USA — Official Briefs Congress on Missile Defense Progress

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2010 — A hall­mark of the four-phase U.S. approach to Euro­pean mis­sile defense is its abil­i­ty to adjust to the unpre­dictable, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial told Con­gress today.
James N. Miller, prin­ci­pal deputy under sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, spoke to the House Armed Ser­vices Committee’s strate­gic forces sub­com­mit­tee today on progress of the phased, adap­tive approach to Euro­pean bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense.

“Fur­ther advances of tech­nol­o­gy or future changes in the threat could mod­i­fy the details or tim­ing of lat­er phas­es –- that is one rea­son this approach is called ‘adap­tive,’ ” Miller said in pre­pared tes­ti­mo­ny. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma approved the approach in 2009, and allies endorsed the con­cept at the recent NATO sum­mit in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal.

“At the Lis­bon sum­mit, NATO lead­ers took the unprece­dent­ed step to decide to devel­op a mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ty to pro­tect the alliance’s pop­u­la­tions and ter­ri­to­ries in Europe against bal­lis­tic mis­sile attacks,” Miller said, not­ing the U.S. approach will serve as its con­tri­bu­tion to the alliance’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al mis­sile defense. “This struc­ture will allow our allies to plug in their nation­al mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ties to achieve even greater capa­bil­i­ties over time,” he said.

The phased, adap­tive approach offers sev­er­al advan­tages over pre­vi­ous bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense strate­gies, Miller said. The plan, he said, allows the Unit­ed States to defend its troops and allies in Europe much soon­er against the threat posed by short- and medi­um-range mis­siles start­ing in 2011, rather than in 2016 or 2018 under pre­vi­ous plans. The approach will cope with dozens or scores of bal­lis­tic mis­sile attacks, ver­sus only five for the pre­vi­ous archi­tec­ture, Miller said, and it will adapt more rapid­ly to changes in the threat through the abil­i­ty to deploy addi­tion­al inter­cep­tors as need­ed to land-based sites and on ships. The approach also will offer more oppor­tu­ni­ties for U.S. allies to par­tic­i­pate, “there­by strength­en­ing both our com­bined defens­es against the bal­lis­tic mis­siles and the sol­i­dar­i­ty of the NATO alliance,” Miller said.

Miller said the approach also fur­thers mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion with Rus­sia. “As part of the announce­ment of [the plan] last year, the admin­is­tra­tion wel­comed Russ­ian coop­er­a­tion to bring its mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ties into a broad­er defense of our com­mon strate­gic inter­ests,” Miller said. “Over the past 14 months, we have moved for­ward trans­par­ent­ly in this area.”

Miller said Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Russ­ian Defense Min­is­ter Ana­toly E. Serdyukov agreed in Sep­tem­ber to cre­ate the new Defense Rela­tions Work­ing Group. “This body is intend­ed to be a venue for dis­cussing defense pol­i­cy top­ics such as mis­sile defense,” Miller said. “I will co-chair two sub-work­ing groups: Mis­sile Defense Coop­er­a­tion and Defense Tech­nol­o­gy Coop­er­a­tion. The first meet­ing of these sub-work­ing groups is planned for ear­ly next year.” Miller out­lined the approach’s four phas­es, set to pro­ceed through 2020.

Phase 1, through 2012, calls for U.S. mis­sile inter­cep­tors deploy­ing to the Mediter­ranean Sea with a for­ward-based sen­sor sit­u­at­ed in south­ern Europe. The sec­ond phase, from 2012 through 2015, will deploy improved inter­cep­tors and sen­sors in both sea-based sys­tems and a land-based site in Roma­nia.

Phase 3, from 2015 through 2018, will estab­lish a land-based inter­cep­tor site in Poland and field more advanced inter­cep­tors both on land and at sea. The final phase, from 2018 through 2020, will deploy next-gen­er­a­tion inter­cep­tors intend­ed to counter long-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles dur­ing their ascent phase, Miller said.

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

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