USA — Official Outlines Global Missile Defense Strategy

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 — U.S. efforts to build effec­tive mis­sile defens­es are more impor­tant than ever for defend­ing the nation and its deployed forces and for coop­er­at­ing with allies and part­ners, a senior defense pol­i­cy offi­cial said today.
James N. Miller, prin­ci­pal deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, told atten­dees at a mis­sile defense con­fer­ence here that the nation’s mis­sile defense efforts, while focused on a few emerg­ing threats, also span the globe.

“We con­tin­ue to focus on Iran and North Korea as par­tic­u­lar threats to us and our allies,” Miller said.

Iran already has the largest inven­to­ry of bal­lis­tic mis­siles in the Mid­dle East, he said, and is work­ing to devel­op sal­vo-launch and inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile capa­bil­i­ties.

North Korea, despite the “urgent human­i­tar­i­an needs of its des­ti­tute pop­u­la­tion,” is like­wise mod­ern­iz­ing its mis­sile arse­nal, Miller said. North Korea’s inven­to­ry already includes “a sub­stan­tial num­ber of mobile bal­lis­tic mis­siles that could strike tar­gets in South Korea, Japan, and U.S. bases in the Pacif­ic,” he added.

Both nations’ nuclear poten­tial increas­es U.S. strate­gic con­cerns about mis­sile defense, Miller said, and oth­er nations and non­state actors also pose a sig­nif­i­cant threat.

The Unit­ed States adopt­ed a phased, adap­tive approach to Euro­pean bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense in 2009 to deter and defend against “the devel­op­ment, acqui­si­tion, deploy­ment and use of bal­lis­tic mis­siles by region­al adver­saries,” he said. The strat­e­gy relies heav­i­ly on sys­tems that can be relo­cat­ed, allow­ing the Unit­ed States and its allies to adjust to a com­plex and chang­ing threat envi­ron­ment, he explained. The approach will bring togeth­er sea‑, land- and space-based sys­tems in four phas­es of deploy­ment through 2020, Miller said.

“Tech­no­log­i­cal advances or future changes in the threats could mod­i­fy the … tim­ing of the lat­er phas­es,” he said. “That’s one rea­son the approach is called adap­tive.”

NATO endorsed the phased, adap­tive approach and agreed to make cur­rent and future mis­sile defense sys­tems inter­op­er­a­ble across NATO, he said.

Look­ing beyond Europe, U.S. strat­e­gy is to apply the phased, adap­tive mis­sile defense approach in oth­er regions, par­tic­u­lar­ly in East Asia and the Mid­dle East, he said.

In Asia, the Unit­ed States is part­nered with key allies includ­ing Japan, Aus­tralia and South Korea to enhance mis­sile defense, he said. Japan now has a lay­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ty that includes U.S. track­ing sys­tems, inter­cep­tors, ear­ly warn­ing radars and a com­mand-and-con­trol struc­ture that inte­grates those tech­nolo­gies, Miller said.

“We reg­u­lar­ly train togeth­er, and have suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ed sim­u­lat­ed coop­er­a­tive [bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense] oper­a­tions,” he said. “We’re also engaged in coop­er­a­tive devel­op­ment of the next-gen­er­a­tion … inter­cep­tor, which is pro­ject­ed to enter ser­vice in 2018.”

Chi­na obvi­ous­ly is a key com­po­nent of secu­ri­ty strat­e­gy in the Pacif­ic, Miller said.

“The Unit­ed States wel­comes a strong, pros­per­ous and suc­cess­ful Chi­na that plays a greater glob­al role in sup­port­ing inter­na­tion­al rules, norms of respon­si­ble behav­ior and insti­tu­tions,” he said. At the same time, he said, the Unit­ed States and China’s neigh­bors remain con­cerned about its mil­i­tary buildup and objec­tives. Miller not­ed that Chi­na like­ly is near­ing deploy­ment of a medi­um-range anti-ship mis­sile.

Greater trans­paren­cy from Chi­na about its mil­i­tary strat­e­gy could reduce the chance of a mis­un­der­stand­ing or mis­cal­cu­la­tion, Miller said, and toward that end the Unit­ed States con­tin­ues to seek greater gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Chi­nese lead­ers.

When Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates vis­it­ed Chi­na ear­li­er this year, he pro­posed a strate­gic dia­logue to cov­er space, cyber­space, nuclear mis­sile defense and oth­er top­ics, Miller said.

“We are quite opti­mistic about the prospects of begin­ning such a dia­logue in the not-too-dis­tant future,” Miller said.

Turn­ing to the Mid­dle East, Miller not­ed the region is expe­ri­enc­ing tremen­dous change and uncer­tain­ty, adding to its strate­gic promi­nence.

The Unit­ed States and Israel have a long-stand­ing rela­tion­ship on bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense that includes reg­u­lar mil­i­tary exer­cis­es and coop­er­a­tion in a num­ber of pro­grams, he said.

“In the Per­sian Gulf, the Unit­ed States main­tains a robust mix of mis­sile defens­es,” Miller said. “To pro­tect our troops and facil­i­ties in the region, we have devel­oped a series of bilat­er­al mis­sile defense agree­ments with the nations of the Gulf Coop­er­a­tion Coun­cil.”

Mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia is also grow­ing, Miller said, not­ing recent progress in defense coop­er­a­tion between the two nations includes the entry into force of the New START treaty.

Ulti­mate­ly, the Unit­ed States’ objec­tive is to coop­er­ate with both Rus­sia and NATO, but not take the lead for bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense in those regions, he said.

“We would oper­ate our respec­tive sys­tems inde­pen­dent­ly but coop­er­a­tive­ly,” with that coop­er­a­tion includ­ing shar­ing sen­sor data, he said.

As mis­sile defense is a key ele­ment of U.S. mil­i­tary strat­e­gy, Miller said, fund­ing the tech­nol­o­gy behind the capa­bil­i­ty is a high pri­or­i­ty.

DOD is propos­ing to spend about $10 bil­lion for mis­sile defense in fis­cal year 2012,” he said. “This crit­i­cal invest­ment in our military’s pre­pared­ness … con­tributes mate­ri­al­ly to the defense of the Unit­ed States and to inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty.”

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

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