NORAD orders photos of troops be released to ‘reassure the American public’

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the US Northern Command has sought to allay fears about homeland defense though the release of images of troops in action, according to a report.

The command — which is managing the Department of Defense’s response to the crisis while keeping the US safe from enemy attacks – ordered public affairs units to release the photos “to reassure the American public they don’t have to worry about homeland defense,” The Washington Times reports.

“Showing the U.S. and Canada are fully capable of providing homeland defense for their countries, despite COVID-19, serves to help deter anyone who would seek to take advantage of the situation,” according to the April 8 order from the command and the North American Aerospace Defense, or NORAD.

Public affairs should produce “images of military members performing their duties, either homeland defense or DSCA [defense support of civil authorities] …. proper PPE [personal protective equipment] and, or social distance are preferred,” according to the order obtained by the news outlet.

“NORAD and USNorthCom components subordinates and associated units should continue to capture imagery of military personnel performing their duties,” it added.

NORAD and Colorado Springs-based USNORTHCOM commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy recently held a virtual press briefing about contributions to the “Whole of America” coronavirus response, according to the Denver CBS affiliate.

“We’re used to maybe providing assistance for a hurricane-ravaged area, where maybe a couple states are impacted. This is affecting our whole nation and Colorado is not exempt from this,” O’Shaughnessy said. “While we continue to provide national-level assistance, we have to maintain our ability to operate here in Colorado, so we have taken some actions to be able to do that.”

USNORTHCOM’s mission is to deter, detect and defeat threats to the US, conduct security cooperation activities with allies and partners, and support civil authorities.

The current threat is the coronavirus – and O’Shaughnessy described a war-like approach to combating it.

“We’re definitely treating this as a large military campaign, and it starts with our commander in chief,” O’Shaughnessy said, according to the news station. “He’s declared war on COVID-19, and that’s exactly how we’re treating it.”

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