US Pursues Missile Defense Cooperation With Russia

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Recognizing the growing threat from short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to US deployed forces, allies, and partners, the United States of America tody underlined its commitment to pursue missile defense cooperation with Russia.

In his remarks today at Paris in France, Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank A. Rose for Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance discussed US efforts to pursue cooperation with the Russian Federation.

He stresses that missile defense cooperation with Russia is a Presidential priority, as it has been for several Administrations going back to President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

“When President Obama announced his new vision for missile defense in Europe in September 2009, he stated that “we welcome Russia’s cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of our common strategic interests.” -Mr. Rose

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

He notes missile defense cooperation with Russia will not only strengthen our bilateral and NATO-Russia relationships, but also could enhance NATO’s missile defense capabilities.

Successful missile defense cooperation would provide concrete benefits to Russia, NATO Allies, and the United States and will strengthen strategic stability over the long term, he added.

Mr. Rose underlines it is important to get the Russian Federation inside the missile defense tent now, working alongside the United States and NATO, while they are in the early stages of their efforts.

He notes close cooperation between Russia and the United States and NATO is the best and most enduring way for Russia to gain the assurance that European missile defenses cannot and will not undermine its strategic deterrent.

“Russia is not being asked to blindly trust us.” -Mr. Rose

He stresses that through cooperation, Russia would see firsthand that this system is designed for the ballistic missile threat from outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and that NATO missile defense systems will not undermine Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent capabilities.

Cooperation would send a strong message to proliferators that the United States, NATO, and Russia are working together to counter their efforts, Mr. Rose stressed.

“That said, Russia has raised the issue of wanting a legal guarantee with a set of “military-technical criteria” that could, in effect, create limitations on our ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems against regional ballistic missile threats such as those presented by Iran and North Korea.” -Mr. Rose

The US has made it clear that it cannot and will not accept limitations on ots ability to defend themseleves, its allies, and its partners, including where they deploy their BMD-capable Aegis ships.

He notes these are multi-mission ships that are used for a variety of purposes around the world, not just for missile defense.

While we seek to develop ways to cooperate with Russia on missile defense, Mr. Rose stresses that it is important to remember that under the terms of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO alone bears responsibility for defending the Alliance from the ballistic missile threat.

“This is why the United States and NATO cannot agree to Russia’s proposal for “sectoral” missile defense.” -Mr. Rose

He says just as Russia must ensure the defense of Russian territory, NATO must ensure the defense of NATO territory.

NATO cannot and will not outsource its Article 5 commitments, he added.

He cites that during the G-20 Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, President Obama and President Putin announced in their June 18 Joint Statement that “despite differences in assessments, we have agreed to continue a joint search for solutions to challenges in the field of missile defense.”

Mr. Rose underlines that the United States looks forward to continuing discussions with the Russian Federation to develop a mutually agreed framework for missile defense cooperation.

He adds that today’s ballistic missile threats continue to increase in number and sophistication.

This increasing threat reinforces the importance of US collaborative missile defense efforts with allies and partners around the world, which not only strengthen regional stability, but also provide protection for US forces serving abroad and augment the defense of the United States, Mr. Rose noted.

The US government wants and is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

During an interview with Elena Chernenko of Kommersant Daily in Moscow, US Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller for Arms Control and International Security said the 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.

The United States is working with Russia bilaterally and also through NATO channels to find forms of cooperation that will benefit the U.S. and Russia and their European partners.

U.S. and Russia have been cooperating in this area for a long time, making every effort to see that nuclear materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists.

The United States also intends to revitalize the system of conventional arms control in Europe and are prepared to begin working on that in the coming months.

The U.S. intends to work on all three areas in order to revitalize the negotiations on conventional arms control in Europe.

Implementation of the NEW STARY treaty has already contributed significantly to increasing confidence between the U.S. and Russia, and therefore it has improved the relationship between our countries in general, she stressed.

Both the U.S. and Russia have carried out their obligations under the treaty, but at the same time they have fully exercised the rights and utilized the opportunities provided to them.

Both countries have each conducted the maximum of 18 permitted inspections.

Both sides also exchanged more than 2,000 notifications about their strategic arms.

President Obama has said on many occasions that the U.S. is committed to finding a mutually acceptable approach on missile defense cooperation with Russia, Ms. Gottemoller said.

The United States believes that such cooperation can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and Russia.

President Obama has also indicated that the US can’t limit the U.S. and NATO missile defense system to a legally binding framework.

However, President Obama has repeatedly stressed both publicly and privately that U.S. and NATO missile defense efforts are not intended nor are they capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrence forces.

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.

These recent proposals build on earlier initiatives that involved sharing missile warning data and providing timely launch notifications between two countries.

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.