Gates: Missile Defense Cooperation Will Deter Future Foes

MOSCOW, March 22, 2011 — Euro­pean mis­sile defense was one of the top issues here today as Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates met with his Russ­ian coun­ter­part Ana­toly Serdyukov and lat­er with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev.
In a grand guest house on the grounds of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion Min­istry of Defense, Gates, Serdyukov and 20 offi­cials, diplo­mats and pol­i­cy experts met to dis­cuss the way for­ward on a range of tech­ni­cal issues, chief among them Euro­pean mis­sile defense.

Ministry of Defense Guest House in Moscow
U.S. Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Russ­ian Defense Min­is­ter Ana­toly Serdyukov con­duct a press con­fer­ence at the Min­istry of Defense Guest House in Moscow, March 22, 2011.
DOD pho­to by Cherie Cullen
Click to enlarge

“An issue of great impor­tance to both of our lead­ers is estab­lish­ing a frame­work for Euro­pean secu­ri­ty that can strength­en sta­bil­i­ty, pre­dictabil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty for all nations on the con­ti­nent,” Gates said at a news con­fer­ence after the meeting. 

“We con­tin­ue to have an inten­sive dis­cus­sion on mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion,” the sec­re­tary added, “and although we still have dif­fer­ences that need to be resolved, we con­tin­ue to make progress with­in a bilat­er­al frame­work and explor­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to coop­er­ate through the NATO-Rus­sia Council.” 

Serdyukov said through an inter­preter that the lead­ers spent much time on mis­sile defense “because this is one of the issues which nei­ther we nor our U.S. coun­ter­parts have a sim­ple and unequiv­o­cal answer to.” 

After the Lis­bon Sum­mit of the NATO-Rus­sia Coun­cil in Novem­ber, he said, “we face new capa­bil­i­ties for coop­er­a­tion. Today we shared our views on the pos­si­ble ways to address this issue and we have a com­mon under­stand­ing that coop­er­a­tion is bet­ter than confrontation.” 

Serdyukov and Gates agreed that experts in a spe­cial work­ing group would con­tin­ue such discussions. 

Lat­er, at Medvedev’s dacha about 45 min­utes out­side Moscow, Gates and his wife Becky dined with Medvedev and sev­er­al oth­er U.S. and Russ­ian officials. 

Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said about half of the hour-long con­ver­sa­tion focused on mis­sile defense. 

“The sec­re­tary told Pres­i­dent Medvedev that we are sin­cere in our belief that the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia ought to imple­ment the Euro­pean mis­sile defense plan togeth­er, Mor­rell said. 

“We can do this in a way that improves NATO and Russ­ian secu­ri­ty,” Gates told the Russ­ian pres­i­dent. “I think we can do this togeth­er to both of our benefits.” 

Gates “expressed to Pres­i­dent Medvedev his belief that if we are able to coop­er­ate on mis­sile defense, it would send a pow­er­ful sig­nal to rest of world, Mor­rell said. 

The sec­re­tary said it would be help­ful not just in deal­ing with the threat ema­nat­ing from Iran, but from unknown threats that may emerge from the upheaval in the Mid­dle East. “This would be a strong deter­rent to future foes,” Gates told Medvedev. 

A senior defense offi­cial who attend­ed the din­ner said Medvedev indi­cat­ed that “the Rus­sians are gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed in coop­er­a­tion, but at the same time they remain con­cerned about the effects of our Euro­pean phased-adap­tive approach [for mis­sile defense] on their own strate­gic deter­rence down the road.” 

Accord­ing to a White House fact sheet on U.S. mis­sile defense pol­i­cy, the approach is based on an assess­ment of Iran’s mis­sile threat and a com­mit­ment to deploy proven, adapt­able tech­nol­o­gy to an evolv­ing secu­ri­ty environment. 

The mis­sile defense archi­tec­ture fea­tures deploy­ments of increas­ing­ly capa­ble sea- and land-based mis­sile inter­cep­tors and a range of sen­sors in Europe, the fact sheet says, adding that the four-phased approach address­es today’s threats but could quick­ly be adapt­ed to respond to evolv­ing threats. 

Gates “under­scored [Pres­i­dent Barack] Obama’s sin­cere com­mit­ment for suc­ceed­ing and find­ing basis for coop­er­a­tion on mis­sile defense as a NATO-Rus­sia project,” the defense offi­cial said. 

The sec­re­tary said the goal is to find a way for Rus­sia to be an equal part­ner with the Unit­ed States and oth­er allies and offered some con­crete ideas for how the sys­tem can be made to work in practice. 

Gates, the offi­cial said, not­ed that beyond Iran, which has been the focus, upheavals today in the Mid­dle East could pose oth­er threats down the road and “it would make sense for us to begin now to estab­lish the basis for work­ing togeth­er to counter these kinds of threats.” 

Putting U.S. and Russ­ian offi­cers side by side in a coop­er­a­tive frame­work, the sec­re­tary told Medvedev, would give the Rus­sians more trans­paren­cy about U.S. pro­grams and allay many of their con­cerns about effects on their deterrence. 

“The sec­re­tary end­ed on quite a pos­i­tive note,” the defense offi­cial said. “He was very opti­mistic that he could make this work and I think [Gates and Medvedev] agreed that we have to lis­ten to one another’s ideas.” 

Medvedev, Serdyukov and Gates agreed that the U.S.-Russia defense work­ing groups would recon­vene in ear­ly April, the offi­cial said. 

“Ser­dukov remind­ed the sec­re­tary that they would see each oth­er at the June NATO-Rus­sia Coun­cil defense min­is­ters meet­ing in Brus­sels, and that they would both try to make con­crete progress by that time,” he added. 

At the out­set of the dis­cus­sion, Mor­rell said, there was recog­ni­tion and appre­ci­a­tion on both sides that the U.S.-Russia rela­tion­ship has been trend­ing in a pos­i­tive direction. 

“The reset has had an impact over the past two years,” Mor­rell said. “The over­all pro­gres­sion in the rela­tion­ship is allow­ing dis­cus­sions about some of these ideas to per­haps be more fruit­ful than they were in the past.” 

This is typ­i­cal of Gates whose prac­ti­cal approach Mor­rell described as “method­i­cal, keep mov­ing for­ward, keep engag­ing, keep try­ing to make progress, find areas of agree­ment and build upon those.” 

Mor­rell added, “As Sec­re­tary Gates said to Pres­i­dent Medvedev and ear­li­er to Min­is­ter Serdyukov, ‘We don’t pro­fess to have revealed truth on this mat­ter. We have some ideas, we put them forth, but we are open to con­sid­er­ing oth­er ideas on how to reach a point where we can coop­er­ate on the system.’ ” 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twitter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →