“Reinforcing Stability through Missile Defense”

Remarks of Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, U.S. Department of State
At the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation
Vienna, Austria
June 6, 2012

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak today.  This venue provides an opportunity for constructive dialogue on current security issues, and in this context, I will share an update on the U.S. approach to missile defense.  At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense policy issues, including missile defense.  In that capacity, it was my responsibility to negotiate the details of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) agreements with Poland, Romania, and Turkey that will enable the United States to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach.  I will touch more on this later in my presentation, but suffice to say that I have been focused over the last couple of years on ensuring that we are able to meet the vision President Obama laid out in his 2009 announcement regarding the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

Missile Defense Policy

Today, the threat from short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to our deployed forces, allies, and partners is growing.  This regional threat is likely to increase in both quantitative and qualitative terms in the coming years, as some states are increasing their inventories, and making their ballistic missiles more accurate, reliable, mobile, and survivable.

Recognizing the seriousness of the ballistic missile threat, the United States seeks to create an environment, based on strong cooperation with allies and partners, which will diminish an adversary’s confidence in the effectiveness of ballistic missile attacks.  This will devalue ballistic missiles and provide a disincentive for their development, acquisition, deployment, and use.  To that end, President Obama has made international cooperation on missile defense a key priority, and we are pursuing a region-by-region approach based on the following three principles:

1)    First, the United States will strengthen regional deterrence architectures built upon solid cooperative relationships with an eye toward efficiently incorporating assets and structures that our partners already have today or are seeking.

2)    Second, the United States is pursuing phased adaptive approaches (PAAs) to missile defense within key regions that are tailored to their unique deterrence requirements and threats, including the scale, scope, and pace of their development, and the capabilities available and most suited for deployment.  Specifically, we will phase in the best available technology to meet existing and evolving threats, and adapt to situations that evolve in the future.

3)    Third, recognizing that our supply of missile defense assets cannot meet the global demand we face, the United States is developing mobile capabilities that can be relocated to adapt to a changing threat and provide surge defense capabilities where they are most needed.
Missile defense plays an important role in the broader U.S. international security strategy, supporting both deterrence and diplomacy.  Missile defense assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter and, if necessary, defeat a limited ballistic missile attack against the U.S. homeland and regional ballistic missile attacks against our deployed forces, allies, and partners.

NATO and European Missile Defense

Today I will focus on our work in Europe, which continues to receive a great deal of attention.  In order to augment the defense of the United States against a future long-range threat and provide more comprehensive and more rapid protection to our deployed forces and European Allies against the current threat, President Obama outlined a four-phase approach for European missile defense called the European Phased Adaptive Approach or EPAA.  Through the EPAA, the United States will deploy increasingly capable BMD assets to defend Europe against a ballistic missile threat from the Middle East that is increasing both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The EPAA is designed to protect our deployed forces and Allies in Europe, as well as improve protection of the U.S. homeland against potential ICBMs from the Middle East.  As part of Phase 1, we have deployed to Turkey, a missile defense radar, referred to as the AN/TPY-2 radar.  Also, as part of Phase 1, the United States deployed a BMD-capable Aegis ship to the Mediterranean Sea in March of 2011, and has maintained a BMD-capable ship presence in the region ever since.

Slightly more than a year ago, we concluded negotiations with Romania to host a U.S. land-based SM-3 BMD interceptor site, designed to extend missile defense protection to a greater portion of Europe.  The land-based SM-3 system to be deployed to Romania is anticipated to become operational in the 2015 timeframe.  We also reached an agreement with Poland to place a similar U.S. BMD interceptor site there in the 2018 timeframe, which will extend missile defense protection to all of NATO Europe.

The Obama Administration is implementing the EPAA within the NATO context.  At the 2010 Lisbon Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government approved a new Strategic Concept and took the historic decision to develop the capability to defend NATO European populations and territory against the growing threat from ballistic missile proliferation.  The Allies also welcomed the EPAA as a U.S. national contribution to the new NATO territorial missile defense capability, in support of our commitment to the collective defense of the Alliance under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.  At the Lisbon Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government also decided to expand the scope of the NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program to serve as the command, control, and communications network to support this new capability.  NATO allies have committed to investing over $1 billion for command, control, and communications infrastructure to support NATO missile defense.

On May 20-21, the NATO Heads of State and Government met in Chicago for the NATO Summit and announced that NATO has achieved an interim BMD capability.  This means that the Alliance has an operationally meaningful standing peacetime ballistic missile defense capability.  NATO also agreed on the command and control procedures for ballistic missile defense, designated Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) as the commander for this mission, and demonstrated an interoperable command and control capability funded by all Allies.    To support this interim BMD capability, the United States will offer EPAA assets to the Alliance as voluntary national contributions to the BMD mission, and will welcome contributions by other Allies.  For example, President Obama announced in Chicago that he has directed the transfer of the AN/TPY-2 radar deployed in Turkey to NATO operational control.  The EPAA also includes BMD-capable Aegis ships that can perform many roles besides BMD.  If conditions warrant, we will transfer BMD-capable Aegis ships to NATO operational control.

These decisions have created a framework for Allies to contribute and optimize their own BMD assets for our collective defense, and the United States welcomes contributions from other Allies.   Several NATO Allies possess land- and sea-based sensors that could be linked into the system, as well as lower tier systems that can be integrated and used to provide point defense.  For example, the Netherlands has indicated that it will spend close to 250 million Euros to modify the radars on its frigates to detect and track ballistic missiles at long ranges and has indicated it will contribute its Patriot BMD systems to the NATO missile defense mission.


An update on missile defense cooperation with Europe should also include a discussion of our efforts to pursue cooperation with the Russian Federation.  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.”  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, our NATO Allies, and the United States and will strengthen – not weaken – strategic stability over the long term.

This means it is important to get the Russian Federation inside the missile defense tent now, working alongside the United States and NATO, while we are in the early stages of our efforts.  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.

Through this 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.  Working together on missile defense would also send a strong message to proliferators that the United States, NATO, and Russia are working to counter their efforts.

And in Chicago, the NATO Allies in our Summit Declaration stated that “Through ongoing efforts in the NATO-Russia Council, we seek to determine how independent NATO and Russian missile defence systems can work together to enhance European security.  We look forward to establishing the proposed joint NATO-Russia Missile Data Fusion Centre and the joint Planning Operations Centre to cooperate on missile defence.”

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.  We have made it clear that we cannot and will not accept limitations on our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners, including where we deploy our BMD-capable Aegis ships.  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, 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.  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.

We would, however, be willing to agree to a political framework including a statement that our missile defenses are not directed at Russia.  Any such statement would be politically binding and would publicly proclaim our intent to work together and chart the direction for cooperation.

As the NATO Declaration issued at the Chicago summit stated:  “We propose to develop a transparency regime based upon a regular exchange of information about the current respective missile defence capabilities of NATO and Russia. Such concrete missile defence cooperation is the best means to provide Russia with the assurances it seeks regarding NATO’s missile defence plans and capabilities.  In this regard, we today reaffirm that the NATO missile defence in Europe will not undermine strategic stability.  NATO missile defence is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.  NATO missile defence is intended to defend against potential threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. ”

We look forward to continuing discussions with the Russian Federation to develop a mutually agreed framework for missile defense cooperation.


Today’s ballistic missile threats continue to increase in number and sophistication.  This increasing threat reinforces the importance of our collaborative missile defense efforts with allies and partners around the world, which not only strengthen regional stability, but also provide protection for our forces serving abroad and augment the defense of the United States.  At the same time we are continuing to work with Russia and appreciate the statements of President Putin, Prime Minister Medvedev, and other Russian officials that we should continue to work to find common ground to resolve our differences.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to your questions.