Change in Commands

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The new Northern Command, created by the United States military branches, formally accepted the assignment of defending North America in a ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs. There the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard will work together to plan for the prevention and deterrence of attacks on the United States.

Headed by Air Force General Ralph Eberhart, Northern Command now is responsible for defense and security of a territory including the 48 contiguous states and Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and waters up to 500 miles off the coast.

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A new commander for Fort Carson has been honored at a ceremony Tuesday. Major General Robert Wilson succeeds Major General Charles Campbell, who has been promoted to lieutenant general and will take over duties with the Eighth US Army in Korea.

Wilson is the post's 52nd commander and was last assigned to oversee U-S-Egyptian military cooperation in Cairo. He was a former commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. Also honored was the new command sergeant major of the Seventh Infantry Division, Terrance McWilliams. He replaces George Ponder.

In another ceremony, US Space Command and the US Strategic Command officially merged today at a ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base just south of Omaha, Nebraska.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers spoke at the ceremony. Myers says responsibility for the command will include computer warfare and missile defense. He says the mission's future is limited in the US military only by its imagination.

StratCom Commander Admiral James Ellis Junior is nominated to take over as commander of the unified mission. His nomination cleared the Senate Arms Committee, and only awaits approval by the full Senate. That could happen yet this week. Ellis says the new organization has got to think outside the box and find creative ways to protect the United States from its enemies.