Navy Vice Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld has been nominated by President Obama to become the next head of NORTHCOM and NORAD. His nomination must be approved by the Senate and, if confirmed, will result in a promotion to full admiral.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a joint US-Canadian command that is responsible for aerospace control and warning. NORAD operates as an advanced warning system for a variety of man made threats that could approach in the Aerospace realm (such as missiles). The command was established in 1957.
NORTHCOM (US Northern Command) provides command and control for DoD homeland defensive efforts along with coordinating support to civilian entities in the event of natural and man made disasters. The command was established on October 1, 2002 and is designed to unify a variety of already existing missions carried out by DoD in relation to the US homeland.
VADM. Winnefeld currently serves as a senior member of the US delegation to the UN Military Staff Committee and as the director of strategic plans and policy at the Joint Staff.