Restructured missile defense system will still defend ‘all NATO European territory in the 2018 timeframe’

Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, July 13, 2010

From Frank A. Rose, Department of State:  On March 15, Secretary Hagel announced changes to U.S. missile defense policy to strengthen U.S. homeland missile defenses due to the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran and North Korea. One of these policy changes is that the SM-3 IIB missile defense interceptor program – the core element of EPAA Phase 4 – is being restructured into a technology development program.

With the SM-3 IIB interceptor, Phase 4 would have provided an intercept capability against ICBMs launched at the U.S. homeland from the Middle East. But the SM-3 IIB program also experienced significant delays, in part due to the U.S. Congress underfunding this interceptor. So as you know, the SM-3 IIB interceptor will no longer be developed or procured. The United States will instead strengthen its homeland defense by procuring additional Ground Based Interceptors – GBIs- for deployment at our existing missile defense site in Fort Greely, Alaska.

As Secretary Hagel announced, we will increase the number of deployed GBIs from the current 30 to 44, providing a nearly 50 percent increase in our capability.

The other two steps that Secretary Hagel announced include:

  • Deploying, with the support of the Japanese Government, an additional AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan. This will provide improved early warning and tracking of any missile launched from North Korea at the United States and/or Japan; and
  • Conducting studies for a potential additional GBI site in the United States. While the Obama Administration has not made any decision on whether to proceed with an additional site, conducting these studies would shorten the timeline for construction should that decision be made.

Finally, let me emphasize that the U.S. commitment to Phases One through Three of the EPAA and NATO missile defense remains ironclad, including the planned sites in Poland and Romania. Like the Administration, the U.S. Congress has supported, and continues to support full funding for Phases 1 through 3.

These U.S. missile defense deployments to Europe will provide the necessary capabilities to provide ballistic missile defense coverage of all NATO European territory in the 2018 timeframe.

I know that some may believe that not fielding Phase 4 may weaken the Transatlantic connection of the EPAA. I would tell you that the connection is still strong. I would emphasize that Phases One through Three of the EPAA will continue to provide important contributions to the defense of the United States homeland and U.S. deployed forces in Europe. For example, the radar deployed in Turkey as part of EPAA can provide important early tracking data on any Iranian missile launches against the United States. The interceptor site to be deployed in Poland, as well as BMD-capable ships at sea, will also be key to protecting the U.S. radar at Fylingdales, which is important to the defense of the U.S. homeland. . . .

We can’t talk about BMD cooperation without talking about our cooperation right here with the Republic of Poland. . . .

I commend my Polish colleagues for their leadership within NATO and domestically on defense modernization which will lead to new and valuable skill sets for NATO. As everyone knows, Poland is leading by example. Where many NATO countries are reducing their defense modernization, Poland is focusing on it – and the “it” that I follow most closely is the Polish efforts to upgrade its Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. This has been a topic of considerable discussion with my Polish counterparts. I expect it will be a topic of continued discussion. It is clear to me that the Government of Poland intends to embark upon a substantial effort that will provide for a greater national expertise which can contribute to NATO air and missile defense capabilities. . . .

We are proud of how much we have already achieved by working with our allies and partners to counter the threat from ballistic missiles, but admittedly, there is still much to do – and we are looking forward to achieving higher levels of BMD cooperation and effectiveness.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Frank A. Rose at Polish National Defense University, Warsaw, April 18, 2013.  (photo: Dominique Nicolas/State Department

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