Milestone Nears for European Missile Defense Plan

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2011 — The U.S. plan to defend Europe from a rapid­ly increas­ing bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat will reach a mile­stone next week with the first deploy­ment of mis­sile defense tech­nol­o­gy, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial said yes­ter­day.
“The bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat is real, and it’s now,” said John F. Plumb, the Pentagon’s prin­ci­pal direc­tor for nuclear and mis­sile defense pol­i­cy, adding that the phased, adap­tive approach to Euro­pean mis­sile defense is a capa­bil­i­ty designed to defend against that threat.

The USS Mon­terey — equipped with sys­tems to detect, track, engage and destroy bal­lis­tic mis­siles in flight — will deploy next week from its home port of Nor­folk, Va., for a six-month tour in the U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, Plumb said. 

The ship will par­tic­i­pate in mis­sile defense exer­cis­es and help to lay the foun­da­tion for future deploy­ments, Plumb said, in “the first demon­stra­tion of our com­mit­ment to this … in a long series of deploy­ments that will follow.” 

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma approved the phased, adap­tive approach to Euro­pean bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense in 2009, and the NATO alliance agreed to the plan at its Novem­ber 2010 sum­mit in Lis­bon, Portugal. 

The approach will begin with exist­ing tech­nol­o­gy and add more sophis­ti­cat­ed sys­tems now in devel­op­ment to build sea- and land-based mis­sile defense sys­tems in Europe through­out the rest of this decade, Plumb said. 

“The first phase … involves ships, because we have sea-based mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ties now, as well as for­ward-based radar that can pro­vide infor­ma­tion to those ships,” he said. 

The sec­ond phase will begin in 2015, he said, with the deploy­ment of a land-based inter­cep­tor site in Roma­nia. The inter­cep­tor, the Stan­dard Missile‑3 IB, or SM‑3 IB, is in devel­op­ment now, Plumb said. 

“That will be the first land-based deploy­ment of this type of inter­cep­tor, and that will start to pro­vide greater cov­er­age for Europe,” he said.

The SM‑3 IA already is deployed on ships around the world, he said, and two oth­er vari­ants of the inter­cep­tor, the IIA and IIB, are sched­uled to be in place as part of phas­es 3 and 4 by 2020. Plumb said each ver­sion of the inter­cep­tor will defend against mis­siles of greater ranges and speeds. 

The bal­lis­tic mis­sile threat to Europe from the Mid­dle East, par­tic­u­lar­ly Iran, is a dri­ving force behind the phased, adap­tive approach, he said. 

“[Iran] con­tin­ues to pur­sue more and greater capa­bil­i­ties,” he said. “We need to have a way not only to deter them from using them, but also if deter­rence fails to be able to inter­cept their missiles.” 

While the phased, adap­tive approach is cur­rent­ly under U.S. Euro­pean Command’s author­i­ty, Plumb said, NATO agreed at the Lis­bon sum­mit to estab­lish com­mand-and-con­trol sys­tems allow­ing the alliance to take the lead in bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense on the Euro­pean continent. 

“Europe is a big place,” he said. “The more you can coop­er­ate, and the more assets oth­er nations can con­tribute, the bet­ter the sys­tem can function.” 

Those con­tri­bu­tions may take the form of sen­sors, inter­cep­tors or land for sites, he said. 

“The assets we’re deploy­ing … would be the U.S. nation­al con­tri­bu­tion to the mis­sile defense of Europe,” Plumb said. “As with any oth­er NATO mis­sion, indi­vid­ual nations vol­un­tar­i­ly con­tribute assets, and [all] would work under a NATO com­mand structure.” 

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

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

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

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →