NATO Nations Agree On Need For Missile Defense Protection
NATO nations called for “indivisible security,” agreeing that all members’ national territory must be protected from missile threats.
“There is a shared desire that any U.S. system should be complementary to any NATO missile defense system,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters in Brussels after high-level consultations. “The unanimous view was that the principle of the indivisibility of security should apply,”
Representatives from the United States, Czech Republic and Poland briefed other NATO members on proposals to emplace parts of the U.S. ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system: 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.
During the meetings, experts exchanged views on whether existing NATO missile defense projects being developed in NATO to protect its troops on operations could be “bolted on” to the U.S. system to ensure coverage of all Europe.
The United States is still working out terms and conditions for the missile defense effort with the Czech Republic and Poland.
“We’re on a timeline obviously to be able to have the sites complete by 2013,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering III, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency director, said at the press conference.
Obering added that the foundation has been laid to make European components of the U.S. BMD system compatible and interoperable with the NATO developed capability. In fact, MDA has made sure the command and control and battle management technical architecture used in the U.S. system is the same as the one NATO is building.
Once fully implemented, the U.S. missile defense system would protect U.S. territory and most — but not all — of Europe from missile threats, including potential threats from Iran and North Korea.
In late November, NATO signed a contract with SAIC [SAI] to build an Integration Test Bed for the Alliance’s future Active Layered Theatre Missile Defence (ALTBMD) capability.
The alliance wants to protect its troops in specific areas from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles by 2010. NATO TMD will be a multilayer system consisting of early warning sensors, radar and interceptors. NATO member countries will provide the sensors and weapon systems. NATO is developing a commonly funded NATO architecture to integrate all the elements.
These missile defense discussions will continue at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Oslo Thursday and Friday.