The U.S. Senate Thursday night confirmed the Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard, Major General Michael Dubie, to a top post in the U.S. military's homeland defense mission. General Dubie, nominated by President Obama, will be the Deputy Commander of the United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military's unified command in charge of protecting U.S. territory and providing military support for civil authorities in the event of a national emergency. Senator Patrick Leahy (D) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I), joined in the effort by Representative Peter Welch (D), had pushed for prompt Senate action on the nomination.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch Thursday night said: "This is a proud moment for Vermont and a great credit to our exemplary Guard. General Dubie has given Vermonters the benefit of his skill and leadership, which meant so much to our state during major deployments to Afghanistan and in Irene's wake. The nation now will have the value of his service in this vital and sensitive new assignment."
Dubie, who has headed Vermont's National Guard since 2006, will become a three-star general. He will be the third general from the ranks of the National Guard to fill the number two position at NORTHCOM. Leahy, who chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus, succeeded in enacting reforms that set aside this position for National Guard general officers under Leahy's National Guard Empowerment Act of 2008.
NORTHCOM, created in 2002 in the aftermath of 9/11, is co-located with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition to protecting the contiguous United States, NORTHCOM is responsible for Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and surrounding international waters out to 500 nautical miles.