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Implementation Of Missile Defense


An inert missile interceptor at the missile defense site at Ft. Greely, Alaska. (file)

The United States has been making steady progress in implementing its ballistic missile defense program.

The United States has been making steady progress in implementing its ballistic missile defense program also known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

Phase one of the program became operational in 2011 with the deployment of an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-capable ship to the Mediterranean and the deployment of a radar in Turkey. This radar has since transitioned to NATO operational control.

Under Phase Two, the U.S. has an agreement with Romania to host a U.S. land-based SM-3 interceptor site in the 2015 timeframe, employing upgraded SM-3 Block IB interceptors. This site, combined with ballistic missile defense-, or BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean will enhance coverage of NATO from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.

Phase Three places a land-based interceptor site, similar to Phase Two, in Redzikowo, Poland, and includes a further upgraded interceptor, the SM-3 Block IIA, capable of intercepting intermediate-range ballistic missile threats to NATO territory and populations. This Phase Three site is on schedule to deploy in the 2018 timeframe.

On March 15, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the Department of Defense cancelled Phase 4 of the EPAA and, instead of developing and deploying a next-generation SM-3 IIB interceptor to Europe, the United States will strengthen its homeland defense by procuring additional Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors for deployment at its existing site at Fort Greely, Alaska.

Moreover, with the support of the Japanese government, the U.S. will deploy an additional BMD radar in Japan. This will provide improved early warning and tracking of any ballistic missile launched from North Korea at the United States and/or Japan.

Even as the U.S. develops missile defense cooperation with NATO, the U.S. is also seeking to work cooperatively with Russia. The U.S., said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose, remains “convinced that missile defense cooperation between the United States and Russia and between NATO and Russia is in the national security interests of all countries involved.”

At the NATO summit in Chicago, the Alliance made very clear its intent regarding strategic stability and Russia’s strategic deterrent. “NATO missile defense in Europe,” the statement said, “will not undermine strategic stability. NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.”

The United States and its NATO Allies have made significant progress towards the Lisbon Summit goal of developing a NATO BMD capability to pursue NATO’s core task of collective defense. The U.S. commitment to implementing EPAA remains ironclad.
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