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Posted 1/21/2016 Printable Fact Sheet

 A Proud History of Guarding America and Defending Freedom

In December 1994, the New York Air National Guard assumed primary responsibility for manning the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), as it was then known. Since then, the Sector has been staffed predominately by New York Guardsmen, along with a Canadian Forces detachment, U.S. Army, Navy, Coast Guard liaison officers and civilian personnel. EADS defends more than 180 million Americans, every hour of every day, and has long served as a first line in the nation's defense.

Air Defense Origins. During WWII, the British developed an air defense reporting system that combined newly-developed radar technology with intelligence and ground observation. This "air picture" enabled Air Defense Sectors to direct fighter aircraft to intercept enemy aircraft. This system proved highly successful during the 1940 Battle of Britain, enabling the outnumbered British fighter pilots to defeat the Luftwaffe and deter an invasion of England. Winston Churchill declared of those defending Britain's skies, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Air Defense in the U.S. In 1958, in response to the threat of long-range Soviet bombers, the U.S. and Canada signed a treaty creating the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), responsible for both countries' air defense and air sovereignty. Air Defense Sectors were established soon after, including the New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) headquartered at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. Responsibility for air defense of the Northeast changed with various reorganizations, eventually leading to the 1987 activation of HQ Northeast Air Defense Sector at Griffiss Air Force Base.

The Air National Guard and Air Defense. In the mid-1990s, the Air National Guard (ANG) assumed responsibility for leading U.S. air defense. ANG flying units had performed the air defense mission for decades. However, as a result of this initiative, activated Guardsmen command and staff the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and its subordinate Sector HQs. The Northeast Sector was the first to transition. In December 1994, the NY National Guard activated the Northeast Air Defense Squadron to staff the Sector HQ. That NYANG unit formally became the 224 Air Defense Group in January 2015.

9-11 Changes Air Defense. During the Cold War, NORAD focused on external threats: long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, this Air Defense Sector pioneered many of the changes that now allow it to build a detailed internal air picture to identify and engage air threats originating within North America. In addition to the Sector Operations Center in Rome, EADS maintains two detachments in the National Capital Region to better defend critical assets and improve interagency communication. In 2006, the Southeast Air Defense Sector HQ was inactivated and NEADS (now EADS) assumed responsibility for defending the airspace east of the Mississippi.

Over the Horizon. Looking ahead, EADS recognizes the considerable challenge of staying ahead of evolving threats to the homeland. Geopolitical upheaval, growing extremism, and rapid technological change combine to create new and greater risks to U.S. security. We will meet these challenges and risks through our deep commitment to mission excellence, innovation, and a unit culture of respect and mutual support.

We will detect and defeat the next air attack on America!

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