U.S. Northern Command, which was created after 9/11 as the primary DOD command for homeland defense and civil assistance, has announced that it is fully operational:
“Our homeland defense and civil support competence has been refined through real world experiences as well as through rigorous validation exercise scenarios,” said Air Force Gen. Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart, USNORTHCOM commander. “From that in-depth evaluation and assessment of its capabilities, USNORTHCOM has demonstrated its full operational capability.”
Eberhart noted USNORTHCOM played a vital role in Operation Noble Eagle, support for Hurricane Lili and the response task force to the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, wildland firefighting and presidential support missions. In addition, the command participated in numerous exercises beginning with Unified Defense in September 2002 to prove USNORTHCOM had initial operational capability and most recently Determined Promise 03, or DP 03, in August that confirmed the command has evolved to full operation capability.
“This last evaluation was thorough, it was complete, and it was very objective and challenging … and we passed with flying colors,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Maurice L. “Lee” McFann Jr., USNORTHCOM director of operations.