Eberhart: 9-11 Created Need for New Unified Command http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=28852
However, NORTHCOM also has a mission to provide military assistance to civil authorities, "when determined by the president and the secretary (of defense), which is different than what the other commands have," he pointed out. Homeland security threats could originate from outside the United States, as well, Eberhart noted, but "in most cases, it emanates, it begins, right here in the United States, through terrorism."
NORTHCOM must be prepared to provide military support to civil authorities "when it's deemed to be warranted" by the president and secretary of defense, Eberhart noted.For example, he continued, NORTHCOM could be directed by higher command authority to secure key infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and bridges, or to assist in disaster-relief operations State governors and other federal agencies,
Eberhart pointed out, would normally request such support according to established laws, noting, "we wouldn't just ride into town and take over."NORTHCOM now represents "one-stop shopping for military support" for homeland defense missions, the Air Force general remarked, noting that in the past many military organizations could have been called upon to provide people and equipment to deal with domestic contingencies.