Russian Cooperation with the Unites States on Missile Defense

November 01, 2011

Dear Members and Friends,


Enclosed is a brief summary/white paper for your review and understanding.  The paper, which identifies U.S. and Russian positions on missile defense cooperation, provides a clear description and analysis of a complex issue that is often clouded by rhetoric.

Click here for a pdf of the white paper.

To: Members of the 112th Congress
Date: November 1, 2011
From: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
Re: Russian Cooperation with the United States on Missile Defense

To create a more stable, secure Europe and NATO through U.S. missile defense deployments defined in President Obama’s Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to defend Europe from growing ballistic missile threats from Iran and the Middle East. From 2011 to 2020 under the PAA, U.S. missile defense systems will be deployed in Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey as well as in international waters around Europe.

United States missile defense in Europe is perceived by Russia as an expansion of U.S. influence in Eastern Europe, which is disruptive and threatening to Russian national security and Russian strategic forces. Russia continues to block any cooperation efforts and meaningful dialogue on missile defense with the United States and NATO. Russia is demanding legally binding technical guarantees of limits on U.S. missile defenses as a condition for cooperation.

Russian Position
Russian officials maintain the NATO missile defense shield is a unilateral project that does not add stability and security in Europe. Technically, Russia is concerned about future modernization, sophistication, and the potential increase in numbers of U.S. interceptors based in Europe. They are also fearful of the quality of sensors to be put in place in Europe and on U.S. ships, which could have the capability to intercept Russian ICBM missiles. In national security terms, Russia is opposed to the placement of U.S. military missile defense assets, however small, in Eastern Europe. They believe such assets give reason for U.S. guarantees to protect and defend them, thereby increasing the sphere of U.S. and NATO influence in Eastern Europe and reducing that of the Russians.

U.S. Position
The NATO missile defense shield is necessary to protect against the proliferating ballistic missile threats from Iran and the Middle East, who could threaten and use them against Europe and the United States as part of Iran’s national security, political, and foreign policy agendas. The United States is willing to cooperate with Russia on missile defense, but will not accept any limitations or restrictions on the development or deployment of U.S. missile defenses. The U.S. has been and continues to be transparent and open to cooperation with the Russians, as Russia has similar threats from the Middle East and maintains sophisticated radars and active missile defense systems deployed against these threats. The U.S. missile defense systems in place in Europe today and those planned to be in place by 2020 do not have the technical capability or boost velocity on interceptors to intercept a Russian ICBM headed towards the United States from Russia.

Active missile defense cooperation as proposed by either side will not happen between Russia and the United States. The United States and NATO have moved forward with the first phase of the PAA and will continue to fully protect Europe from ballistic missile threats with or without Russia’s consent. Russia will continue to fight publicly and diplomatically NATO and U.S. resolve to deploy missile defenses in Europe. The next NATO Summit will be held in Chicago in May, during a U.S. presidential election year, and there will be added pressure from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to look for concessions from President Obama on U.S. missile defense in Europe.

It is in the best national security interest of both Russia and the United States to maintain military situational awareness on ballistic missile threats to Europe from the Middle East without sharing classified information or cooperating on their respective missile defense systems. This joint military awareness would provide security and stability for Europe, Russia, and the United States. Transparency between Russia, the United States, and NATO on missile defenses in Europe must remain.

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