WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand today discussed modernization of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and military assistance for Ukraine’s defense at a meeting at the Pentagon.
NORAD is a United States-Canada organization with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America.
Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation and warning of an attack against North America — whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles — through mutual support arrangements with other commands.
Canada and the U.S., working through NORAD, tracked the recent Chinese surveillance balloon that violated the sovereignty of both countries, Austin said.
“That coordination underscored the importance of our alliance and the need for continued investment in NORAD modernization on both sides,” he said.
“We remain concerned by the PRC’s increasingly assertive efforts to subvert the rules-based international order that keeps us all secure,” Austin said about China’s actions.
Austin also mentioned that Canada and the U.S. are members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which supports Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
Spotlight: Support for Ukraine
“I’m very grateful for Canada’s leadership on Ukraine, including your recent announcement to donate Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, and I look forward to building on that work today,” the secretary said.
On Jan. 26, Anand announced that Canada will supply Ukraine with four Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks from the Canadian armed force’s inventory.
During that announcement, the minister also said that Canada will provide ammunition and spare parts, as well as deploying Canadian forces to a third country to train Ukrainian soldiers on the use of the tanks.
“Canada’s donation is the result of extensive coordination with allies and partners, who are also planning to donate Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine among other Western battle tanks. Canada will work with like-minded allies on discussions relating to tank fleet donations and a sustainment strategy for Ukraine,” Anand said in her announcement.
Austin also thanked Anand for Canada’s support for bringing greater stability and prosperity to Haiti.
“Our neighbors in Canada are more than allies and more than friends. We consider you to be family,” he said.
Canada has committed over $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine and has trained over 35,000 members of Ukrainian armed forces, Anand said.
And Canada continues to collaborate and cooperate with the U.S. on NORAD modernization, she said.
“The United States is Canada’s closest ally. And I want to reiterate how we share more than just the border. We share common values; we share common belief in democracy, in freedom and the rule of law. And our partnership continues to grow,” Anand said.