The following is from an address Sept. 10 at the 2012 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference and Exhibition in Berlin.

As laid out in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, “The United States seeks to create an environment in which the development, acquisition, deployment, and use of ballistic missiles by regional adversaries can be deterred, principally by eliminating their confidence in the effectiveness of such attacks.”

Creating this new strategic environment depends on strong cooperation with our allies and partners. In order to make this vision a reality, President Barack Obama has made international cooperation on missile defense a key priority, and we are pursuing a region-by-region approach based on the following three principles:

  • The United States will strengthen regional deterrence architectures built upon solid cooperative ballistic missile defense relationships with an eye toward efficiently incorporating assets and structures that our partners already have today or are seeking.
  • The United States is pursuing approaches to ballistic missile defense within key regions that are tailored to their unique deterrence requirements and threats, including the scale, scope and pace of their development, and the capabilities available and most suited for deployment. Specifically, we will phase in the best available technology to meet existing and evolving threats, and adapt to situations that evolve in the future.
  • Recognizing that our supply of ballistic missile defense assets cannot meet the global demand we face, the United States is developing mobile capabilities that can be relocated to adapt to changing regional threats and provide surge defense capabilities where they are most needed.

In implementing this approach in Europe, we designed the European Phased Adaptive Approach to protect our deployed forces and allies in Europe as well as improve protection of the U.S. homeland against potential ICBMs from the Middle East. As you know, we have made great progress in implementing the president’s vision in Europe.

International cooperation is key to achieving the president’s vision of undermining potential adversaries’ confidence in the effectiveness of their ballistic missile attacks. To better achieve this end, the Obama administration is implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach within the NATO context.

At the 2010 Lisbon summit, NATO heads of state and government approved a new strategic concept and took the historic decision to develop the capability to defend NATO European populations and territory against the increasing threat posed by ballistic missile proliferation. The allies welcomed the European Phased Adaptive Approach as the U.S. national contribution to the new NATO territorial missile defense capability, in support of our commitment to the collective self-defense of the alliance under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

They also decided to expand the scope of the NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program to serve as the command, control and communications network to support this new capability. NATO allies have committed to investing over $1 billion in ALTBMD to support NATO missile defense. NATO’s plan is based on the principle that individual allies will make voluntary national contributions of ballistic missile defense sensors and interceptor systems, capabilities that will be integrated into the NATO ALTBMD command and control backbone.

At the Chicago summit in May, NATO announced that it had achieved an interim ballistic missile defense capability. To support this capability, the United States has offered European Phased Adaptive Approach assets to the alliance as our voluntary national contributions to the mission. The AN/TPY-2 radar deployed in Turkey is now under NATO operational control. In addition, U.S. ballistic missile defense-capable Aegis ships in Europe are also now able to operate under NATO operational control when threat conditions warrant.

These decisions have created a framework for allies to contribute and optimize their own ballistic missile defense assets for our collective self-defense, and the United States welcomes and encourages such contributions. We believe that NATO ballistic missile defense will be more effective should allies provide sensors and interceptors to complement the U.S. contributions. Several NATO allies already possess land- and sea-based sensors that could potentially be linked into the system, as well as lower tier systems that can be integrated and used to provide point defense such as Patriot. If allies should decide to develop their own ballistic missile defense capabilities, that would create significant opportunities for European industries, science and technology. In short, there is absolutely no requirement or assumption that NATO missile defense will be “made in the U.S.A.” The only requirement is that the systems contributed by allies be interoperable with NATO ALTBMD.

Some of our NATO allies already have begun to invest in assets that can be contributed to the NATO ballistic missile defense mission, while others are continuing to study the issue. For example, the Netherlands has indicated that it will spend close to 250 million euros ($323 million) to modify the SMART-L radars on its frigates to detect and track ballistic missiles at long ranges and has indicated it will contribute its Patriot systems to the NATO missile defense mission. Allies also can contribute via pooling of ballistic missile defense assets and joint development and procurement. In a time of austere budget environments, these and other “smart defense” initiatives provide a cost-effective way of providing for the common defense, demonstrate alliance solidarity, and ensure that the burden of tackling today’s tough security challenges is shared.

Despite our differences of opinion, we remain convinced that missile defense cooperation between the United States and Russia (and between NATO and Russia) is in the national security interests of all countries involved.

Missile defense cooperation with Russia will not only strengthen our bilateral and NATO-Russia relationships, it could also enhance NATO’s missile defense capabilities. For example, Russian sensors would be a valuable addition to the defense of the Euro-Atlantic area.

At the Chicago summit, the NATO allies made a very clear statement of our intent regarding strategic stability and Russia’s strategic deterrent, declaring: “NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.” Through cooperation and working alongside the United States and NATO, Russia would see firsthand that this system is designed for ballistic missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and can neither negate nor undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent capabilities. Close cooperation between Russia and the United States and NATO is therefore the best and most enduring way for Russia to gain the assurances it seeks that U.S. and NATO missile defenses cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent.

The United States, in consultation with our allies and partners, is continuing to bolster missile defenses in other key regions in order to strengthen regional deterrence architectures. As with Europe, we are tailoring our approaches to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific so that they reflect the unique deterrence and defense requirements of each region.

The increasing threat associated with the proliferation of ballistic missiles reinforces the importance of continuing to strengthen our collaborative missile defense efforts. We need to work together, bilaterally and multilaterally, to determine how we can leverage fully our unique capabilities to protect ourselves. After all, developing robust regional deterrence architectures is not the job of the United States alone — it requires close and continuing cooperation with all of our allies and partners in order to succeed.


Frank A. Rose is U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for space and defense policy in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.