From Ivo Daalder, U.S. Mission to NATO:  In Chicago, the Alliance followed through on its promise to deploy capable defenses against the most dangerous twenty-first century threats. We announced that NATO had achieved an Interim BMD Capability. This interim capability represented an immediate, operationally significant first step toward fulfilling our Lisbon commitment.

  • NATO agreed to a set of command and control procedures for ballistic missile defense.
  • We have designated the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Admiral Jim Stavridis, as the commander for the missile defense mission.
  • We have tested and validated an integrated command and control capability.
  • We have agreements with four countries—Poland, Romania, Turkey, and Spain—to host U.S.missile defense assets.
  • Allies have committed to invest over 1 billion dollars in the command and control and communications infrastructure needed to support the NATO ballistic missile defense system.
  • President Obama has directed and we have completed the transfer of operational control of our radar in Turkey to NATO.
  • And U.S. missile defense ships are already in the Mediterranean, and able to operate under NATO operational control if necessary in a crisis.

As NATO’s leaders said in Chicago, the missile defense system online today offers “the maximum coverage within available means, to defend our populations, territory and forces across southern NATO Europe against ballistic missile attack.”

Chicago was a critical step, but it is only the beginning. We expect NATO BMD to reach full operational capacity by the end of this decade. . . .

[M]issile defense is truly a NATO mission. It will soon protect all Allies. And it functions with rules of operation and defense plans agreed to by all NATO members.

Consequently, contributions to missile defense must come from both sides of the North Atlantic.

On this front, I can share some good news. Europeans are stepping up to the plate on missile defense.

  • Spain is providing a home for Aegis ships at its base in Rota.
  • Turkey is providing a base for the TPY-2 radar on its territory.
  • Romania and Poland are providing facilities for land-based missile defense interceptors.
  • France is exploring the commitment of Spirale, the early warning satellite system it’s developing.
  • Germany and the Netherlands are contributing their Patriot missiles to the collective effort.
  • The Netherlands has committed 250 million Euros to upgrade the radars of its frigates to interlink with Aegis, thereby extending the size of the “defended footprint.”
  • Nine NATO Allies are participating in the Maritime Theater Missile Defense Forum, which is developing sea-based missile defense interoperability through a rigorous exercise program.
  • And all NATO members are carrying their assigned share of the cost to complete NATO’s missile defense command and control system—the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense program—and to expand it to include territorial and population defense.

However, as important as these European commitments are, they are not enough. We need more European national contributions to NATO missile defense to compliment EPAA.

Robust missile defense is not cheap, nor are ballistic missile threats static. Working to constantly develop and improve our MD capability must be a collective priority. . . .

The United States is asking Europe to take on a larger role in missile defense because NATO’s ethos should be one of fair burden sharing.    But we are also asking Europe to assume more responsibility because we know it can.

European industries are world class in aviation, lower-level theater missile defense, and other related technologies. And they can be a world-class player in territorial missile defense as well – though neither industry nor government has yet really committed the necessary focus and resources.

Excerpts from Ambassador Ivo Daalder’s remarks on NATO Missile Defense, at the Missile Defense Conference.  (graphic: Voice of America)