operating in Mexico . I look forward to working with Lt. Gen. Jacoby when he is confirmed by the Senate."

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) are located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs . The command is responsible for a number of critical missions, including command and control of Department of Defense homeland defense efforts, coordination of disaster-relief missions, and airspace defense throughout North America .