Dear Members and Friends,
After a successful missile test of the newest sea based interceptor, the SM3 Block IB off of a U.S. Aegis 4.0.1 Ship last week, proving the foundation for ballistic missile defense of Europe over the next few years, momentum led to a anticipated significant declaration by NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen at the NATO Summit in Chicago that the first phase of the EPAA is in place.
Phase one of the European Phased Adaptive Approach relies on three major missile defense platforms; a sensor forward in Turkey, a shooter afloat on the Mediterranean and a Command/Battle Management Center in Germany to gather, control and send targeting information from the U.S. radar in Turkey to the U.S. Aegis BMD capable Ship in the Mediterranean. This scenario provides an extension of the range of the sea based interceptors and a earlier intercept then the Aegis BMD Ship could do on its own, thus providing the fundamental concept of protecting all of NATO that will grow to expand in faster, more capable defensive interceptors on more advanced sea and land based platforms with substantial increased expansive ranges of protection as the modernization and strategic deployment evolves and deploys over the next decade. As NATO Secretary General Rasmussen states in Chicago earlier this week “It is the first step towards our long-term goal of providing full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces.”
From a continuous U.S. Aegis BMD ship presence in the Mediterranean, which will soon be home ported with an additional three sister U.S. Aegis BMD ships in Rota, Spain, to the AN/TYP-2 Radar forward deployed in Turkey that is linked into the Command Control Battle Management Communications Center in Ramstein, Germany under NATO control and command, all three of these phase one assets are in place today, though not fully integrated as of yet , they are as NATO Secretary General Rasmussen declared “provisionally operational ” and “It will allow us to defend against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.”
Against this significant momentous announcement which laid quiet in Chicago this week was the ominously more visible diplomatic sensitivities to Russia and their vocal concerns of missile defense as well as the amount of NATO contributions to the EPAA. Leading out of the summit was Pakistan with NATO and the U.S. current need for access to Afghanistan outside of Pakistan that would include cooperation with Russia which compounded the sensitivities on NATO Missile Defense to making relatively dormant in Chicago.
In true Russian diplomatic theatrical reaction to U.S. and NATO sensitivities which were duly ignored, the roar of the newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin was heard as a 5th generation variant of an Russian ICMB ballistic missile was launched and successfully tested for the World to see, proclaiming their success to defeat NATO and U.S. Missile Defenses.
The Russian point is mute and remains so as none of the U.S. or NATO Missile Defense systems being deployed in Europe have the speed, orientation or capability to defeat Russian ICBMs targeting U.S. cities. The up to 30 U.S. Ground Based Interceptors which are deployed in Alaska and California, not in Europe do in fact have the speed, orientation and capability (though more testing is needed for confidence of the second generation GBIs) to defeat ICBMs including Russian ones that target United States cities and territory.
In true NATO response and reality, the NATO Secretary General Rasmussen stressed that Russia has no influence on the sovereign decision of NATO’s member states but still invited Moscow to co-operate in discussions on the subject.
In these austere economic times of reductions to the United States Military Defense Department, use of NATO military construction funding and support going towards Afghanistan, increasing numbers and proliferation of ballistic missile threats, and a projected 631 Billion dollar Defense Budget of which 9.2 billion of it is allocated to all U.S. Missile Defenses including the Homeland, the Middle East and Far East, does not amount enough to fully resource and provide adequate protection of Europe. This cost has to be shared with our NATO Allies both in joint integration and capabilities. Enabling US Aegis technologies to NATO countries and providing SM3 interceptors to launch from our NATO Navy forces so that they too can share with the United States in providing continuous capability in the seas surrounding Europe is a clear way to defray and reduce U.S. expenditures for the EPAA as well as help alleviate existing shortages of U.S. Navy Aegis BMD Ships in their global mission. NATO Countries such Norway, Spain, Netherlands and Germany could integrate their ships and systems to jointly defend and protect Europe with the United States.
What did happen this week was significant, the first phase of the ballistic missile defense of Europe and NATO is firmly in place declared by the NATO Secretary General against Russian objections. Missile Defense looks to be the binding glue for the future of NATO in this world of unpredictable threats.
Those quiet comments in Chicago earlier this week resounded in a course of making our world a safer place.