US Contribution Helps Move NATO Missile Defense Forward

The U.S. is making major strides with Allies to advance NATO’s critical missile defense capability.

The European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) has made important progress over the past six years, according to Frank Rose, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.

The first Aegis ashore site in Deveselu, Romania made its technical capability declaration last month, increasing coverage against medium and short-range threats. The site is now completed and has been turned over from Missile Defense Agency to the U.S. European Command for testing.

“The Aegis Ashore site is critical to the NATO missile defense system,” said Rose. “Fundamentally, it will increase the defensive coverage of Southeastern Europe.  I want to thank Romania for their excellent cooperation.”

Construction on an Aegis site in Poland will begin this spring, and is scheduled to become operational in 2018 timeframe. This second site hinges on the completion of a new ballistic missile defense interceptor standard missile 3 block A2 (SM-3 Block2A), that the U.S. is co-developing with our NATO partners in Japan. The SM-3 Block 2A has had two successful tests this year and is scheduled to be available in 2018.

Poland will have a larger interceptor than the Romanian site designed to deal with medium and intermediate range missiles, those between 3,000-5,500 km.

These developments follow other recent achievements.  Last year, the fourth and final multi-mission Aegis ship deployed to Rota, Spain. And the first national contribution to NATO BMD was the U.S. assigning radar to Turkey in 2012.

National contributions are essential because NATO Missile Defense acts as command and control system.

“I always like to say, and you know this, NATO is an integrator of national military capabilities” Rose said. “When NATO made the decision to establish the NATO Missile Defense System in 2010, it was agreed that NATO Would buy the command and control infrastructure and it would be up to individual nations to provide the interceptors and sensors.”

Rose applauded Denmark commitments to NATO Missile Defense systems, which have helped improved our collective capabilities.  He strongly urged other Allies to provide national capabilities, and not only in the form of interceptors.

“You know, sometimes in the missile defense world we get obsessed about interceptors and numbers of interceptors,” said Rose  “With regards to missile defense, really in many ways the most important element is having good discrimination and sensor capability” Rose said.

The Netherlands has committed to upgrading their radars, which because of the better discrimination capabilities require fewer interceptors.