New Name, Same Mission

NORAD’s air sovereignty alert mission is now called aerospace control alert. “The name is changing, in case you didn’t know,” said Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, Air National Guard director, last month at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. “It’s not going to be ASA anymore, it’s going to be ACA.” The name change has been under way for some time. Angela Pope, Air Forces Northern spokeswoman, told the Daily Report that NORAD’s leadership approved the change in September 2010. She said command officials believed that “ASA inaccurately carried with it the notion that NORAD alert forces only perform air sovereignty operations.” This is inaccurate, she continued, as “alert forces are also responsible for air defense operations.” Since NORAD uses the term aerospace control to describe air sovereignty and air defense operations, the officials opted for aerospace control alert, she said. The new name brings with it no change in the mission’s scope or purpose, said Pope. Wyatt said ACA “is performed now exclusively by the Air National Guard in 16 locations over the continental United States.” The Air Guard also protects Hawaiian airspace, while active duty units cover Alaska, he said.