Air Force Gen. Gregory M. Guillot assumes command of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command from Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck at a ceremony at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, February 5, 2024.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense, the honorable Kathleen H Hicks and the Chief of the Defense Staff, Canadian Armed Forces, General Wayne D Air. Welcome to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command Change of Command where General Glenn D Van HK will relinquish command to General Gregory M Guillo. We are also honored to have members of the official party, the Minister of National Defense Canada, the honorable Bill Blair and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q Brown Jr. This morning’s music is provided by the United States Air Force Academy band. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the arrival of the official party playing of military honors. The presentation of colors, singing of the national anthems and the invocation honors today are being rendered to the Minister of National Defense Canada, the honorable Bill Blair. In his honor, there will be a 19 gun salute. Please return to your seat. Present the colors. Oh, oh oh, oh, that the freeze that up. Oh, our home and native land to patriot law of in all of us come and with glowing hearts we see the rise, the to north to strong and free from far and wide. Oh, can we stand on God for thee?
God, keep our land glory and free. Oh, can we stand on the God for thee?
Yo, can we stand on God for thee?
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, say, can you see by the dawn’s early light?
What so proudly we hail at the twilight’s last gleaming whose broads, right?
And the bright stars through the per lost fight or the the parts we watch were so kindly streaming and the rock, right?
The buns thirsty gave through the right that off like was still here. Oh, say to that star Bangle back it or the the and the home of the dead, right?
Not oh uh um What uh uh yeah. The NORAD and us North com Command chaplain United States Air Force chaplain Christopher Conklin will now deliver the invocation. I invite you to join with me in a time of prayer. Heavenly Father in your providence. You have called your Children to strive for justice, peace and freedom. We give you thanks for the men and women of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command who have faithfully answered your call for their courage and faithfulness as they boldly strive to accomplish their mission. We give you thanks for each and every one of them and the sacrifices they make to serve, guide of our lives. Today, we pray for the leadership of N AD and us Northern Command. In your providence, you called General Glenn Van Herk to minister to and lead this command and he has led with a brilliant determination and faithfully answered the call and took the watch over our homelands. We give you thanks for his wife, Marilyn who has diligently supported and ministered with General Van Herk during the challenges and joys of command. As we welcome the Guillo family into a new role in ministry with NORAD Us Northern Command. We pray for your blessings and strength for them. As Gene General Gregory, Gio assumes command as he takes the guide on and the mantle of leadership give to him the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David and the faithfulness of Abraham as he leads NORAD North com into a bright future. Lord of hosts. Watch over our deployed members and those who stand the watch this day, guard them with your holy angels, guide them with all wisdom and having completed their missions, return them home to families and friends and a grateful nation bless now our nation and our service and to you, eternal God in whose name we pray be our praise and our thanksgiving. Amen. Yeah, ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Thank you to the salute battery from Fort Carson, the United States Air Force Academy, stellar brass band for the musical honors Technical Sergeant Murphy for that beautiful rendition of the anthems, the NORAD and Us North Com joint color guard and chaplain Conklin. For those inspirational words, we are honored today to have a number of distinguished guests with us. Please hold your applause until all have been recognized. Mrs. Shereen Brown, spouse of General Brown, chairman, joint chiefs of staff, Mrs. Marilyn Van Herk, spouse of General Van Herk. Mrs. Caroline Guillo, spouse of General Guillo, their daughter, Elizabeth Mr. Robert Guillo, General Guillo S brother and his wife, Carolyn and their Children, Catherine and Brendan General Glo’s sister, Mrs. Mary Thompson and her husband, Colonel Wade Thompson and Mrs. Christine Colombino, General Guillo, s sister, close personal friends of the Guillo s with us. Today are Mr. Brian Eastwood, Doctor Rich and Diane Carmona major General Dave Doyle, Commander Fourth Infantry Division and Mrs. Renee Doyle, MS Kara Campbell and Mr. Barton Shaw. We are also honored to have with us, General Stephen Whiting Commander, United States Space Command and his spouse, Tammy Mayor Yey Mola, Mayor of Colorado Springs, ambassador David Cohen United States, ambassador to Canada administrator David Bikowski Transportation Security Administration, MS Rebecca Zimmerman, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense General, John Heighten. United States Air Force retired and his spouse, Mrs. Laura Heighten General, Ed Eberhart United States Air Force retired and his spouse, Mrs. Karen Eberhart, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, United States Air Force retired and Mrs. Donna O’Shaughnessy General William Fraser United States Air Force, retired General William Shelton, United States Air Force retired MS Bruni Bradley United States Navy, retired and spouse of Admiral Harry Harris, Sergeant Major Troy Black, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Ricardo T Travilla Trejo, chief of the National Defense Joint Headquarters Staff, Ceda Admiral Alfredo Hernandez Suarez, chief of staff of the Mexican Navy, Samar Major General Kai Zilberman, Israeli attaché to the United States. Mr. Antonio Herta Regional Director Office of Senator Hickenlooper and Mr. Dennis Heisey District Director Office of Congressman Lamborn. We are honored to have so many esteemed guests attend today’s ceremonies. We welcome all of you, senior leaders, active and retired general and flag officers, members of the senior executive service community and industry leaders, interagency, partners, commanders, directors, senior enlisted leaders, family and friends. Thank you all for attending. Ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to introduce the Minister of National Defense of Canada. The honorable Bill Blair. Thank you all very much, Deputy Secretary Hicks General Brown, General Eyre, General Van HK General Guilla, Ambassador Cohen, distinguished guests, family and friends. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to participate in today’s ceremony to witness the change of authority for one from one outstanding leader to another in today’s volatile and increasingly challenging threat environment. Canadians and Americans are relying upon our military leaders to see us through these difficult times. Leaders who inspire in confidence, trust and loyalty. Leaders who can communicate a clear common vision and provide a pathway to achieving it and who can mobilize people to work together for the greater good. Today, we are celebrating two such extraordinary leaders, General Van HK. Over the past three years, you have been a dedicated champion for North American security as Commander of NORAD and North com. Your dual role is a remarkable and daunting responsibility, but you have fulfilled your duties with determination, decisiveness, dedication, and brilliance. You have been clear about the critical importance of strengthening our domain, awareness and building up next generation surveillance capabilities and you have been a tireless champion for innovation and modernization. You have promoted the urgent need to ensure our ability to operate in our Arctic and Northern approaches. And you have recognized the threats to North America can come from any direction. I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Canada and the government of Canada to offer our sincere appreciation and thanks for all that you have done for our continental defense during your tenure. And I wish you all the best in your retirement. You can rest easy knowing that you are leaving NORAD and North Com in good hands. Now, on behalf of the government of Canada, let me sincerely congratulate General Guilla on his appointment as the Commander of NORAD and the Commander of North Com General. I am confident that under your leadership, NORAD will continue adapting and evolving to meet the threats of our time. I trust that you will be fearless and forthright in leading NORAD as our two countries modernize our defense capabilities, innovate to meet the challenges of tomorrow. And I know that you will continue to for the solid friendships, the effective and brilliant partnerships and strong alliances that are key to our success. And of these, there is none so great as the unbreakable bond between Canada and the United States here in Colorado Springs. And indeed throughout North America, Canadians and Americans work hand in hand. We support each other. We look out for each other. We depend on each other and NORAD is perhaps the single greatest symbol of our unique relationship. And as President Biden said, when he visited Canada just last year, NORAD is an incredible symbol of the faith that we have in one another and trust that we place in each other’s capabilities. And it is the only binary military command of its kind in the world. NORAD speaks volumes about the unparalleled military cooper operation between Canada and the United States. It demonstrates the respect that our two nations share for one another and our joint commitment to our shared security. And through 65 years of ne we worked hand in hand to defend our sovereign air space and since 2006 to monitor our maritime approaches as well, I have no doubt that we will continue to do for decades and centuries to come the evolving threat landscape, including last year’s violation of Canadian and us airspace by Chinese surveillance balloons and the rapid advances in hypersonic weapons and missile technology has reminded us of the enduring and urgent relevance of Nora. But it has also underscored the urgency of making sure that we remain ready to respond to the new and emerging threats in an increasingly dangerous world. It’s one of the reasons Canada will be investing over $38 billion to modernize our no capabilities. I wanted to acknowledge to you all, Canada must do more and Canada will do more. We’re going to invest in new sensors, upgrading infrastructure and other initiatives to better detect deter and defend against threats to the continent. And when President Biden visited Canada last March, we released the timelines for all projects under this modernization plan. And among them will be an accelerated timeline for Arctic over the horizon, tech technologies and radar. New initiatives to enhance our technologically enabled decision making. And in the coming years, Canada and American F-35 fighters will operate together seamlessly and I’m pleased to say starting in just two years, Canada and American P eight Poseidon aircraft will fly together to defend our coasts. But our operational effectiveness depends on more than just equipment. It also depends on people and we will continue to rely on exceptional leaders who are willing to step up and work to ensure the security of our shared continent. And so once again, Generals I’d like to thank both of you on behalf of the government of Canada sincerely for your outstanding leadership and commitment to the defense of North America. General Glo. Congratulations. As you take the watch, Canada has every confidence in the future of NATO under your leadership and we look forward to working together in the future. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, the United States Deputy Secretary of Defense, the honorable Kathleen H Hicks. Good morning to everyone. It’s truly a pleasure to be back here in Colorado Springs. And I’m especially pleased to see this staggering number of special guests who have gathered today to honor General Glen Van Herk for his three decades of military service and leadership and to welcome General Greg Guillo as the next commander of us Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Let me extend an especially warm welcome to Marilyn Van Herk Caroline Guillo and the members of both the Van Herk and Guillo families who are here with us in person and to those tuning into this ceremony remotely from around the country, we recognize the disruption and uncertainty that last year’s unnecessary and unprecedented. Hold on the promotion of general and flag officers caused you and your families. We are grateful to move forward both from it and to focus now on strengthening your leadership team and grateful to you for your resilience and stead Fastness throughout that time. Thank you also to Minister Blair, Chairman Brown and General Eyre this ceremony and you joining us here today, demonstrate the unbreakable alliance between our two nations and our unification under a common purpose, defense of our homelands. It’s also my distinct pleasure to be here with the men and women of us North com and no ad your outstanding service under this unified command helps to preserve our collective ability to defend our nations. The United States, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas and to help preserve international peace and stability in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The world stood by the United States and joined us in the refrain, never forget and we won’t yet. It was also our responsibility since then to live up to its twin promise of never again activated in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Us north com was charged with protecting North America from external threats and knowing that those threats would evolve over time, this command was designed to draw from the full strength of our military services talent capabilities and approaches land, air sea and cyberspace at any given moment in time and history for more than 20 years now, you have stood the watch protecting our people and projecting power across domains and theaters in defense of our homeland, whether it’s conducting joint and combined training and education, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime domain awareness or Cyber defense NORAD North com enhances our common security and deepens our ties to our closest neighbors in recent years. That has meant facing down both acute and persistent threats including Russian long range, a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles and Russian and Chinese out of area maritime operations. Not to mention the first kinetic engagement of a foreign object over North America since world war two, when NORAD expertly led the safe shoot down and recovery of APR C high altitude surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast. And in response to rising strategic competition in the Arctic circle north com has been a relentless advocate for enhanced Arctic capabilities. This is all proof that we are better prepared today to deter, detect and defeat any threats to the homeland. And in no small part thanks to General Glen Van Hk’s leadership of no north com as General Van Herk has so aptly put it to compete globally. We must be strong at home. Over the past 3.5 years, Glenn has advanced this mission with a singular and intense focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Glenn led the defense department support of our federal state, local and tribal partners which included the safe repatriation of us, personnel and travelers. The rapid establishment of alternate care sites, the distribution of protective equipment and the dispatching of thousands of military medical personnel to overwhelmed hospitals. Once vaccines were made available, Glenn oversaw the delivery of millions of doses across the country. This critical logistical and operational support was essential to our nation’s response to the greatest public health emergency in our lifetime. Then in 2021 through operation allies. Welcome north. Com provided vital support for tens of thousands of Afghan nationals including those who worked alongside us forces in Afghanistan as they safely resettled in the United States. This support included transportation, medical screening and temporary housing for more than 70,000 Afghans. These examples speak to Glenn’s brilliant mind and servant’s heart which he unflinchingly attributes to his upbringing. Glenn’s path seems a bit preordained in retrospect. He is the son of two General aviation pilots, Don and Melba Jan Van Herk, who passed along their love of flying to their son. Glenn’s destiny was realized in 1989 when he completed his undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, the squadron commander who filed his training report noted then Lieutenant Van Hurst’s natural ability, an exceptional foresight remarking that he thought well ahead of the aircraft precisely the kind of strategic and operational thinking we encourage in our emerging leaders. Glenn was born to fly. Yes. And looking back on his distinguished military career, it’s also clear he was born to lead, having commanded throughout his career at the squadron group and wing levels as well as at the United States Air Force Warfare Center here at North Com General Van Herk led the design of global integration by launching the Global Information Dominance experiment series which the department has built upon to advance joint all domain command and control. His tireless advocacy and vision were equally critical to the department’s homeland defense capability advances including through the secretary’s issuance of the 2023 homeland defense policy guidance through these and other initiatives, Glenn has led our efforts to paste the growing multi domain threat to the homeland posed by the People’s Republic of China. And because of general Van Hk’s leadership NORAD north com is well positioned to lead execution of this policy, Glenn. Thank you for your lifetime of service. But of course, I also need to thank Marilyn Glenn and Marilyn first met when they were in grade school at the time. Their families lived less than a mile apart from one another in Bismarck, Missouri, a community that I know continues to mean so much to the two of them since then and over the course of 36 years of marriage and some 20 moves, Glenn has thrived on Marilyn’s steadfast love and support, but Glenn has not been the only one. Marilynn. Please know that your contributions have touched the lives of thousands of service members and their families on behalf of the department. We thank you for your service in defense of the nation, Glenn in Maryland. You’ve more than earned your chance to take it easy wherever you now choose to call home. And we wish you well on your next adventure. General Greg Guillo will continue to build on the tremendous work underway at NORAD North com. Similar to his predecessor, Greg had his sights set on flight from a young age. His father, Rebb was an air force officer and a two tour Vietnam war veteran who paved the way for Greg to follow in his footsteps to the Air Force Academy. During his career, Greg has commanded a flying squadron, an operations group, two flying wings and a numbered air force. He has served on numbered air force major command, air and combatant command staffs as commander of ascent. Greg led air force components in support of operations, allies refuge the 2021 airlift of Afghan civilians out of Kabul, the largest noncombatant evacuation operation in American history. Greg now takes command following his most recent assignment as deputy Commander of Centcom where he has been instrumental in protecting our forces and advancing us interests. Gui you are well prepared to lead this command at this critical moment. In fact, this is not your first rotation at North com. So we’re confident that you will remember your way around the base and hit the ground running and to your family. I’d like to acknowledge your mom who is watching proudly today from Tucson Arizona, as well as your mother and father-in-law who are tuning in from Oklahoma City to General Guillo S Children, Elizabeth and Mark, know that proud dad is among his most cherished titles and to Caroline on behalf of the department. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made in support of the mission. And welcome back to Peterson when North Com’s first commander General Ed Eberhart, who is here with us today, declared that the command had reached full operational capability on September 11th, 2003. He stated this is not an end state. This is in fact part of a journey will never truly reach full operational capability. We are always going to be striving to do better. That sentiment is as true today as it was more than 20 years ago. And as this command’s leadership passes from General Van Herk to General Guillo, we know that NORAD North com will continue evolving to stand the watch. So to Gui and Caroline, thank you for your continued commitment to service into this nation and to Glenn and Marilyn. Thank you for your decades of selfless service. I wish you blue skies on your well-deserved retirement. Ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q Brown Junior. Well, good morning while visiting Canada in uh 1985 President Ronald Reagan said we’re more than friends and neighbors and allies. We are kin who together have built the most productive relationship between any two countries in the world today. I’m Mohamed to be here today to recognize two outstanding leaders, leaders. Uh I have personally known for years to honor their families, the unwavering commitment and unparalleled sacrifice and to reaffirm the ironclad commitment between our two countries before going any further. I’d like to thank uh all that are here to celebrate their special day for NORAD in Norcom. As an aviator laid out, we have an extensive list of distinguished visitors here today. But in particular, I’d like to recognize the Minister of Defense Blair, Deputy Secretary of Defense Hicks General Mayer. Thank you all for being here. Your presence uh shows the world how deeply integrated our two countries are we integrated socially, economically geopolitically militarily and we ultimately share responsibility for the security of our great continent. Like President Reagan said, we’re closer to family than to anything else. The leaders of both our Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense, our elected officials and civic leaders. Thank you for your leadership to the men and women of NORAD and Norcom who deepen our partnership every day. Thanks for your dedication. Thanks for your sacrifices. You all make to guarantee our shared security and thanks to your families that sacrifice right alongside you. I’d like to take a moment to recognize two of those families who have dedicated decades and service to our nation. Sure. And I would like to thank uh Glenn Van Hook’s family and friends today. Marilyn, you’ve stuck by Glenn’s side for, well, just 36 years. You’ve been married but you uh uh known each other well, before you were old enough to date their daughter, Molly and her husband Taylor, their two grandkids, Theo and, and Reese who couldn’t make it a day. Uh They’re currently uh it would be out in Washington where Taylor serves as a naval aviator. I’d also like to acknowledge uh Glenn’s mom and dad Dan Don and uh and Melba who I know were, are looking down on you and very proud of you. They’re both uh lifelong educators and uh no doubt instilled in Glen a propound sense of service. Sure. And I would also like to welcome the friends uh family and friends of Greg Gu Gu, uh his wife Caroline, a former chemistry teacher and the glue that held the family together over the course of uh I’m gonna do is go cause I never really called you Greg. Uh an interesting point that uh Gooey and Caroline’s parents were great friends when they were growing up, their dads Flew F one Hundreds together in Vietnam. Caroline swore she would never date or marry anyone in the Air Force. How we doing?
Well, 34 years of marriage and 22 moves later, Caroline. Hopefully you haven’t regretted your day. Your decision. The Chil Children, Elizabeth and Mark and Greg’s siblings. Uh Marie Christine and Robert are all here as mentioned by Deputy Secretary Hicks. The rest of the families are watching online and acknowledge his mother, Susan and his father, Reb who uh unfortunately passed away in 2020 but was a role model uh to goy whether you’re in person or watching online. I know you’re all very proud and excited about what today brings to both families. Thank you for your love and support. You’ve given these exceptional leaders over the years. Thank you very much. Now, I’ve known uh Glen or he goes by Fats and I’ll just call him Fats for the rest of the, the ceremony uh for nearly two decades. In fact, uh I was his boss when I was a commoner at the Air Force weapon schools at that time. Uh Fats was convinced he was not going to make General Officer. And to be honest, I wasn’t so sure either, but I knew he had potential. Here’s what I put in as performance report, quote, simply outstanding leadership read to find officers of his caliber, caliber and, and has the uh my utmost confidence. That’s what I put on paper. Glenn reminded me of uh the sit down in-person feedback session we had now apparently, uh I told him this is according to Glenn, I don’t remember all the details. Um but I said that he was abrasive and that was the adjective that, that preceded a couple of choice words, Glenn and only did you get selected with one star?
You made it all the way to four culminating an outstanding and distinguished career. Our nation’s ability to protect project power globally and achieve our strategic objectives. Depends completely on strong homeland defense as NORAD and North Com commander, that’s you’ve worked diligently to enforce that foundation, you modernized uh NORAD and North Com’s capabilities, increasing domain awareness and detecting and tracking potential threats to North America throughout your tenure, NORAD north com have improved their ability to rapidly identify threats and deliver greater operational resilience. That’s improved information sharing you data previously trapped in organizational stove pipes to multiple commands, inter agency and our international partners. These deep relationships with our military counterparts, not only in Canada, but also Mexico. And the Bahamas strengthen regional security vats has worked tirelessly to protect our homeland and our way of life. Deater Maryland on behalf of the 2.1 million men and women in uniform and their families. Shere. And I thank you for your leadership and your 36 years of service. We wish you the very best in retirement. Congratulations today. Uh We promoted uh gui as our uh Joint Forces newest four star general. He’s well prepared to accept the roles and responsibilities of this new rank. That’s not just because Goy and I have had several of the same jobs over the years. We were both the weapon school instructors. We were both S com’s deputy CFACC and CFACC and also the deputy Commander for the United States Central Command. What stands out about Gooey’s uh careers, how he took each of those positions to the next level and how well this prepared him for this opportunity to lead NORAD and Norcom. He has experience working all over the world and has spent time commanding Joint and Combined Forces. He’s worked directly with the Canadian Armed Forces in eight different assignments over the course of his career. He’s developed relationships, tools skills to continue this great partnership. Not to mention this will make him a good judge of hockey bane and maple syrup, Gooey Caroline. She and I wish you the best about this command tour. We look forward to watching Nora and uh and North com thrive under your leadership in closing the US and Canada relationship is an example to the world of just how far we can go. We treat our allies as family. We integrate our allies from the very beginning. Thank you to uh fats. Thank you to go and to your families for your service, for your sacrifice, your dedication to our nation and to the support of our lines. God bless your families and God bless you all. Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, the Chief of the Defense Staff, Canadian Armed Forces, General Wayne De Well, good morning, everybody. What a great day for a change of command. Minister Blair, Deputy Secretary Hicks, General Brown and Shereen General Van Eck, Marilyn, General Gill and Carolyn distinguished guests, general and flag officers, um family and friends and most of all members of NORAD and US North com. It’s great to be back here. Great to be back in, in Colorado Springs. And it is an absolute privilege to be part of today’s change of command ceremonies. These changes of command, they’re always bittersweet, bittersweet for us observing the ceremony because they bring to a close that time of working alongside a valued colleague, even as we look forward to working with a new colleague and building a new relationship. And many of us in the room here just know how bittersweet it can be as an officer who’s changing posts, especially the one who is giving up command permit. Dar de Celebre sequi accompli par de Celebre le Poten de nouvelle real A E la de Ma or, and today we are celebrating the contributions of two remarkable officers, General Van Eck and General Guillo to their country, to our country and to the enduring struggle to preserve those values. We all hold dear freedom and democracy, justice, and the rule of law, human rights and human dignity. Now today is also an opportunity to celebrate NORAD our unique binational command and the enduring friendship that our nations share to celebrate generations of friendship and partnership of a shared commitment to Canada and the United States to our security, stability, peace and prosperity and to the rules based international order that makes it all possible. An order we have all sworn to uphold no matter the cost. Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends, strategic interests have made us allies. What truly binds us are those common values, the people to people, connections, the aspirations we share for the future in Canada, we have no closer ally than the United States of America. And for the past 3.5 years, General Van Eck has represented that friendship with alliance, that friendship and alliance with wisdom, resolve and integrity. Glenn Canada and Canadians are safer for what you have done for your leadership, your vision and your ability to deliver and for that. I thank you just as I thank you for your engagement with Canadians. You’re putting a human face on NORAD, an institution that is more vitally important than I think most Canadians realize I saw that upfront uh last September on what was supposed to be Glenn’s first day of retirement as we shared the stage in Calgary to uh to talk to a group of uh of national leaders, business leaders, academics, etcetera. And it resonated several weeks ago, I had this opportunity to meet some that were at that conference and they’re still talking about it. Your message hit home. I saw how much they valued your, your clarity and your insight. And during your tenure, all Canadians have benefited from your frank assessments of our security and our readiness to defend it and myself, perhaps more so than anyone else. And I always thank you for your unflinching forthright advice, frank advice and always willing to tell me the way you see it as Commander of NORAD and US North com you have worked tirelessly to raise the profile of our shared defense and the links between the defense of our homelands and our ability to engage freely and fully abroad. I’d like to say, we can’t do much overseas if the home patrol base is not secure and Glenn, you have done just that. So this leadership is much appreciated in this dangerous volatile era. A time when the strength and resilience of the rules based international order is being tested as it has not been tested in generations. A time. Most consequential, a turning point in history, perhaps a time characterized by the term poly crisis. A time when the world’s authoritarian powers are militarizing with remarkable and unsettling speed. And for nations such as ours, a time when the Arctic is a subject of greater interest and a greater source of a potential source of greater tensions. As the inhabitants of the northern part of our continent, we appreciate your shrewd appraisal of potential threats, not just in the Arctic, but through it, threats of which too many of us in Canada are unaware. Our competitors have become bolder, more active in this space, not just Russia, but China too on its aspirations, acting on its aspirations of global preeminence to the point at which and this may have been a wakeup call to many Canadians. NORAD made headlines on your watch as it detected and tracked a Chinese high altitude surveillance balloon as it overflow North America before being shot down by North. And shortly after three unidentified aerial objects were also shot down including one over Yukon, the first kinetic engagement by NORAD over North American soil in the history of our alliance. So those were some interesting times that we shared Glenn on your watch. You have not only recognized the threat we face but also the fact that the system of continental defense designed for the Cold War is perhaps no longer fit for purpose for the 21st century. You’ve been a powerful advocate for its modernization, particularly in regards to multi domain awareness. You have also argued with clarity and eloquence in favor of NORAD’s much needed digital transformation and in an environment of rapidly evolving technology, the ability to leverage critical data to maximize our ability to acquire it, to process it, put it to strategic use and share it amongst our own organization and with allies and partners understanding the very real risk of left being left behind by our competitors and the dangers we would face if we let that happen. So Glenn, thank you, but you did not do this alone in Maryland. Your unwavering support, understanding and willingness to adapt to the uh the demands of military life have been instrumental in the success of Glenn’s command tenure here at NORAD and US North com. But perhaps even more so through the tenure of his career, your strength and resilience have been crucial in allowing him to focus on the mission at hand. And Jennifer and I wish you all the best for this next chapter Glenn on your watch. You have risen to meet the challenges of our times and strengthened the foundations of NORAD, allowing the commanders who follow in your footsteps to uh to continue to evolve and grow it. And on that note, General Glo Go, you have most recently been the Deputy Commander of us Centcom, an excellent vantage point from which to see how both of the the global security environment is deteriorating and how events far from our shores still impact us here at home. Your leadership in a series of key posts including a previous tour here in Colorado Springs have possession you well, to assume the watch now go, we have never worked together, but your reputation in Canada is stellar. You have worked with many uh many Canadians and I have asked around and reports are absolutely fantastic. So you step into this job with a uh with a tremendous reputation already. And uh and we in Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, look forward to continuing that relationship. Now, you are inheriting a command of singular importance where the threats we face will only increase in the months and years to come, an increase in complexity and consequence. It’s a dynamic command that demands unceasing vigilance. There is no mission more important than keeping our homeland secure. And so with that, I want to thank Carolyn and along with your, your son, Mark and daughter Elizabeth and the rest of your family here and uh and online uh for the support throughout your career. And the continued support that’s going to be required as uh as Glenn uh continues to command the watch. So thank you in advance and we look forward to getting to know you much better. So we wish you well, NORAD is in the best of hands. General Van Eck, your watch is done on behalf of the great people, the great members of the Canadian armed forces, best wishes to you and Marilyn for a relaxing and rewarding retirement in Korea. And we hope you get to enjoy time with the family as much as you can and for everything you’ve done for Canada, the United States in our shared defense, you have our deepest gratitude. Thank you mercy. At this time, we would like to acknowledge General Van Herk was presented with the defense Distinguished Service medal on the first of December 2023. In addition, General Van Hk received the Canadian meritorious service cross 25 July 2023 in Ottawa, Canada and the Mexican National Defense Military Distinction medal on 28 June 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to introduce General Glenn D, Van HK, Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. Well, welcome and thanks for honoring General Guillo and myself and our families, especially the men and women of NORAD and United States Northern Command with your presence today. A special welcome to our Federal state, locally elected officials. Thank you for your attendance today. Support of the Van Hers and the NORAD North com uh team over the past 3.5 years. Civic leaders including the Colorado 30 the Military Affairs Committee. Thank you for supporting all of our military members and families and of course, the Van Herk your support. Absolutely does not go unnoticed. Thank you former Nr A and the United States Northern Command Commanders. Thanks for being here and all the leaders from no north com over the time. I know Da Peltier is here as well. Thanks for returning home for this milestone, time honored tradition. Thank you to our No and United States Northern Command teams, family members and friends, whether you’re here in person, whether you’re watching online, Marilyn, I thank you for your love and support over the last 3.5 years and many of you uh for the last 36 plus years. Uh Thank you very much. It’s the people that will miss in the mission. Thank you. Thank you to the entire no, in the United States Northern Command Protocol team. Uh This is a herculean effort you cannot imagine to pull one of these off. Uh Thank you for everybody that had a hand in this, especially Miss Vicky Smith. Uh Where is she hiding?
She’s probably behind the curtains here. She won’t come out. Uh Vicky was supposed to retire a couple of years ago and I uh she’s hiding back there under the wing of the airplane. She stayed here with us, uh, until the end, she’s gonna retire next month. Uh, I wouldn’t let her go before we left and, uh, finally we achieve escape velocity and now Vicky, you can finally leave. Thank you so much, Vicky. So I did my retirement ceremony on the first of December just to put some predictability in lives. And on the first of December, we had Tech Sergeant Denver Murphy sing the uh national anthems as well. Is that not phenomenal or what?
Uh Tech Sergeant, uh Denver Murphy, thanks, of course to the stellar brass band, the honor guard, uh chaplain Conklin. Welcome. And thank you very much all the Po CS that made this happen. There are too many and I can’t name all your names. I was gonna go through it but I don’t have about 45 minutes. I’m gonna try to get off the stage in about 10 minutes or so. Thank you for making this happen. Minister Blair, thank you for the kind words, Deputy Secretary Hicks, chairman Brown Chief Air. Thank you so much for being here. Your presence honors the men and women of NORAD and North Com. Uh Thank you for what you do each and every day for all of you. Thank you for the past 3.5 years. Um I’ve had the privilege of waking up every day serving the most incredible people accomplishing the most noble mission you can have defending our homelands and providing support to our citizens when in need. Thank you all for supporting them. Every leader benefits from the trust and confidence of leaders they work for. So I extend my gratitude to President Trump for his initial nomination back in 2020 President Biden Prime Minister Trudeau for their support for the duration of my command. I must also thank the Secretary of Defense Austin Secretary of Defense Esper for their trust and confidence during my tenure as well. Secretaries of the Air Force, Barrett Kendall. I must also thank chairman 19 General Joe Dunford who took a chance on promoting a two star to three star to be the director of the joint staff, which normally does not happen. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for his decision to make that happen today. And of course, Chairman Millie as well uh Chief of Staff of the Air Force 21 Dave Goldstein, uh chief of staff, now 22 and 21 of the uh uh chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff uh CQ Brown. And the story he trolled is absolutely true. He did tell me I was an abrasive blank hole. OK. So that’s what he did say. I did learn that lesson from him. Thank you all for your friendship, your leadership along the ways. Uh The true story. I, I wasn’t worried about making one star be candid with you. I didn’t think I had a chance I was late into command. Uh but it wouldn’t happen for three individuals. One of them sitting over here, General Frazier. Thank you so much, General Mike Hostage and General Bob Klor who worked a plan for me to get a wing uh General Kaylor to give me a number to get me promoted to one star and the rest is history. Thank you for being here, General Frazier. Appreciate your support. You know, as the Commander of No North Com, I am also grateful for many mission partners. Uh Thank you to our civilian and military partners from the US, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas who help us accomplish what we do every day. The unique nature of NORAD affords the opportunity to work for the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Air Chief. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with you. I do think we uh move the ball down the field in the right direction for NORAD, albeit far too slow. We need to go faster, Marilyn and I wish you and Jennifer the absolute best as you write uh right off into the sunset later here this summer. Thank you for your friendship and support. I’m also grateful for Minister Blair and prior ministers, Annan and Sao as well for their support during my tenure as the Commander of No Ed. You know, I came to no North Com with a vision and a strategy that focused on integrated deterrence through campaigning and demonstrating readiness, capability and resilience every single day when our competitors see a resilient and capable nation, a nation that can never be brought to its knees competitors. And adversaries are much less likely to challenge us either here at home or abroad. My vision did not start with defenses in the homeland. It started with a globally integrated layered defense with my fellow combatant commanders and our allies and partners generating effects forward with that said, we must defend key critical infrastructure in North America and our homelands early in my command, I focused on getting policy from the department on what to defend and updating homeland defense policy guidance more broadly. I’m happy to report that we were able to garner key policy decisions. I’m still waiting for some from Canada, by the way, Gooey don’t let them off the hook. Ok. They do owe you a couple of things now it’s time to resource the policy early in my command. Well, let me just say the homelands are under attack every day in the cyber domain and the information space, our democracy is under attack from peer actors and violent extremists both externally and internally. Our own discord is being perpetuated to create internal strife within our government and amongst our people, we must come together and face this fact to execute our strategy. We must first be able to see the threat globally and across all domains. You can’t deter or defeat what you can’t detect while I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together to achieve greater domain awareness. Much work still remains. We must process this domain awareness and information more quickly and get it to our decision makers. The only thing I can never have enough of or give enough of to our senior leaders is time and decision space. And the only way you create more time and decision space is you process data and information with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning and distribute it faster allowing key deterrence options to be developed and defeat options. If required you the men and women of NORAD north com changed the defense dialogue in both the Canada in Canada and the United States. Driving investments and policy. You operationalize the commands and established a joint operation center through the execution of four global information dominance experiments. You prove that digital transformation can lead to decision superiority. You advocated for critical homeland defense capabilities by with and through the US and Canadian governments to receive a nearly sixfold increase in resource initiatives. Your operational achievements over the past 3.5 years are incredibly remarkable. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic provided support to 48 community vaccination sites, 42 cities across 25 states and the US Virgin Islands for the first time in history, all 10 of FEMA’s regional response coordination centers were activated. The enterprise provided over 5 million vaccinations to citizens in need and executed more than $5 billion in FEMA, reimbursable budget authority operation allies, welcome, showcase the dedication to serving our nation and our allies. You executed more than $4.5 billion of overseas humanitarian disaster and civic aid when processing more than 85,000 people, including more than 76,000 Afghan nationals through eight military installations within the US and welcoming them into our country and our communities. We’ve remained in full after burner while waiting confirmation of a new commander. The commands recognize it is vital for nations to continually to adapt and stay ahead of emerging threats and challenges. The homeland defense design. Next concept addresses this imperative, offering a forward thinking approach to force design. The design identifies credible concepts and capabilities including un crude autonomous, unmanned kinetic and non-kinetic concepts. Changing the conversation on the application of homeland defense capabilities, I remain confident in NORAD and North com to conduct their missions effectively every day but there is still work to be done. Global integration remains a challenge across the department. We continue to apply regional solutions to global all domain problem sets in strategy plans, force management and design while continuing to apply industrial age processes to acquisition and emerging data driven technologies. We must adapt any strategy that assumes global power projection from a safe and secure homeland and does not adequately account for the current strategic environment is a strategy of extreme risk to execute our signed missions NORAD and north com require improved and increased domain awareness, adequate infrastructure and access to trained, ready and equipped forces. I am concerned for our nations a divided nation leading to an inability to focus on strategic imperatives and threats, continuing resolutions and the failure of Congress to pass a budget on time in 13 of the last 14 years. Hollow promises that don’t equal tangible investments in support of the stated number one priority of homeland defense. The division between perspectives that erodes the public’s confidence in our military and the exceptional people who serve our nations every day. I am concerned that our younger leaders are more concerned about being liked than respected. And a view of political correctness has undermined the primacy of leadership and war fighting. The only constant in more than 36 years of service is change and yet through the continued change in our society and within our government, I remain proud of this single evident truth. We have the most capable, powerful professional military on the planet and the world has ever seen and don’t ever forget it to General Guillo and Caroline. You are absolutely the right team at the right time to carry on the work of NORAD and North com. The security environment is certainly gonna challenge you as will institutional challenges, but I have the utmost faith and confidence, trust in your ability to lead the incredible men and women that make up no ad North Com, if you don’t mind, I’d like to give you three pieces of advice. Tell our senior leaders both in Canada and the United States. What they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Take care of our most important resource. It’s the people out here, they will take care of you in the mission and take care of yourself and your family. This is absolutely a marathon and not a sprint. And soon you will have the watch. As Chairman Brown once told me the journey in uniform is like a long train ride. I don’t know if you remember this chairman, there will be many stops along the way. And what really matters is when you get to the final stop is who gets off the train with you?
And are you ready to enjoy?
This was stop number 20 for the van hers. I asked Marilyn to marry me on the day we left on the first stop. That was for pilot training. She’s made every stop along the way. She’s absolutely my best friend. She’s a wonderful spouse, mother and grandmother. We raised an amazing daughter, Molly Jean and we’re thankful and proud of Molly Molly together with her husband. Navy Lieutenant Taylor Scott, have given us two amazing grandsons and we’re happy to announce there’s a third on the way. But this time it’s a granddaughter. Thanks for always being there. Marilyn, I could not have imagined making the journey without you. It’s been an honor of the honor of my life to serve for more than 36 years. I’m proud that I maintain my integrity and character all the way through to the last stop. I’m grateful that the van Hers made it to the end of this long train ride as a family together with incredible friends, surrounded by the incredible NORAD and us North comp team at our house. There’s a sign that says Van Herk and below it, it says home is where the air force sends you. There are 20 stations below that sign and the final one says Home Maryland. Let’s go home. Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated on behalf of the commands. We would like to present Mrs. Marilyn Van Herk with red roses in recognition of her devotion and dedication to the service members and families of NORAD and us North com red is the color of the heart and reflects the loving concern. Mrs. Van Herk has shown for the commands and their families. Thank you, ma’am. Ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated as we commence the change of command ceremonies. General Eyre is the presiding official for the North American Aerospace Defense Command change of command and will execute the passing of the NORAD flag from General Van Hk to General Guillo leading with the colors is Sergeant major James Porterfield Nora and us North com command, senior enlisted leader by direction of the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada, General Glenn D Van Herk relinquished command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Effective 5 February 2024 General Gregory M Guillo is directed to assume command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Effective 5 February 2024 General Air. You may return to your seat. The presiding official for the United States Northern Command change of command is the Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H Hicks who will now execute the passing of the US north com flag from General Van Herk to General Guillo, Deputy Secretary Hicks. You may proceed by direction of the president of the United States General Glenn D. Van Herk relinquished command of the United States Northern Command effective 5 February 2024 Guillo is directed to assume command of the United States Northern Command effective 5 February 2024 Deputy Secretary Hicks. You may return to your seat. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct privilege to introduce General Gregory M Guillo commander North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. Thank you and good morning, it’s a tremendous honor to be here today as the new Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command, I feel a great deal of thanks to so many people for this opportunity. And first, I’d like to thank President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau for trusting me to lead these commands. That are so vital to the defense and security of the United States and Canada. I’d also like to thank Secretary Austin Minister Blair, Deputy Secretary Hicks, Chairman Brown Chief Heir for the confidence they’ve shown by selecting me for this position. I’m very fortunate to serve with my family’s constant and unquestioned support. Caroline, my incredible wife of 34 years and our daughter, Elizabeth and Son Mark are with me today just as they’ve been through countless deployments and over 20 moves, all three are not only supportive of me and those with whom I serve and their families, but also strongly support our important mission. I’d also like to thank the most influential mentors. I’ve had my parents red, a career for Spider pilot and Vietnam veteran who passed away in 2020. And Susan, who handled the challenges of military family life with strength and humor. I’m sure my sisters, Mar Marie and Chrissy and my brother Robert, who are here today along with some of their family would agree. I’d also like to add a special, thank you to General tj O’Shaughnessy who is here today. And General Laurie Robinson, who is watching closely from Florida for providing tireless leadership to so many over their careers and for their incredible service while maintaining the watch as NORAD and North Com commanders, a staggering and humbling number of friends and family have braved the weather over the weekend to attend the ceremony today, Caroline and I Thank you for your unquestioned support and your timeless friendship to the state and local officials and civic leaders. Thank you for attending and for your unwavering support of these commands and the women and men who serve in them. I’m excited to once again be part of the Colorado Springs community. Your support of military members is widely known and greatly appreciated. I’m pleased to join my friends, General Stephen Whiting, Lieutenant General Rich Clark and Major General Dave Doyle in being enthusiastic teammates to this great city. And finally, I’d like to thank General Glenn Van Herk and his wife, Marilyn for their tremendous 36 years of service, phenomenal leadership of NORA and North com and the heartfelt welcome. They showed us. It has always been a pleasure to serve with Glenn and Caroline. And I wish you both the best of luck as you return home to Missouri Homeland Defense is a fundamental duty of the Department of Defense. And I can think of no greater honor than leading the commands responsible for that vital mission. Today. The United States and Canada face an extraordinarily complicated and quickly changing strategic environment. Competitors can hold North America at risk in multiple domains from all avenues of approach and are increasing both their capability and their capacity to strike the homeland either kinetically or non-kinetically at a rate far exceeding the pace seen just a few years ago, since our competitors advanced long range weapon systems and delivery platforms pose challenges from within and even well beyond our operational boundaries. Nord and north com will follow the guidance of the national defense strategy to campaign with fellow combatant commands to deliver an integrated layered and seamless defense of our homeland. And due to that threat environment, it is clear that NORAD and North com and their complementary missions are more imperative today than ever before. The success of both commands in the United States and Canada and providing defense support of civilian, excuse me, civil authorities during our nation’s greatest time of need is only possible with dedicated and disciplined forces. Strong collaboration with the interagency, the National Guard Bureau and state partners, as well as the close national alliances, friendships and partnerships with the United States. Shares with Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas General Van Herk expertly fostered those relationships and I’m fully committed to doing the same. And I look forward to meeting with my distinguished counterparts from Mexico, the Bahamas and Canada as soon as possible. As I mentioned, the disciplined and dedicated joint and multinational women and men who serve in these commands are the reason for its unquestioned success. Their care and professional growth will always be a top priority under my command. And I pledge to each member that I will devote my full effort leading them the way they deserve to be led as I soon command today, the scope and importance of our homeland defense mission is not lost. On me, we owe the American and Canadian citizens that depend on us a relentless disciplined approach to defending our homelands in all domains from all avenues of approach against all who intend us harm, delivering that defense in today’s challenging environment is our commands, no fail mission. And I’m honored to join the team of men and women of NORAD and North com conducting that mission. And I proudly assure you that we have the watch. Thank you. Thank you, General Gu. We welcome you and your family with open arms and look forward to the future as part of that. Welcome. We would like to present Mrs. Caroline Guillo with a bouquet of yellow roses. Welcome, welcoming her to NORAD and Us North com. The men and women of NORAD and us North Com are proud to have served with General Van Herk and we wish him and his family every success and happiness in their future endeavors. This concludes the NORAD and Us North Com Change of Command ceremony. Thank you all for attending return bus transportation to the hub in building two is now available. Please stand for the playing of the service medley and the departure of the official party. Ok. Thank you for with her. So fish.