MacKay spoke to Canadian Forces members assigned to NORAD. "Here at NORAD, sufficed to say, you are at the pointy end of the spear when it comes to defending North America," MacKay told the assembled Canadian Forces members.
"The work that you do, the advances that have been made in technology, that allow us to keep watch over the enormous continent and maritime approaches is what allows everyone to go about their everyday lives without that fear that might exist otherwise. I'm looking forward to the briefings today to find out what we can do to better our efforts, to improve upon this vigilant watch that all of you help to carry out each and every day."
The goal of the visit was to provide MacKay with insight into the commands' unique missions, capabilities and requirements, as well as an understanding of NORAD and USNORTHCOM's critical roles in support of today's security environment. In addition to meeting with the Commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, General Charles H. Jacoby, the Minister received briefings on NORAD areas of focus such as the Arctic, terrorism and how NORAD can continue to evolve to meet the demands of a changing world. He also toured the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Command Center.
The Canadian Defense Minister also took this opportunity to personally present the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal to NORAD Deputy Commander Lt.-Gen. Alain Parent for his outstanding work as the previous Commander of the 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, Canada. The citation reads, "An astute leader with a deep understanding of strategic issues, he is leading Canada's operational Air Force through major transformational initiatives that will deliver the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) of the future."
The Diamond Jubilee Medal is a commemorative medal created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. It serves to honor significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.