European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA)

October 2018

President Barack Obama announced the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) on September 17, 2009. According to President Obama’s speech, the EPAA was meant to more be “more comprehensive than the previous program; it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost-effective; and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats; and it ensures and enhances the protection of all our NATO Allies.” [1] President Obama approved the plan upon the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This approach is based on an assessment of the Iranian missile threat, and a commitment to deploy technology that is proven, cost-effective, and adaptable to an evolving security environment. [2] The EPAA replaced the George W. Bush administration’s plan to add a third Ground Based Midcourse Defense site in Europe to compliment the U.S. homeland sites in Alaska and California. [3]

European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA)

Phase Timeframe Location System Interceptor Sensors
One Deployed, 2011 Mediterranean Sea, Rota, Spain Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Capable Ships SM-3 Block IA AN/TPY-2 deployed to Turkey, Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) upgrades to the air operations center in Ramstein Air Base, Germany [4]
Two IOC Declared, 2016 Romania Aegis-Ashore SM-3 Block IB Sensors will be integrated with updated versions of the Aegis combat system. By FY2015 BMD ships will carry versions 3.6.1, 4.0.1, and 5.0 [5]
Three Planned 2018 but delayed until 2020 Poland Aegis-Ashore SM-3 Block IIA Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS) and Airborne Infrared (ABIR) sensor platforms, Aegis BMD ships to be equipped with version 5.1 of the combat system software [6]
Four Cancelled SM-3 Block IIB


October 2018 – The SM-3 IIA interceptor, intended to be deployed during Phase 3 of the EPAA at the Aegis Ashore site in Poland is successfully tested against a medium range ballistic missile from the USS John Finn (DDG 113)

March 2018 – the Missile Defense Agency reports that the Aegis Ashore site in Poland would be delayed until sometime in 2020 due to technical problems [19]

May 2016 – Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania deemed operationally certified [18]

December 2015 – Standard Missile-3 completes first intercept test from Aegis Ashore

October 2014 – Missile Defense Base Commissioned in Romania [17]

July 2014 – USS Ross stationed in Rota, Spain [16]

May 2014 – Aegis Ashore successfully tested in Kauai, Hawaii [15]

February 2014 – USS Donald Cook stationed in Rota, Spain [14]

October 2013 – Ground-breaking ceremony for the US Aegis Ashore system in Deveselu, Romania [13]

April 2012 – NATO successfully installs and tests the command and control architecture for the Interim Capability at Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany [12]

October 2011 – Spain and the United States announce an agreement to port US Aegis ships in Rota, Spain, as part of the US contribution to NATO’s ballistic missile defense capability [11]

September 2011 – An agreement between Poland and the United States on basing a US Aegis Ashore system in Poland enters into force [10]

September 2011 – Romania and the United States sign an agreement to base a US Aegis Ashore system in Romania as part of NATO’s BMD capability [9]

September 2011 – Turkey announces a decision to host a U.S. owned missile defense radar as part of the NATO BMD capability [8]

September 2009 – The United States announces its plan for the EPAA [7]

[1] Fact Sheet: Implementing Missile Defense in Europe (September 15, 2011 ), accessed August 18, 2014

[2][7] Fact Sheet on U.S. Missile Defense Policy A “Phased, Adaptive Approach” for Missile Defense in Europe (September 17, 2009), accessed August 18, 2014

[3] Fact Sheet: U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense (July 2014), Accessed August 18, 2014

[4] The Phased Adaptive Approach: Phases and Components – Part 2 (August 16, 2013), Accessed August 18, 2014

[5][6] The European Phased Adaptive Approach at a Glance (May 2013), Accessed August 18, 2014

[8][9][10][12] Ballistic missile defence (July 18, 2014), Accessed August 18, 2014

[11] Spain to host U.S. missile defense ships (October 5, 2011), Accessed August 18, 2014

[13] US, Romania begin work on Aegis Ashore missile defense complex (October 31, 2013), Accessed August 18, 2014

[14] USS Ross Arrives in Rota (February 11, 2014), Accessed August 18, 2014

[15] MDAA Alert: Europe Here We Come (May 21, 2014), Accessed August 18, 2014

[16] USS Ross Arrives in Rota (July 16, 2014), Accessed August 18, 2014

[17] Navy to commission missile defense base in Romania

[18] Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System-Romania Operationally Certified

[19] Aegis Ashore in Poland delayed until 2020