Minister Sajjan Concludes Productive Visit to the United States

News Release

May 13, 2016 — Colorado Springs, Colorado — Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today wrapped up a successful trip to the United States, further building on the well-entrenched defence relationship between the two countries. Minister Sajjan’s trip included stops in Washington, D.C., for meetings with U.S. officials and in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to attend the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Change of Command ceremony.

In Washington, Minister Sajjan attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council, and met with senior government officials on Capitol Hill, including the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain. Discussions focused on a wide range of issues currently being examined as part of Canada’s ongoing Defence Policy Review, including Canada’s long standing defence partnership with the U.S. through NORAD, as a NATO Ally, and as a partner in the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Minister then visited Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to attend the NORAD Change of Command ceremony, where U.S. Air Force General Lori Robinson assumed command of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), replacing U.S. Navy Admiral Bill Gortney. During his remarks, Minister Sajjan thanked Admiral Gortney, welcomed General Robinson, and cited NORAD as an important example of how two countries with strong defence ties can work together for mutual benefit.

While in Colorado Springs, Minister Sajjan also met with his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Their discussions focused on the important work being carried out by both countries and their commitment to working collaboratively to address present and emerging security challenges in North America and across the globe.


“The United States is Canada’s most important security and defence partner, illustrated by our collaborative partnership though NORAD. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Admiral Gortney for his leadership and exceptional service to Canada and the U.S. during his tenure as Commander. I also want to congratulate General Lori Robinson as she assumes command of NORAD and USNORTHCOM.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“My meetings in Washington were highly informative as Canada examines a number of issues important to our ongoing Defence Policy Review. These include continuing to work with our most important defence partner to strengthen continental defence and working together to address broader security challenges as they emerge around the globe.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick Facts

  • The U.S. is Canada's most important ally and defence partner. Defence and security relations between the two countries are longstanding, well-entrenched, and dynamic. This cooperation continues with the bi-national operation of NORAD. The countries’ partnership extends to broader international organizations and operations, as both Canada and the U.S. share a mutual commitment to NATO and are also partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. 
  • NORAD is a bi-national military organization formally established in 1958 by Canada and the U.S. to monitor and defend North American airspace. A maritime warning role was added in 2006. NORAD plays a critical role in the defence and security of Canada and the U.S.
  • The Commander and Deputy Commander of NORAD are appointed by and responsible to both the Government of Canada and the Government of the U.S. The Commander of NORAD also acts as the Commander of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). 
  • On April 6, 2016, Minister Sajjan launched public consultations as part of an open and transparent dialogue with Canadians and key domestic and international stakeholders to inform the development of a new defence policy for Canada. The review will help set future direction and priorities so that our military is equipped, trained, and prepared to confront new threats and challenges in the years ahead.

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Jordan Owens
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Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

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