U.S. Offi­cial Says NATO Ben­e­fits From Mis­sile Agree­ment

By Jim Gara­mone
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice

The agree­ment between the Unit­ed States and Poland on bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense is impor­tant for the rela­tion­ship between the two coun­tries and for the NATO alliance, a senior State Depart­ment offi­cial said today.

John C. Rood, act­ing under­sec­re­tary of state for arms con­trol and inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty — who helped to nego­ti­ate the agree­ment — talked with reporters at the State Depart­ment today.

The agree­ment, signed Aug. 20, will allow the Unit­ed States to place 10 inter­cep­tor mis­siles in Poland to defend the Euro­pean NATO allies from a mis­sile strike from a rogue state like Iran. A radar site for the sys­tem will be built in the Czech Repub­lic.

There are two pieces to the agree­ment, Rood said. “One is a bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense agree­ment,” he said. “The sec­ond is a dec­la­ra­tion on a strate­gic coop­er­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and Poland.”

The mis­sile defense agree­ment is the cul­mi­na­tion of a NATO ini­tia­tive approved by alliance lead­ers at the alliance’s sum­mit in Bucharest, Roma­nia, in April. NATO lead­ers agreed that the mis­sile threat from rogue regimes was grow­ing, and that a sys­tem need­ed to be in place. The sum­mit also called to expand this ini­tial area by explor­ing options for a NATO-wide archi­tec­ture for mis­sile defense.

“This capa­bil­i­ty will be very impor­tant to our NATO allies, for their secu­ri­ty, just as it’s very impor­tant for the Unit­ed States and Poland,” Rood said.

NATO remains con­cerned about the mis­sile threat. “As if on cue, the Ira­ni­ans just in the last cou­ple of weeks have launched a space launch vehi­cle, which again demon­strates addi­tion­al capa­bil­i­ties and under­scores the con­cerns we have about the grow­ing mis­sile threat from coun­tries like Iran,” Rood said. “It’s not lim­it­ed to Iran, I should has­ten to add, but it’s cer­tain­ly an addi­tion­al mat­ter.”

The agree­ment cov­ers how the mis­sile defense facil­i­ty would be oper­at­ed, Rood said. It also cov­ers what the respec­tive roles of the dif­fer­ent par­ties would be, and their rights.

For exam­ple, he said, the Unit­ed States has under­tak­en a com­mit­ment not to con­duct flight tests of the bal­lis­tic defense inter­cep­tors that would be sta­tioned there out of that site.

The agree­ment also cov­ers oth­er issues such as com­mand and con­trol, pro­tec­tion of the envi­ron­ment and base access.

The strate­gic coop­er­a­tion dec­la­ra­tion is the polit­i­cal agree­ment between the coun­tries. In it, the two coun­tries agreed to deep­en and expand secu­ri­ty rela­tion­ships, Rood said. The agree­ment looks at ways to increase coop­er­a­tion and estab­lish­es a frame­work to work togeth­er through estab­lish­ing a high-lev­el strate­gic coop­er­a­tion con­sul­ta­tive group.

“We also talked about the desire of the Unit­ed States and Poland to pur­sue coop­er­a­tion involv­ing air and mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion,” he said.

The agree­ment com­mits the Unit­ed States to deploy an Army Patri­ot bat­tery to Poland.

“We’ll begin those deploy­ments once, of course, we reach the nec­es­sary agree­ments with the Poles, and that could begin next year,” Rood said. “And then we set the goal of estab­lish­ing a gar­ri­son for the U.S. Army Patri­ot bat­tery in Poland by the year 2012.”

Oth­er aspects — such as infor­ma­tion shar­ing, defense-indus­tri­al research and tech­nol­o­gy coop­er­a­tion — also are dis­cussed in the agree­ment.

“It’s a pret­ty broad cov­er­age in terms of the sub­ject mat­ter in that doc­u­ment, and I think it’s befit­ting of the fact that this is going to be a … sub­stan­tial­ly changed rela­tion­ship between the Unit­ed States and Poland, in that you will have a much greater lev­el of defense coop­er­a­tion,” Rood said.

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