May 13, 2010 10:16 PM by Matt Stafford

NORAD / USNORTHCOM commander talks about challenges for next in charge

Thursday morning, U.S. Air Force General Victor "Gene" Renuart, Jr. held what he called, possibly, his last press conference as commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command.

Vice Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. will take over the position that Gen. Renuart has held since 2007. Gen. Renuart is retiring after 39 years of service.

"We've moved well down the road on the areas that were a focus for me as a new commander, and certainly for the commands as we've grown over the last three years."

Gen. Renuart spoke positively about the position both NORAD and USNORTHCOM are in, and the progress they've made during his time in charge. However, Gen. Renuart said some of the challenges he's faced, like increasing cyber threats and improving long-term radar and alert capabilities, will be challenges for the next couple of commanders.

General Renuart says he saw how much improvement they had made in interagency teamwork following the Haiti earthquake, as they were able to move experts and personnel seamlessly. That's something he says wasn't as efficient following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, before he took the job.

General Renuart says that communication will be an important tool for the next in charge.

"As he comes aboard we'll have a team that is well integrated, prepared for the next challenges that we see," Gen. Renuart said.

From his position, that's the most important part of the job.

The leader is important, but the team around the leader is what's critical to success," explains General Renuart, who will hand off command of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command soon. A ceremony for the change of command is scheduled for May 19th.



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