I will start by giving the NORAD perspective, because I think we would first be engaging in the detection of a ballistic missile launch. This is under our aerospace warning mission, which long predates ballistic missile defence, by the way.
As I described in my opening remarks, we have Canadians manning consoles alongside our U.S. partners at our operations centre, fully participant and with full view and full situational awareness of what's happening and what's coming our way. We'd have this warning. While the warning's being worked within the staff in the NORAD headquarters, this warning would also be shared with our partners here in Canada through a CFIC organization. CJOC is also in on those conferences, and will be tracking the same activity we will be tracking. The Canadian government, through the CDS, will be informed very quickly of something that's coming our way, coming toward North America.
The next phase will be an assessment, again under our aerospace warning mission, where we will be making a determination of whether or not this missile is an attack or something else. It could be a research and development shot. It could be something that in fact is not an attack. That's a fairly important assessment, because the chain of events that follows will be determined by that assessment.
At that point, Canadians in the NORAD enterprise will go back into watch mode for further shots, for something else coming in. We never quit. We are always at the station. At this point, in terms of the engagement, it will be totally and entirely a U.S. decision to engage that missile or not. We are not a part of that discussion. We are in the room, however. We are sitting side by side. For example, as deputy commander of NORAD, I have an equal status to the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command. We'll be sitting side by side to understand exactly what's happening. It's kind of a complementary mission, if you want.
From that point of view, we will have the warning, we will know where it's going, and then the U.S. will decide whether they defend against that missile or not.