Over 60 years ago, London England became the first city and the first country to suffer loss of life, intimidation and destruction from ballistic missile attacks. It is more then fitting that the announcement of North Atlantic Treaty Organization to put in place missile defense for all of its 26 countries, including Great Britain, which comes from the host city of London during the 2006 multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference and Exhibition.
MDAA was present this week in London to listen to the Honorable Marshall Billingslea, the Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment of NATO make the announcement. Click here to read the Press Release. Among the notables present and participating were Professor Sir Roy Anderson, Chief Scientific Advisor of the Ministry of Defense for the United Kingdom, The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr. Robert Holmes, Mr. Joseph Benkert, Principle Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, United States Senator from Alabama the honorable Jeff Sessions and Lt. General Trey Obering the Director of the Missile Defense Agency were among 19 countries represented at the conference.
This historic decision that took in account a time-consuming consensus from 26 independent governing countries that ballistic missile defense is indeed feasible and desirable marks a significant turning point for the countries of Europe, Canada and the United States, as well as to those entities that continue to threaten and proliferate ballistic offensive missiles. A command and control structure that will integrate all of the missile defense assets from each of the contributing countries of NATO, as well as a test bed begins its 6 year build that will offer NATO its overall ballistic missile protection from the integrated use of national sensors and national interceptors for an initial operational capability starting 2010.
This remarkable decision from an organization that moves very slowly to make decisions of this magnitude is driven by the development of the threat in the world in which we all live in. A world where terrorists are sponsored by states that posses both weapons of mass destruction and ballistic delivery means. A world where terrorists are desiring better weapons and delivery means to do so.” Today over 25 individual states have ballistic missile capability in which some will continue to increase the size and range of these missiles, some have weapons of mass destruction for these missiles, some continue to proliferate both the weapons and the missiles to anyone that wants to pay for them and some of them that are the most threatening and least responsible countries in the world.
Put in context with the nuclear debate at United Nations in New York yesterday where President Bush confronted the nations gathered, it is of solace that missile defense is a tremendous diplomatic tool to negate those that try to use Nuclear Weapons. It is reassuring that those 26 countries of NATO and others such as Japan, Australia, South Korea and Israel have committed to Missile Defense and in doing so make our world a safer place.
We at MDAA and the American Public applaud the decisions made by our allies to confront this most serious issue and put forward a missile defense system that will make our World a safer place.