Is NATO Missile Defense Directed Against Russia?

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With its commitment to deploy effective missile defenses to protect the US homeland and its Allies around the world from proliferation of ballistic missiles, the United States of America today underlined that NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.

In her remarks at 2012 RUSI Missile Defense Conference in London, Special Envoy Ellen Tauscher for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense said the US is working with its NATO Allies to develop a meaningful strategic partnership with Russia in the area of missile defense cooperation.

Ms. Tauschers says the missile defense cooperation can achieve two very important objectives.

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U.S. President Barack Obama with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

First, she cites that it would allow Russia to see with its own eyes what they doing on missile defense and it will give them time to demonstrate how their systems operate.

“It will allow Russia to see that the European Phased Adaptive Approach is not directed against Russia, but limited regional threats from outside of Europe… not Russia.” -Ms. Tauscher

Second, she notes that it could give the United States, NATO, and Russia the opportunity to forge a true strategic partnership that enhances security for all.

“Russia should come inside the missile defense cooperation tent and see what we are doing.” – Ms. Tauscher

Russia has also observed US intercept tests in the past and the invitation to observe a future test still stands, she added.

We will also be working with our NATO Allies to ensure how to best protect NATO European populations and territory.

At the same time, she stresses that the U.S., NATO and Russia can work together on a broad range of cooperation: Sharing sensor data, working on developing common pre-planned responses, conducting a joint analysis of missile defense systems, and working together on missile defense exercises.

The United States and NATO have been transparent about our missile defense programs, Ms. Tauscher stressed.

The US has provided Russia with a number of ideas and approaches for transparency.

She adds that the United States is also committed to discussing other approaches to building confidence between the two countries.

In addition, she highlighted that if Russia doesn’t like what it has learned throughout this period of cooperation, then it can terminate cooperation at any point.

It will take time and effort to build the trust that is currently lacking on this issue, Ms. Tauscher stressed.

“But let me be clear. While we can work cooperatively together, we cannot agree to the pre-conditions outlined by the Russian Government.” -Ms. Tauscher

She notes that the US government will not agree to limitations on the capabilities and numbers of our missile defense systems.

The US cannot agree to any “military-technical criteria,” that would, in effect, limit its ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems that will protect us against regional threats such as Iran and North Korea, she cited.

“If we can work together on European missile defense, and make this a subject for cooperation rather than competition, that would be a game-changer for our security relationship.” -Ms. Tauscher

She notes that that there are risks involved, and it takes courage to move away from familiar ways and long-held positions. However, she stresses that those risks are manageable.

“So we will keep working to see if we can come up with a plan for cooperation.” -Ms. Tauscher

At the Conference, Ms. Tauscher highlighted that the progress on missile defense is remarkable given that NATO only made its decision to develop a territorial ballistic missile defense capability 18 months ago.

In that year-and-a-half period, she notes that the United States and our NATO Allies have achieved an operationally significant peacetime ballistic missile defense capability.

“That means that NATO now has its first missile defense radar, its first interceptors, a single commander, and a NATO command and control system for ballistic missile defense.” -Ms. Tauscher

This progress was only possible because our NATO Allies embraced President Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), which is focused on protecting our European allies and deployed U.S. forces against the existing ballistic missile threats, she underscored.

On March this year, the United States of America underscored that its missile defense plans will not undercut Russia’s national security.

United States always stresses how cooperation with Russia can help establish a new security environment in Europe.

With the relentless efforts of the United States to fight nuclear terrorism, the US government wants and is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

US intends to continue negotiations with Moscow on broadening missile defense cooperation with Russia both in diplomatic channels and at the military-to-military level.

Both governments are continuing to discuss a mutually acceptable approach to practical missile defense cooperation.

United States and Russia have been working together to transform mistrust into partnerships and progress as both countries affirmed cooperation in keeping global security after the end of the Cold War.

In an effort to promote understanding and cooperation on missile defense issues, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed at the July 2009 Moscow Summit to conduct joint assessments of missile challenges and threats, which we now refer to as the Joint Threat Assessment, or JTA, for short.

The objective of these talks has been, at a minimum, to share with one another our respective threat perspectives and, if possible, to come to agreement on the nature of the common threats that both countries face. Both Governments have held three JTA sessions, in July and December 2009, and again in May 2010.

The United States has offered a number of proposals for bilateral missile defense cooperation. Specific areas of potential cooperation include, among other things:

Joint research and development; Joint missile defense testing; Joint modeling and simulations; Missile defense exercises; and Joint analyses of alternative U.S.-Russian missile defense architectures for defending against common, regional threats.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.