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Canada, United States Renew NORAD Agreement

By | May 15, 2006

      Canada and the United States renewed the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) agreement, broadening the pact to include guarding against potential attacks from the sea in addition to detecting missile or aircraft assaults,Canada announced.

      The defense pace was forged 48 years ago during the Cold War, when Canada and the United States nervously monitored the skies for signs of nuclear-tipped Soviet Union missiles that might have been sent over the North Pole toward North America.

      Today, concerns about potential nuclear missile attacks on North America focus more on Asia, particularly North Korea. As well, there are concerns of potential attacks by terrorist groups.

      Adding the monitoring of potential attacks from the seas will allow the binational command to develop a more complete picture of potential threats to North America, according to Canada, so that NORAD remains flexible and capable of responding in an evolving threat environment.

      Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and National Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor announced the agreement renewal, which was finalized with an exchange of diplomatic notes. The pact also was ratified by a vote in the House of Commons.

      “Incorporating a maritime warning function into NORAD will assist in providing increased protection against emerging threats such as terrorism,” O’Connor said.

      “It will increase the ability of Canada and the U.S. to work together in response to these threats. This is yet another example of the commitment by both nations to ensure that this binational command continues to adapt to new security challenges.”

      Some military analysts say terrorists, lacking intercontinental ballistic missiles, would be far more likely to attempt smuggling weapons of mass destruction by sea into the United States or Canada, such as nuclear devices.

      The weapons might be concealed inside any of thousands of cargo containers carried by the armada of commercial ships entering Canadian and U.S. ports each month.

      The NORAD agreement also has been made permanent, subject to a review every four years.

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