By Robert Beckhusen Edit
NORAD deputy commander and Canadian Forces Col. Todd Balfe, right, on board a Fencing 1220 aircraft with Russian Air Force Col. Alexander Vasilyev during Vigilant Eagle 2011. This year’s exercises brings officers like Vasilyev out of the skies and into NORAD’s headquarters.
During the Cold War, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, watched out for a potential nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. But times have changed. Now NORAD is inviting members of the Russian military in.
This week, a group of Russian officers will train alongside their U.S. and Canadian counterparts to respond to a simulated terrorist hijacking above the Arctic Circle. One group, led by Maj. Gen. Sergei Dronov, is operating out of Norad’s HQ at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. A second will work out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. Still more Russian troops will operate in Russia’s far east.