Washington — Missile defense is a crucial element in the U.S. international security strategy, supporting deterrence and diplomacy, a senior U.S. diplomat said July 3 at an international conference in Paris.
“Missile defense assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter and, if necessary, defeat a limited ballistic missile attack against the U.S. homeland and regional ballistic missile attacks against our deployed forces, allies and partners,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose said at the 8th International Conference on Missile Defense.
Rose, who is in the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said the United States recognizes the serious threat posed by ballistic missiles to its military forces stationed abroad, its allies and its partners, and is working to create an environment based on strong cooperation to diminish any adversary’s belief in the value of a ballistic missile attack.
The threat from ballistic missiles is expected to grow in the coming years as some states are increasing their inventories and making their ballistic missiles more accurate, reliable and survivable, Rose said.
President Obama in September 2009, acting on the recommendation of the U.S. secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the European Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense to provide protection as quickly as possible. Through the phased approach, the United States will deploy assets to defend Europe against a ballistic missile threat from the Middle East, Rose said.
And at the November 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, alliance members committed to adopt missile defense as an alliance mission. NATO allies have committed to investing more than $1 billion for command, control and communications infrastructure to support NATO missile defense, Rose said.
Obama chose to shift away from the deployment of 10 ground-based interceptors and a single radar site in Europe to a system using land- and sea-based SM-3 missile interceptors to provide protection for the United States homeland and NATO European allies. Since September last year, there have been several major breakthroughs that are driving the program to completion.
First, Turkey has agreed to host the Phase One advanced radar system. Romania has agreed to host the Phase Two land-based SM-3 antimissile interceptor site, and Poland has agreed to host the Phase 3 land-based interceptor site, which is expected to be completed in the 2018 timeframe, Rose said.
“The land-based SM-3 system to be deployed to Romania is anticipated to become operational in the 2015 timeframe,” Rose told the conference.
In October, Spain agreed to serve as the home port for four U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers at Naval Station Rota, about 100 kilometers northwest of Gibraltar. The port has hosted U.S. Navy ships since the early 1950s.
Rose added that at the 2012 Chicago NATO Summit the allies announced that NATO has achieved an interim ballistic missile defense capability. “This means that the alliance has an operationally meaningful, standing, peacetime ballistic missile defense capability,” he said.
Rose said the United States and NATO welcome Russia’s cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of common strategic interests.
“Missile defense cooperation with Russia will not only strengthen our bilateral and NATO-Russian relationships, but also could enhance NATO’s missile defense capabilities,” Rose said. “Successful missile defense cooperation would provide concrete benefits to Russia, our NATO allies and the United States, and will strengthen, not weaken, strategic stability over the long run.”