Come Together, Right Now, Over MD

November 23, 2010

Dear Members and Friends,

The success of the NATO summit in Lisbon, success that was driven by President Obama, is a significant achievement and victory for missile defense. Missile defense is now a legitimate, valued entity and accepted policy of twenty-eight nations; to be used to dissuade and deter those that threaten their territory as a whole or individually. The NATO member Heads of Government and State agreed that missile defense is a key element to the strategic defense of NATO. Furthermore, they stated that missile defense will be developed in NATO to protect all European populations, territory and forces.

Enclosed below are the missile defense highlights from the Lisbon Summit Declaration of November 20, 2010:

  • We have adopted a new Strategic Concept that lays out our vision for the Alliance for the next decade: able to defend its members against the full range of threats; capable of managing event the most challenging crises; and better able to work with other organizations and nations to promote international stability.
  • In accordance with the detailed provisions of this Declaration, we have also: decided to develop a missile defense capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory and forces, and invited Russia to cooperate with us.
  • Our Strategic Concept underscores our commitment to ensuring that NATO has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter and defend against any threat to the safety of our populations and the security of or territory. To that end, NATO will maintain an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defense forces. Missile defense will become an integral part of our overall defense posture.
  • The threat to NATO European populations, territory and forces posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles is increasing. As missile defense forms part of a broader response to counter this threat, we have decided that the Alliance will develop a missile defense capability to pursue its core task of collective defense.
  • The aim of a NATO missile defense capability is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, based on the principles of the indivisibility of Allied security and NATO solidarity, equitable sharing of risks and burdens, as well as reasonable challenge, taking into the account the level of threat, affordability and technical feasibility and in accordance with the latest common threat assessments agreed by the Alliance.
  • To this end, we have decided that the scope of NATOs current Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program’s command, control and communications capabilities will be expanded beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces. In this context, the United States European Phased Adaptive Approach is welcomed as a valuable national contribution to the NATO missile defense architecture, as are other possible voluntary contributions by Allies.

It is of note that, as listed above in the declaration, NATO has invited Russia to cooperate on missile defense. The Russians and Americans will look to find common ground on which to participate; a task that will be extremely challenging. The greatest challenge to Russian-United States cooperation will be the sharing of highly classified information about these defensive systems; sharing that is fundamental to a successful partnership and enhancing the overall system.

This cooperation may not be viewed in the national security interest of either country.

In parallel to national security sensitivities and cooperative efforts with Russia, any strategic missile defense capability placed in Europe for the protection of the U.S. homeland would cause dissension from Russia. It is with this intention and sensitivity that the Lisbon Declaration clearly indicated that missile defenses deployed in Europe will be to protect all NATO European population, territory and forces protection, rather than including the United States population and homeland.

Irrespective of the Russian cooperative efforts and whether they will be successful or not, the Lisbon Declaration remains a powerful and significant achievement for the development and deployment of missile defense as it moves our world towards an integrated, international missile defense capability that can deter and dissuade countries from seeking ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

We sincerely congratulate and acknowledge each of the twenty-eight nations (Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States) and our President for solidifying missile defense and moving forward in the continued development and deployment of missile defense systems in Europe.

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