SXU Disaster Preparation Expert discusses NORAD/USNORTHCOM Tour
James C. Hagen, Ph.D, attends Civic Leaders Tour
Chicago (June 5, 2009) James C. Hagen, Ph.D., coordinator of the Disaster Preparedness and Management Program at the Graham School of Management, returned from a trip with 20 other civilians from around the nation from a Civic Leaders Tour. The tour is held once a year and is organized by the North American Air Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
Four-star General Gene Renuart, Jr., United States Air Force, hosted and led the tour. Renuart is the highly decorated commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Numbered among his many assignments were director of U.S. Central Command (overseeing the planning and execution of all joint and allied combat, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction operations for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom) and senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
The event was held to foster a better understanding of how we must all work together in the areas of homeland security and civil support, especially in the areas of Disaster Management and Response.
This hands-on, personal experience took Hagen to six states and several military installations involved in Homeland Defense. Of special focus were efforts on Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive events. The tour began in Cheyenne Mountain, now home to NORADs and NORTHCOMs alternate Command Center. Other locations visited were Peterson Air Force Base, Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., Andrews Air Force Base, Langley Air Force Base and the Command Center for the Northeast Air Defense Sector in New York.
The experiences were many and varied in several very full days and evenings. One notable event was having the tour aircraft simulate a commercial craft going off course with unknown intentions. Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept and attempt to divert the tour aircraft before other more serious actions were needed. The tour also was involved as part of a simulated drug interdiction by the Coast Guard off the Florida Coast. Another stop gave them a firsthand view of the Marine Corps Chemical-Biological Incident Response Force.
Perhaps of greatest impact, Hagen said, was the opportunity to interact with and speak to the enlisted young men and women who demonstrated passion and pride in protecting the homeland against disaster, both domestic and foreign.
“They were defending their families and friends,” said Hagen. “It is our intention to directly educate the private and public sectors as to the capabilities, resources and willingness of the military, and to work more closely with the military, as we strive to better manage disasters of all types. It was my privilege and honor to be part of this event and interact with patriots and soldiers of all branches of military service.”