PETERSON AFB, Colo. — Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visited Headquarters North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command Nov. 16 to discuss the topics of homeland defense, ballistic missile defense and NORTHCOM’s role in assistance to response efforts to natural disasters.
During his visit, Mattis toured NORAD and USNORTHCOM command and control centers, viewed exercise demonstrations, had a roundtable discussion with command leaders, met and engaged with servicemembers and provided them future strategic insight during a headquarters assembly.
“I have come down here to pay my respects to you and feel I owe that to you,” Mattis said to a room full of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Canadians and civilians. “I have a deep sense of gratitude for you because I cannot over emphasize the importance of your mission,” referencing NORAD’s mission of missile warning and USNORTHCOM’s mission of ballistic missile defense.
“You are going to hold the line, you’re going to maintain alertness, you’re going to watch for aerospace and maritime threats to the North American continent,” Mattis continued. “You’re going to do this job at a time when both of our nations need you to be at the top of your game.”
Secretary Mattis went on to inform the audience of his three priorities in the Department of Defense and things he is focused on: to build a more lethal military; to strengthen our alliances/partnerships by building trust; to change the way we do business.
“I wanted you to be aware of those three priorities I’m working on and I want you to focus on creating harmony,” Mattis said. “I want to you to create harmony at this command and I want you to create harmony in your future assignments and it may even be a vicious harmony as we close in on the enemy. We need to keep the U.S. military tight-knit, we need to keep our alliances strong and let them know that we need them. If we concentrate on what other nations bring to the table, you’ll find that they all have something to offer.”
Mattis highlighted the importance of discipline saying, “You have to make certain that you discipline yourself and that you discipline each other. You have to take care of each other because sloppiness and lack of discipline are not very forgiving in this world.”
Mattis concluded his speech by opening up for questions and answers.
Upon completion of the NORAD/USNORTHCOM all-call, Secretary Mattis continued his visit of Colorado Springs with a visit to Air Force Space Command and Schriever Air Force Base.