Backgrounder: North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)

Canada and the United States enjoy a unique, multi-faceted, and dynamic defence partnership. Our long history of cooperation on defence and security is reflected in a number of bilateral institutions and agreements, notably the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

As NORAD approaches its 60th anniversary in 2018, Canada remains a full and equal partner with an unwavering commitment to the command.

In Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada commits to working closely with the U.S. to detect, deter, and defend against threats to or attacks on North America, as well as to exploring potential new roles for the command.

The new Defence Policy will provide the CAF with the capabilities it needs to meet its NORAD obligations. This includes sufficient mission-ready fighter aircraft, and enhancing Canada’s capacity to provide continuous aerospace and maritime domain awareness and aerospace control.

Modernizing NORAD

Canada will work with the U.S. to modernize NORAD including considering innovative ways to more effectively defend North America against evolving threats.

North Warning System Renewal

A key part of modernizing NORAD is the renewal of the North Warning System, which is integral to fulfilling the NORAD mandate of aerospace warning and control, as well as maritime warning.

Canada and the U.S. have already launched bilateral collaboration to seek innovative technological solutions to continental defence challenges, including the surveillance of North American approaches. Studies are ongoing to determine how best to replace the important capability provided by the North Warning System, which was established as part of the Canada-U.S. agreement on North American Air Defence Modernization in 1985. The North Warning System is a chain of unmanned radar sites that provides aerospace surveillance to detect and allow for an early response to potential threats to North America.

Future requirements related to NORAD modernization, including the renewal of the North Warning System, will be part of separate future funding decisions and are not included in the estimates in the new Defence Policy.

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