NATO Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD): Myth vs. Fact

Proliferation of ballistic missiles poses an increasing threat to Allied populations, territory and deployed forces. Over 30 countries have, or are acquiring, ballistic missile technology that could eventually be used to carry not just conventional warheads, but also weapons of mass destruction.

The proliferation of these capabilities does not necessarily mean there is an immediate intent to attack NATO, but it does mean that the Alliance has a responsibility to take this into account as part of its core task of collective defense.

MYTH FACT
NATO’s BMD system is directed against Russia and will negate Russian’s strategic nuclear deterrence. Geography and physics make it impossible for the NATO system to shoot down Russia’s sophisticated long-range land- and sea-based ballistic missiles from NATO BMD sites in Romania or Poland.  Russia knows this. We have made this clear to Russian authorities, many times and at the highest level.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran resolves the threat from Iran so there is no longer a need for NATO BMD. The JCPOA addresses nuclear weapons, but it does not resolve the threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missiles which are being modernized in violation of UNSC-approved sanctions and are capable of carrying nuclear, conventional or chemical weapons.
Russia has proposed initiatives aimed at resolving differences and encouraging cooperation on BMD. Russia has declined all U.S. and NATO proposals for transparency and cooperation on BMD, including two NATO-Russia Centers and a NATO-Russia Transparency Regime.  Russia is insisting on legally binding limitations on U.S. and NATO BMD which we cannot accept as it would limit our ability to defend ourselves and our allies.
NATO BMD is just a United States system directed at Russia that can potentially undermine the strategic stability in Europe and in the whole world. Twenty-eight NATO Heads of State & Government decided to develop NATO’s missile defense capability at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.  We have been building the system to operate under NATO command and control and continue to be clear and open about the system’s capabilities in order to promote trust and reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
NATO has suspended all practical cooperation, including dialogue on the BMD issues in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Russia halted NATO-Russia Council Working Group BMD discussions in October 2013, before the start of the Ukraine Crisis. Although NATO decided to suspend all the other NRC Working Groups in response to this aggression, it has never suspended the NRC itself.
The U.S. BMD sites in Romania and Poland violate U.S. obligations under the INF treaty. The U.S. is in full compliance with all of its INF treaty obligations. The Aegis Ashore BMD system is designed only to launch defensive interceptors that are not equipped with warheads of any type. These sites have no ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile capability and are not subject to the INF treaty.