Air Defense Squadron gets new commander Published Jan. 11, 2015 By Capt. John Callahan 176th Wing Public Affairs JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Lt. Col. Kevin Clifford assumed command of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Air Defense Squadron in a ceremony here Jan. 12. Clifford enlisted in the Air Force out of high school. His first assignment was at JBER (then called Elmendorf Air Force Base) in 1991. He received his commission in 2000 and returned to Alaska as an officer with the 611th Air Control Squadron. He most recently served as the Air Defense Squadron's director of operations. The mission of the 149-member Air Defense Squadron is to operate and maintain the Alaskan Region Air Operations Center of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). On behalf of NORAD and the 11th Air Force, it conducts round-the-clock air sovereignty and theater air-control operations. "This is an extraordinarily high-performing, highly motivated unit," Clifford said of the squadron. "My job is to keep it at that level, making sure we have the right people looking at the right things." Clifford takes command of the unit from Lt. Col. Scott Howard, who was named commander of the Alaska Air National Guard's 168th Mission Support Group, located at Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks.