NORAD stands for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which is a military bi-national organization. The two nations in charge of NORAD are the United States and Canada, since these are the two countries that make up North America.
NORAD is responsible for controlling all of the aerospace operations and missions throughout North America, including looking for warning attacks by missiles, space vehicles and other aircraft. In 2006, when the NORAD agreement was renewed, both the United States and Canada agreed to implement a maritime warning mission so that both countries would be prepared in case of a maritime crisis. NORAD also helps to strengthen the alliance between both countries.
NORAD works closely with the security organizations, law enforcement officers and homeland defense in each country as well to, once again, be aware of possible attacks or threats from other countries. The commander of NORAD listens to orders from both the Canadian prime minister and the United States president.
The NORAD headquarters are in Colorado at the Peterson Air Force Base. There are also additional regional headquarters in Alaska, Manitoba and Florida. NORAD proved itself to be a valuable resource during the September 11, 2001 tragic events. NORAD continues to develop new training practices and refine its response to potential terrorist threats.