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Iran Shows Need For Missile Defense

In a photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test, off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. (File Photo)

Iran, along with North Korea, continues to pursue technologies that could support long-range missile development.

At a recent multinational missile defense conference in Tel Aviv, Frank Rose, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, pointed to the Iranian government's ballistic missile program as one important reason why missile defense plays a key role in U.S. international security strategy.

Iran, along with North Korea, continues to pursue technologies that could support long-range missile development, such as space launch vehicles, said Deputy Assistant Secretary Rose: "There is no doubt that these states currently seek to target U.S. forces deployed in their regions, as well as our allies and partners."

To counter missile threats from states like Iran, Mr. Rose said the Obama administration has developed a region-by region approach based on three principles. First, the U.S. will deter adversaries "through strong regional deterrence architectures built upon strong cooperative relationships and appropriate burden sharing with our allies and partners."

Second, the U.S. will pursue a Phased Adaptive Approach, or PAA, within key regions. This means, said Mr. Rose, the U.S. "will phase in and implement the best available technology to meet existing and evolving threats, and adapt to situations that evolve in an unforeseen manner." Thirdly, "in order to meet a global demand for missile defense assets that will continue to exceed supply, the United States will develop mobile capabilities that can be relocated to adapt to a changing threat, or provide surge defense capabilities where they are most needed."

The United States is also seeking to work cooperatively with countries on missile defense. "The growing proliferation of missile threats reinforces the importance of the collaborative missile defense efforts," said Mr. Rose. "Together we can work to protect what our adversaries would put at risk, both now and in the future."

The U.S. approach to missile defense, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Rose, "assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter, and if necessary, defeat a potential ballistic missile attack against friends, partners, the U.S. homeland, and our forward deployed troops and assets."