THE 1996 NORAD RENEWAL AGREEMENT

The NORAD Agreement, up for renewal in the spring of this year, has been tabled in the House in Commons for discussion. This is a completely rewritten agreement and constitutes an invitation to Canada to participate in three missile defence programs presently housed within the U.S. Space Command which shares a Commander and Headquarters space with NORAD. The three programs are:

1] A U.S. National Ballistic Missile Defence Program which in its present form is ABM Treaty compliant, relying on the 100 ground based, single site, missile interceptors allowed by the ABM Treaty. The program which USSPACECOM, with the approval of Congress, plans to deploy by the year 2003 is a multi-site capability capable of `dealing with' both ballistic and `theatre' missiles of threat to the USA. Such a program would require the retirement of the ABM Treaty and `talks' of this nature have been on-going with Russia for several months. Should Canada sign onto this program, it would be a continental ballistic/theatre missile defence system and it is unclear whether this would require the siting of missile defence interceptors on Canadian territory, or if interception over Canada could take place through soft ware programming that would direct US interceptors to intercept over Canada. This is not the space-based missile defence shield of SDI but rather a system designed to address `limited' missile attacks on the continent.

2] A Theatre Missile Defence Program This is a system similar to that used in the Gulf War which relies on the global surveillance, warning and communication technologies of USSPACECOM (as does the National Ballistic Missile Defence Program just described) to monitor missile activity world wide and communicate `battle management' information to commanders `in the field.'

3] A Shared Warning Program This program constitutes a consideration by the US, and by the US and Canada, should Canada sign on, as to which states/foreign commanders would be eligible to receive what kinds of information from these global surveillance and warning technologies and under what conditions.

As stated earlier, the new NORAD Agreement is an invitation to Canada to participate in these three programs. Should Canada decide to participate, no new agreements would be required to cover that participation. Both the Cabinet and the House of Commons were to have been given three documents upon which to base their deliberations...one written by NORAD Region Headquarters in North Bay, one written by NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs and the third, selections from the 1994 White Paper on Defence, the selections which contain mention of missile threats. Only in the North Bay document are the programs referred to, and there not explicitly. It is not clear whether that document has in fact been included in the information package for the political deliberators. The above information is based on interviews conducted with NORAD military personnel, including the Canadian Deputy Commander of NORAD at Colorado Springs in June, 1995...and it has been substantiated by those responsible for continental air/aerospace defence negotiations and activities in the Departments of National Defence and Foreign Affairs in December, 1995.

The NORAD Renewal is now tabled in the House, and has passed through the Parliament's Committee on Defence. It has yet to be discussed by Cabinet. The Agreement could possibly be signed within a few weeks...originally Ottawa hoped to have it signed by December, 1995.

Ann Denholm Crosby
Department of Political Science
York University
Crosbya@yorku.ca