Change of the guard coming at Northern Command
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE – The second commander of the military’s homeland defense agency, Northern Command, could be moving to Hawaii to lead Pacific Command, overseeing American defense programs throughout eastern Asia.Under the recommendation announced Friday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Adm. Timothy Keating would move to Pacific Command upon approval by the U.S. Senate. He would be replaced at Northern Command by one of Gates’ top aides, Lt. Gen. Victor “Gene” Renuart Jr.Northern Command, which began operations in 2002, is responsible for defending Alaska, the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and surrounding waters and for responding to natural disasters. The commander of Northern Command also oversees the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which watches for airborne threats to the United States and Canada.Keating took over as Northern Command’s commander in November 2004 and headed the military’s response to Hurricane Katrina. He also led efforts to move most of NORAD’s functions from a bunker deep within Cheyenne Mountain to Peterson Air Force Base.He previously served in Pacific Command as a flag lieutenant and commanded a carrier battle group.Renuart, who is Gates’ liaison to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a pilot qualified to fly several types of Air Force planes who spent much of his military career in Europe.He has served as director of operations for U.S. Central Command, overseeing planning for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.A date for the change in command at Northern Command will not be scheduled until after the Senate acts on the nominations.
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