NATO Proposes 2 Joint Missile Defense Centers with Russia, but Separate Chains of Command

"The idea is for NATO and Russian officers to work together"

From Alexander Vershbow, NATO:  Our goal in NATO remains a combined missile defence architecture that can protect both the Alliance and Russia.   It would include a very high level of integration and day-to-day interaction between the NATO and Russian systems, while maintaining their separate chains of command.

This combined architecture would enable NATO to fulfil its responsibility to protect Alliance territory.  Russia would be able to protect Russian territory.  And both of us would enjoy the benefits of mutually reinforcing capabilities.  In essence, it would preserve NATO’s collective defence obligations as well as Russia’s territorial sovereignty – and those are both important principles.

We also continue to believe that connecting our individual missile defence systems into a common NATO-Russian endeavour would be best implemented through the two joint centres that we have proposed:   The first, the NATO-Russia Data Fusion Centre, is where NATO and Russian officers would monitor together the intelligence picture, and share early warning data and other information 24/7.  The second, the NATO-Russia Planning and Operations Centre, is where we would actually plan together and coordinate our missile defence operations. 

Let me stress the significance of what NATO has proposed for the second centre.  The idea is for NATO and Russian officers to work together, on a full-time basis, to develop plans for intercepting missiles that may be launched against either party in a range of scenarios.  The centre would develop concepts of operations, rules of engagement and pre-planned responses for coordinated missile defence operations that could be implemented in the event of an actual attack. 

This would offer an extraordinary degree of “jointness,” even though the missile intercepts would be carried out through each party’s separate command and control systems.  But there would be substantial cooperation at every stage of the intercept process, and this could greatly enhance the effectiveness of our combined missile defence capabilities.

Excerpts from speech by NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow at the RUSI Missile Defence Conference, London, June 12, 2013.    (graphic: Voice of Russia)

Image: vor%206%2012%2013%20NATO%20Russia.jpg