Full transcript of the second panel discussion on European views of missile defense at the 2010 Atlantic Council Transatlantic Missile Defense Conference.







Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

BOYKO NOEV:  Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is Boyko Noev.  I’m a former minister in the Bulgarian government and former ambassador to NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg, and I had a diplomatic career before that.  We are now in our third panel, which is intended to give a European perspective on ballistic-missile defense, and I wonder whether anything is left to discuss after such a vigorous and detailed debate this morning after Gen. O’Reilly gave us the operational side.  We heard the political side and we also heard our American colleagues speaking a lot about Europe as well. 

But still, obviously there are issues to discuss, and cost should be the least important of them, I think, as 200 million euro is a very, very small amount for a continent like Europe.  And I don’t know, how about the cheese (ph), but if I think of the new NATO headquarters, its cost will, as far as I understand, will go up to a billion.  And this is important of course, so 200 million is not something which would frighten us and not go into this important political endeavor. 

There are issues which have not been discussed in bigger detail this morning, and the influence of the threat assessment over decision-making and the common decision on missile defense, because obviously, there is a different threat assessment within European nations.  There is a different threat assessment within Europe itself.  Then there is a different threat assessment between the United States and Europe because the United States has, among other things, global strategic interests which differ from Europe.  And there are different threat assessments between NATO and Russia, and I think that all these, they have direct relationships on threat assessment.  They have influence on decision-making and on the debate today. 

But I think that the speakers who we have today on the panel are going to come into much more detail, and we have Simon Lunn.  Most of you know Simon and his being secretary general of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.  He had a brief military career as a young person and he was a prolific writer on security and defense issues. 

We have Bruno Gruselle from the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique from France, and it seems that you have specialized into missile defense but also worked for the government in one form or another.  And most of you of course know Ed Buckley.  He’s been presented several times today.  I don’t know whether being assistant secretary general of NATO was the top of your career or it’s still in the coming.

MR.    :  He’s on his way out.

EDGAR BUCKLEY:  I might need more money.  (Laughter.)

MR.    :  Fair enough.

MR. NOEV:  So – well, most of you have seen the bios of the participants, so I won’t lose time with that anymore.  I would give the floor first to Simon, and Simon, you are very much a Brussels man.  You spend most of your time in Brussels, so you know most of the ambassadors with the small talk, the big talk.  What’s your impression at the background of what we heard this morning?

SIMON LUNN:  Well, thanks very much.  Yes, I spend a lot of my time actually, for better or for worse, at the NATO headquarters, because I’ve been for the last 18 months watching or talking to people about the developments of NATO nuclear policy or the lack of development, whichever way you want to look at it, and the way it’s likely to be handled in the strategic concept.  As I said this morning already, missile defense really wasn’t very much on the agenda when I first started talking to people.  And it has been – it’s become much more of an issue recently and for the reasons I think we know. 

So I thought in my brief six minutes what I would do would be to give you some of the reflections I’ve picked up as I’ve increasingly talked to people about the issue of missile defense and to reflect some of the hesitations more than the optimism that we heard this morning.  I would make three or four quick caveats on what we heard this morning. 

First of all, when we talk about the Europeans or the European allies and what their views are of missile defense, it depends on who you’re talking to.  I mean, one must make a distinction between people who – the insiders, the people who work this issue day by day are the people who are from the ministry of defense, people from ministries of foreign affairs or indeed, whether they’re politicians, parliamentarians, et cetera.  So there is no real cohesive view. 

Secondly, thinking about this morning, and the focus there was this morning on the ministerials and then Lisbon.  NATO has an extraordinarily heavy agenda in front of it, of which missile defense is merely one element.  There may be people who feel it’s the most important element, but you’ve got to think about Afghanistan, you’ve got to think a whole range of other things that people are going to have to deal with. 

Thirdly, I listened – I thought the briefings were excellent.  The presentations this morning were excellent.  But particularly I felt about the first presentation, that was a very good view, but it was a technical view, and I wondered how I as a policy advisor would translate that into a briefing for my ministry of defense.  It’s quite difficult.  And at the end of the day it’s al-politics.  These decisions are actually all political and politics is going to play an extraordinarily important role in the decisions that are going to be taken at Lisbon. 

My view of missile defense is that really, one should separate the views very generally into two camps.  There are those countries who definitely support, are fully behind it, and then there are a group of countries, and one doesn’t want to name who they are, but there are a group of countries who have hesitations.  They are the doubters. 

So the supports on the one hand, the doubters on the other.  The doubters, I think, it’s more effective, because this morning we heard some rather optimistic views as to how this was going.  And that’s not to say they were wrong.  It could be, in fact, that everything would turn out well for those people who want missile defense.  It’s quite possible we’ll have consensus on missile defense and its extension to territorial defense, both at the concept and indeed in whatever declarations accompany the concept in Lisbon. 

In one sense, of course, when you talk to people about missile defense, it’s, I think, as Ian hinted this morning, a no-brainer in many ways.  I mean, how could anybody be against missile defense when it’s provided by the United States for free?  And there it is.  It seems dumb really, doesn’t it?  Why wouldn’t you be for protection against this very obvious threat?  And the why wouldn’t you be of course are the questions you ask about any insurance policy.  It is, what is the risk as against what is the cost? 

We may be totally for it, but what are the things that we may have to sacrifice or pay in order to have that protection?  And the number of consequences, of course, that one can point out are not just attached to costs in and of themselves.  Expenditure, as we’ve all said this morning, is very important.  But expenditure isn’t the only opportunity cost.  There are a range of other things that people worry about.  These are not necessary determinants in providing a yes or a no, but they are things that policymakers, politicians, leaders will take into account. 

The first is in fact the whole political situation, the whole question of alliance cohesion and solidarity.  Missile defense is often talked of as being a trans-Atlantic project that will be an important element in supporting alliance solidarity, and particularly the United States’ commitment.  In my talks to some of the new members about the nuclear dimension, often I hear the word glue.  It’s the new glue for the alliance.  It’s the thing, the new element that binds the United States to the defense of Europe. 

So in other words, missile defense for some countries is less important for its own merits than it is for what it represents – in other words, this new element of actually providing a U.S. presence in Europe that people can look at and recognize.  Now, when you talk to people, the same new members, about this and they stress this element, they nevertheless still want the nuclear presence.  It’s not a substitute for the nuclear presence, and even with the substitute existence – which we’re going to talk about at some stage in the future – missile defense is said to complement, not replace them or the whole element of nuclear deterrence. 

So the political element of this is very important, the whole aspect of alliance cohesion, and I would just return to a comment this morning that, yes it’s important for alliance cohesion, but in a burden-sharing sense.  If down the line it is seen that the Europeans are not living up to commitments they made, then it could turn out to be a negative consequence for burden sharing. 

Second element – so that’s the politics.  Second, the expenditure element.  I don’t think we need to go any more than we’ve said this morning.  It’s extraordinarily important.  The age of austerity, how are we spending our money, what are we spending it on and if we’re spending it on a missile defense, elements of missile defense, what are we not spending it on? 

So what are the opportunity costs in a time of great scarcity?  And I’m sure any defense minister, that’s the first thing he’s going to want to ask.  Okay, if we do this, what are we not going to do?  Thirdly, the element of doctrine.  There are people who worry about missile defense from a doctrinal sense.  What does it do in terms of the whole arguments through nuclear deterrence? 

Does it complement nuclear deterrence, does it reduce the need for nuclear weapons in Europe or does it undermine nuclear deterrence?  And I think I’ll leave it for Bruno, because I think the French have particular views on the role of missile defense in deterrence theory, but I would notice that in the NATO debate, France is not the only country that has raised its finger about having doubts about the full implications of missile defense, but from a rather different point of view, Germany also has indicated that it is not – that if there is a decision for missile defense, that it would expect for there to be some implications for the future NATO nuclear posture. 

So that’s a rather different linkage than the French make, but nevertheless, it’s an important one.  The other element which we’ve discussed already this morning which is very significant for everybody is Russia.  Is missile defense the route to a better cooperative relationship or is it the obstacle to a better cooperative relationship to Russia?  And certainly the views of some of the countries at NATO are shaped by this Russian element and this Russian factor.  So what the Russians say and do and what they’re willing to do in terms of cooperation will be a factor in the NATO decision. 

Fourthly, the threat and the singularization (sic) of Iran.  There are countries who, as we discussed this morning, are not particularly happy with the threat capacity being singularized with Iran.  Okay, we had a discussion this morning that in fact this should take account of a much broader range of threats and that even if Iran were to change, then nevertheless the requirement for ballistic missile defense would remain.  But nevertheless, some countries are, and Turkey is one, not particularly happy with the wording at the moment which points the finger so obviously at Iran. 

I thought the discussion this morning, Stephen Larrabee’s question about the Turkish view was very interesting because it seemed to me – I was in Ankara a couple of days back talking on this same issue – and it seemed to me the Turkish officials were saying there was a reluctance.  If they had a view on missile defense, that it very much was a function of a much broader set of issues for them to do with NATO and people’s unawareness of the changing role of Turkey in the region. 

So it wasn’t a reluctance about the systems itself.  Again, it’s a function of politics, and I thought that was rather interesting.  Finally, I won’t talk about the whole question of industrial interests and opportunities because I’m sure Edgar will talk about that, but finally it’s come back to where we are at the moment. 

I think the optimism we heard this morning is fair.  One senses that people are moving in that direction, albeit with these hesitations and of course the pressure – one should never underestimate the pressure exercised by alliance collectivity – on other words, the whole aspect of family, taking a decision around that table which goes in the direction of forcing the consensus or supporting consensus.

So I imagine we are on a glide path to a successful outcome, but I would never underestimate either the potential for some country to say, I’m sorry, that’s not in my national interests and to object to consensus under those grounds.  But again, we’re in a very important stage.  Much will depend on what the ministers decide and we’ll have to wait and see how it’s treated. 

But final point, I come from the parliamentary world, and I must say, this has not as yet featured very highly in terms of parliamentary or public awareness in terms of the parliamentary world.  This has not been an issue that is very much discussed.  It’s sort of a gut reaction, as I described, at the moment.  That sounds good because we don’t have to pay very much and it sounds very nice.  But when all of these other implications are explained, then it is possible people begin to think about it slightly differently. 

How differently remains to be seen, and I think a lot will be – it will be very interesting to see what tradeoffs are made in Lisbon on this as to do with other issues.  And again, I think the pressure of joining a decision as part of the NATO family is very important, but there is still the potential for counties to not quite see this as being completely in their interests.

MR. NOEV:  Well, thank you very much, Simon.  I was not surprised taking the parliamentarian aspect of this whole affair and it was a question which I intended to ask you.  And it touches on the whole big issue about strategic communications, how we present the whole project to the publics.  There is absolutely different awareness, and it’s not only because of geography, but also other things.  So strategic communications and work with parliaments is definitely an important issue, but again, you were among those who didn’t miss Russia today, and Russia has been on the agenda of many of the sessions here and this morning as well. 

But Russia will be on the agenda of President Sarkozy very soon and he is meeting President Medvedev together with Chancellor Merkel.  And just to catch up with what Simon said about the role of France in strategic deterrence and missile defense, I, myself, for me, France is – I’ve tried to follow French politics.  This is very difficult to find something more detailed and explained.  So maybe I’m ignorant and I’m the only one, but I would appreciate your views on that.

BRUNO GRUSELLE:  Thank you very much.  Apparently I’m left with the painful responsibility to be the representative of the pain-in-the-neck country.  So I’ll play my role.  (Laughter.)

You have to remember, I think it’s important that France came a long way on missile defense.  When I started my career in the ministry of defense, the only fact of saying missile defense in front of my bosses would have gained me an explanation.  And we’ve changed on that, and we’ve changed a lot, as President Chirac and President Sarkozy’s speeches show.  We accepted missile defense as being one of the, I would say, strategic tools we can actually build security on.  This change of position was actually a long – came a long way, and there were two reasons for that. 

The first one was, we were convinced, and our militaries were convinced, that we needed theater missile defense to protect our troops, our forces, and also our allies and to be able to counter any access-denial strategy.  That was the first one.  The second one, pretty much like the Chinese or others, we felt that missile defense was inevitable, and as inevitable as it was, it would have an impact on our basic fundamental strategic tools, such as deterrence, as Simon said. 

So we had to adjust.  We had to adjust our fundamental strategic concepts to fit with the probable existence of missile defense and all that brought our political leaders to change, I would say, the rifle from one shoulder to the other.  And it actually turned us from, I would say, vetted hostility to missile defense to something else altogether.  I wouldn’t say support, as many allies are on the way.  I would say pragmatic support and that pragmatic support comes with five elements to be taken into account. 

Obviously, the financial constraints are one very important thing, and we discussed that in length today, but I got two points on that:  First, France is looking at severe defense budget cuts, and that’s about – that’s not my numbers, that’s President Sarkozy’s numbers – that’s 20 percent less in the coming two to three years.  

That means our procurement budget will drop from 13 billion euros to 10 billion euros, and that’s a lot of money to be taken off at a time when we need more materials for armed forces.  So that’s a very severe cut and that will be taken into account in any missile defense, European missile defense project that will be coming after Lisbon. 

So well, I would say that banishes us from producing our own missile defense.  So we won’t go on missile defense as we went on nuclear deterrence.  It doesn’t mean that we will not engage in any national program on missile defense, I would say, key elements, one of them being early warning.  Our nuclear people are very keen on space early warning, for instance, as one of the things that guarantees a national autonomy of decision.

The second element to be taken into account, and it actually is linked to financial constraints, is I think what we see as the fundamental ambiguity of missile defense purposes in the alliance.  Simon said that a couple of minutes ago, and it’s been said extensively this morning.  Not all allies have the same interest in missile defense.  Our Eastern allies are very concerned with tactical nukes development and deployment by Russia on their frontier. 

Our Southern allies are more interested in what’s going on in Iran and probably in other countries.  Some others, and probably most of the allies, have interest in reengaging the U.S. in Europe.  And while we see less interest and budgetary constraints also in the GOD (ph), and that will impact probably how the U.S. will engage in Europe.

Third is probably that we think – we still think today that theater missile defense and force protection is a very key capability to have as a country that still wishes to participate to outside ventures or outside military ventures.  I think in Paris, we will look at European missile defense by asking ourselves if that has any adverse effects on theater missile defense, and especially on the active layered program.  We want to see active-layered TMD to go to – (inaudible) – in 2012, be active and efficient.  So that’s very much, I would say, an operational priority for our forces.

Four, and it has to be taken into account, we have large industrial interest in missile defense.  We still have a very large defense-industrial base in Europe and especially in France and Germany and the U.K., obviously, and we will look at any European missile defense program with that (from the lenses?) of our industrial interests.  Finally, and we’ve tackled that this morning, we’ll still have an issue with command and control.  You may say it’s not an issue, but it is, and in Paris there are some policymakers who are very concerned with who and how decisions are made on engaging missile defense assets when they will be deployed in Europe.

As a conclusion, I think we have quite a road ahead after Lisbon.  I mean, Lisbon will probably – and I think Paris is in support of that – will come – (audio break) on missile defense – (audio break) – political decision that, from my point of view, has already been made in Prague like five years ago, was it?  But again, it will be resaid that we have interests in protecting Europe against ballistic missile.  But there will be a lot of operational, political and technical problems to be tackled with.  There is need for these to be solved if we want to go ahead with European missile defense.  Thank you.

MR. NOEV:  Thank you, Bruno.  Well, I have some questions which I’m going to ask after this first round and, Ed, are you going to speak on behalf of a French company now or on behalf of a –

EDGAR BUCKLEY:  Well, I’m going to speak – and I was going to say this – I was going to declare my interest, Boyko, before I speak.  My interest is that I speak on behalf of Thales, which is an international company.

MR. NOEV:  You lost money there.

MR. BUCKLEY:  We lost money in Thales Raytheon Systems.  I’m a director of Thales Raytheon Systems, and I speak under the control of my colleagues from Raytheon.  But we took a contract to develop the air command-and-control system for NATO.  It’s a fixed-price contract, which American companies know nothing about, of course, because they don’t deal in them.  But we do, and we lost 150 million euros developing that system for reasons I could explain.

But I’ve prepared four points, but I did want to tell you where I’m coming from.  Thales is the main company in Europe that builds radars.  There are others that do it.  Selex is a good capability but Thales is probably the leading European radar company.  We also make missile seeker systems.  We make the seeker for the SAMP/T, which MBDA makes, and we make command systems for ships and other platforms.  Thales Raytheon Systems, a 50-50 joint venture with Raytheon, makes the air command-and-control systems for air defense and for missile defense. 

So – and Thales also has a leading interest in Thales Alenia Space, which makes early warning satellite systems and many other satellite systems as well.  So across the board, the companies I represent are heavily involved in missile defense.  And I’ve got four points that I want to make.  Somebody once introduced a talk on missile defense I went to. And he said this is a very complicated subject.  The problem with missile defense is it is rocket science.  (Laughter.)

You can get lost in the details.  I’ve prepared four, I think, simple points.  The first point I think is that European governments do now accept the rationale and the need for territorial missile defense, and they do want to see it deployed in NATO.  I think we will, therefore, get a decision at Lisbon that missile defense will be a mission of NATO, and I think it will be framed in a way to suggest that the ALTBMD system, that defense against theater ballistic missiles, should be expanded to cover territorial missile defense as well.

It’s very important the way that I think the way it will be put.  And these are very important political decisions, because as I said earlier, to Frank Rose I think it was, at the moment, the United States policy is rather a challenge to NATO, because it is as a U.S. initiative putting its foot into the defense of Europe, which up until now has been dealt with by NATO. 

Now, I don’t think the United States is very comfortable with that, and we heard from Kari Bingen that many in the House Armed Services Committee are not comfortable with it, and I wouldn’t be comfortable with it.  And speaking in my old NATO personality, I wouldn’t be comfortable with it.  I think these things are much better done inside NATO. 

My second point, however, is that I think there are still important questions as to what form missile defense will take in Europe and what part the European allies will play in it.  As regards to the form the system will take, and here I come to Bruno’s point, I think it needs to be integrated with the existing system of air and missile defense in Europe.  If you remember the chart which Gen. O’Reilly put on the board this morning, you saw ICBMs, then you saw MRBMs, IRBMs and then SRBMs, these three circles.  I didn’t see any cruise missiles on there.  I didn’t see any aircraft on there.  But in fact, the way the defense of Europe is organized, that all has to be integrated. 

We’re not going to have, as you have in the United States, an air defense system and a missile defense system which are separate.  That’s simply unaffordable.  It doesn’t make sense militarily.  It doesn’t make sense financially.  It doesn’t make sense politically.  So he did accept that in the end in his final remarks.  He said, this is going to have to be integrated. 

Well, that’s not nothing.  That’s something which needs to be done.  And I think in Europe, this has to come together under the command of SACEUR, who is, as you know, an American four-star officer who operates under the authority, for this purpose, of the North Atlantic Council.  He’s also double-hatted as CINCEUR, commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in Europe. 

Now, the challenge, of course, in command-and-control terms is to find a way so that these assets can be controlled by NATO in the ordinary way that NATO controls all forces in Europe and at the same time they can be available for the homeland defense of the United States.  Now, as Frank Rose says, I don’t think that’s impossible. 

We’ve had this problem before.  We have it with nuclear weapons, the Single Integrated Operational Plan, which has always existed for the nuclear end of the world, has always had an American control over it but also a NATO control over it, and how that would have worked out in practice, thank God we never had to find out.  But politically, it was all resolved, and I think we can resolve this for missile defense much easier than it was done for nuclear defense.  But it does need to be done.

My third point is that the United States needs to involve its allies and its partners so that NATO and NATO-Russia relations are not impaired by this.  Now, of course the United States knows this full well.  It’s like me telling my grandmother how to suck eggs.  But it’s a point worth making because even as the phased adaptive approach is rolled out, I think the architecture of a European system needs to be designed and constructed in NATO.  Gen. O’Reilly gave the impression that, no, no, no, the NATO system would integrate with the U.S. system. 

Well, I’m not so sure about that, and lots of other allies will have to be convinced of it as well.  I think we need a system of networked land, sea and space-based sensors.  They have to be networked together, and they need to be linked to short and medium-ranged and longer-range effectors and they need to be linked to an integrated battle-management command-and-control system.  And Europeans will need to contribute to that architecture in different ways and to different degrees depending on their budgets and the priority choices they make.  But there are significant European capabilities out there. 

For example, you have sea-based radars, the SMART-L, which has a very effective long-range warning capability.  It’s already deployed on many European ships.  You have land-based radars, which are in development.  You have short range, lower level and medium-level missiles which are in development, SAMP/T and MEADS, and there are plans to provide upper-tier capabilities.  Whether they will ever be affordable, I’m not sure, but the plans are still there. 

And then you have the ACS-based battle management command-and-control system, which I referred to earlier, which is just about to go on contract to be delivered for theater missile defense for NATO for ALTBMD.  And finally, of course you have the Russian capabilities which we’ve already talked about.

My fourth point is – and here I pick up Simon’s point – a trans-Atlantic missile defense architecture must, in my opinion, engage trans-Atlantic defense industry, and it must be based on the current NATO ALTBMD architecture.  Of course it needs to be integrated with the phased adaptive approach, but I think it has to be based on that ALTBMD architecture. 

I think that’s the implication of the decision that the ALTBMD system will be expanded to provide missile defense.  It doesn’t mean the re-engineering of the phased adaptive approach.  But it does mean, I think, that the common funded BMC3 glue for the integrated system will need to be delivered by trans-Atlantic industry and it will need to be based on the current ALTBMD approach. 

Now, why trans-Atlantic industry?  Why?  Because European governments need to master this technology.  They need to know how this thing works.  It’s not going to be a black box.  Okay, I think it also makes sense to have trans-Atlantic cooperation to deliver the network sensors that we need, and my company’s already talking to other companies about that. 

We need to ensure that the U.S. missiles, the SM-3 missiles are accessible to European fire control systems.  At the moment, they’re not.  They work on a different radar band.  It’s not difficult to fix this, but they need to have an X-band fire-control accessibility so that European ships which work on X-band can have a link with those missiles.

All this can be worked out, and European industry is ready to play its part in that.  But it’s something which needs to be done.  So bringing this to a conclusion, I think the potential benefits of missile defense for NATO and for the allies are large. 

But I think the United States is going to have to be patient with its allies, patient because their budgets are under severe pressure, and we needn’t spend too much time asking ourselves why that is so.  The investments by nations may, therefore, need to be delayed somewhat.  They need to be patient because NATO’s own decision-making process in this domain has been poor until now, and there have been delays and wasteful duplications inside the ALTBMD program. 

But finally, I think if the United States pushes this carefully and patiently, if it’s developed inside the framework of NATO, if it’s accepted by the European allies, which I think it will be, and by Russia, which I think it could be, then missile defense can be a pattern and an opportunity for the more cooperative approach to European security that we all want to see.  Thanks, Boyko.

MR. NOEV:  Well, thank you, Edgar.  You finish on a very optimistic thought, which I think was a red line which passed through the debate and the conference today from the morning to now.  I was a little bit surprised of nuances in the interpretation of Russia’s attitudes.  We heard from Gen. O’Reilly this morning that the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is working with the Russians on an almost everyday basis on the technical aspects of that, and I didn’t hear any problem from him. 

On the other hand, on the political side we heard that the Russian side would not answer some – (inaudible) – suggestion, which we don’t know what it is.  At the same time, we hear that our Russian colleagues are reluctant to engage proactively into this.  Why do you think is this difference of approaches on behalf of Russia being eager to cooperate and to talk about technical things and at the same time being reluctant to discuss the political side of the issue?

MR. BUCKLEY:  Well, they say that Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in something else.  I forgot what it was.  But the only time I’ve ever discussed cooperation with Russia, the only times I’ve ever done it, I’ve always had the same answer, which is they want you to have industrial cooperation.  It’s very strange and very surprising to me, because you imagine that you’re going to have a political strategic discussion with some great power broker from the Kremlin, but as soon, immediately after you talk about practical cooperation, they want to know what contracts they can get for their industry. 

I don’t know whether that is the case in the missile defense cooperation discussions going on between the MDA and the Russians.  But if it is, they’ve got trouble.  There’s going to be difficulty about that because the ITAR complications of managing that, I think, are unimaginable.  I can’t imagine how you would go about that.

MR. NOEV:  Well, obviously, and what we saw today from Gen. O’Reilly and some of us have seen the – (inaudible) – of the missiles, the missile defense would not in any way affect Russia’s strategic interests and their strategic arsenals and there are those who argue that in fact, for Russia it is not the military threat or technical threat that they may face from the alliance but what they’re afraid of or uncomfortable with is the unity of the alliance, if missile defense turns into a strong unifying factor.  What do you think, Simon?

MR. LUNN:  Well, I think you can’t disengage it from the general – I mean, Russian, still, antagonism, suspicion, hostility to anything to do with NATO.  I think it goes very deep and we know the historical reasons and the unhappiness and so on.  I think it’s very difficult to disengage this from that general position.  I mean, we are forever telling the Russians in one way or another that what we’re doing has no threat, has no – they shouldn’t worry about it.  But they seem remarkably good at not listening to us and seeing it differently. 

If we’re looking now – if we change subjects and look at now our hopes to sort of revive the CFE regime and engage them in greater transparency and so on and we are told, oh, well, they may be interested in that because they see a situation of gross conventional inferiority.  And you have to say, well, how on Earth can they see that?  But then they do, and that’s the bottom line.  And I think with missile defense, it is one of those situations where they probably can see a number of these things which will in their – it’s not necessarily the threat to their strategic capabilities. 

I have no idea to what degree they believe that to be true, but they can certainly hear our arguments about this being a good thing for NATO, this being a good thing for trans-Atlantic cohesion, this being a good thing binding the United States more firmly to European defense, and they can certainly hear the new members being very enthusiastic about this for the reasons we know.  That probably isn’t good news to them.  Probably they’re not reassured by that. 

So I think it’s a very, very difficult and mixed picture, and it goes to I think the comment this morning.  I was told quite recently that people are still waiting to hear whether President Medvedev will go or not and whether he goes or not to Lisbon will be very much a function of what we are deciding on missile defense, and it’s a chicken and egg thing in a way. 

Obviously there will be no additional consensus until – I guess unless the ministers show such progress that one can pronounce already that we’ve got consensus on the strategic concept.  I doubt that.  But obviously, the whole Russian element in this, and again, to go one little step further, I’ve always thought that the whole – the chapter on Russia in the strategic concept must be one of the most difficult ones to get agreement on.  And again, missile defense links into this.

MR. NOEV:  Well, thank you.  I’ll ask a question to Bruno because you mentioned France being somewhat different from – you used another word – and I think that having Gen. Abrial here in ACT, and we met several times with him here in the council – contradicts this very much.  I could hope that we may send a friend general on the head of the European missile defense sometime in the future.  But we again spoke about Russia and France and Germany and this summit which is coming.  Do you think missile defense will be on the agenda in one way or another?

MR. GRUSELLE:  Well, it is on the agenda.  I mean, France is not against – it’s not in opposition to missile defense at all.  We’ve come a long way from saying that this was a problem for strategic stability, which is what we said in the 1990s.  We went from that to support missile defense in NATO to the extent that it will be coherent with our own strategic needs and national security.  We probably won’t accept – I mean, I’m not talking – I don’t have any official capacity here. 

But what I see in Paris is people who will be reluctant to spend money and political capital on missile defense.  And as you may know, President Sarkozy has a full plate of other things to look upon.  Defense is only one of them, and defense has never been one of his strong points.  He will support missile defense because he thinks that it is important as to protect the alliance, to protect France against ballistic missiles.  But he won’t spend extra money on it, and that’s the end of it.  I mean, that’s where our support will end. 

But again, it’s on the agenda.  It’s been on the agenda in France for as long as I can remember, I think 10 years.  When George W. Bush became president, we make a strategic review of our position on missile defense, and that’s when you can see our political policy actually changed on this issue.  It won’t change – I mean, it won’t change in the general direction we’ve taken.  It will change on the details and programmatic, operational issues.

MR. NOEV:  Okay, thank you very much.  Peter?

PETER FLORY:  Thank you.  Boyko, this is primarily for Bruno and Edgar.  But you just – earlier in your list of things that were important for France, you mentioned, rightly, industrial participation in missile defense, and Edgar talked about a number of specific capabilities that are being developed.  And I, in my old hat, spend three years going around Europe and France encouraging French industry and other European industry to invest in missile defense capabilities, and yet you’ve said it’s a priority for France but also that there will be no money for it. 

The reason there are missile defense capabilities, the reason the U.S. is in a position to field it and provide it and in some cases to export systems is because the U.S. spent a lot of money to develop it.  So my question is – and this is somebody who thinks it’s important to have a broader industrial base in this area – how is Europe going to get from where it is now to actually being able to make more ambitious contributions, because if you don’t have anything to sell, then nobody can buy anything from you.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Right, you want to –

MR. BUCKLEY:  Well, the first thing I would say is that not all this stuff costs as much money as you think.  To extend the capability of the SMART-L radar, which is a radar produced by Thales Netherlands and which is already on many, many European ships, would not cost that much.  I’m talking less than a couple hundred million euros to do that and probably less than 100 million (euros). 

Now, that would need to be financed by the customers of that product which means the navies who have that capability on their ships.  Somebody needs to start that process going and the Dutch government is considering to do that.  But it needs to get interest from other navies who are deploying their radar.  There is a radar being developed for the SAMP/T called the GS1000, which is being developed by Thales France.  The investment to deliver the development of that radar is not altogether different from the sort of sums I’ve been talking about.  We’re not talking billions of euros.  We’re talking low hundreds.  It’s of that order. 

Now, of course, when you go into a budget discussion of the nature we’ve been having in Europe these days, that’s very difficult.  But it’s not impossible to get these things through.  It just depends on the priorities as they’re seen month to month, year to year I still expect to see the GS1000 developed to provide greater capability for the SAMP/T.  I expect to see the SMART-L extended and to provide a very important early warning for the whole of the NATO capability. 

What Gen. O’Reilly said this morning was that when you improve the sensor capability, you increase the efficiency of the system by up to six times.  It’s the low-end investment part.  It’s the part of the equation which is the most efficient.  So if you’re talking about developing new upper-tier effectors, then of course you’re into the billions, and there I think we’ll have to see.  But I don’t think that’s in anyone’s budget at the moment.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Right, well, I do agree with you.  I’ll be very candid about that.  There’s no money for missile defense in France.  That’s my feeling.  It’s probably not the truth, maybe not the truth.  But I don’t think – everything that is not on track right now, I mean SMART-L radar, the SAMP/T, (spiral ? ) satellite system – everything that is on track will probably go to the end.  The question is what new programs will we have in the coming two years?

I mean, in two years we get general elections.  President Sarkozy will not spend his little remaining political capital on raising the funds for defense.  I mean, it’s obvious in Paris.  He will do whatever is needed to keep programs that are absolutely necessary to the military, and that’s not missile defense.  So to answer your question candidly and to answer the question of burden sharing seen from Paris, there won’t be more investment on missile defense, and that’s my analysis.  It’s probably – I hope it won’t be true.  But I think that’s what will happen.

MR. NOEV:  Do I have another question over there?

Q:  Thanks.  Tom Collina, Arms Control Association.  Simon, you talked about the concern that some countries in Europe have about Russia’s response to the phased adaptive approach and what that might mean for European security.  How deep does that run in European countries?  How many – I don’t want a number, but your sense of, how strong is that concern of what Russia will do in response to this?  If missile defense cooperation doesn’t pan out, which I think we all have our doubts about, what will the consequences be in your mind and how deep does that concern go in European capitals?  Thanks.

MR. LUNN:  Well, I think you’d have to, again, look at the countries within NATO in two separate groups, maybe more than two.  But you’ve certainly got on the one hand countries who – I would say they’re the more traditional members of NATO at least – who are very anxious to develop a more cooperative relationship with Russia. 

They see it manifested in many, many different areas and they would be – they are concerned.  One of the concerns – we did – we talked about it when it came up this morning, was the whole question of disarmament, the whole question of START ratification and so on and the possible effect that missile defense may have on that particular issue.  And that is certainly one of the things that people are discussing now within the strategic concept and the degree of weight that now will be placed on NATO’s potential role in disarmament. 

Obviously that has implications for Russia.  However, obviously, on the other hand, you have some of the newer members who are not particularly worried about that relationship; precisely the opposite.  Their view is, as we know well, one of rather more traditional suspicion of Russia.  And one of the reasons they welcome missile defense is precisely for the reasons I said and others have alluded to, is the fact that for them, this is a re-engagement, a proof of re-engagement and confirmation of the American commitment, and there’s no doubt why they feel that that’s important, given their history and strategic location. 

So in other words, the views from NATO are rather mixed on this, and I think one of the problems that they will be coping with now in doing the concept is precisely the balance to be struck on those things, on the hesitations and the – if we take, to name one of the countries we know is very keen on having NATO play a greater role in disarmament, which is Germany.  German positions on this are quite clear, and I would assume that any hesitations that Germany has, if they have hesitations about missile defense, will be somewhat reconciled if indeed they get more of what they want in the disarmament.  It’s one of those tradeoffs that’s going on at the moment, I suspect. 

So as I say, on the one hand you’ve got countries that are – the Russian relationship definitely plays a big role in it and it’s the same with any policy.  On the other hand, within NATO you’ve got a group of countries who are distinctly not worried about that aspect.

MR. NOEV:  Okay, do we have some more?  We are nearing the end of – Ian, before are you going to wrap up?


    MR. NOEV:  Okay, Ian, go ahead.

    MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Ian Brzezinski, Atlantic Council.  Bruno, could you elaborate a little bit more on some of the C2 concerns, the command-and-control concerns you mentioned briefly in your presentation?  I’d be interested in what side, what are the arguments that will be made by some of the doubters, perhaps in the French government and in other European governments, concerning command and control and the management of a missile defense system.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Thank you.  Yeah, well, I mean, it’s what I heard in Paris.  So it’s rather a number of elements on C2.  One of them is – one of the comments I heard is to say, well, if a missile is fired from Iran, the time to intercept will be around 10 to 15 minutes, flight time will be 10 to 15 minutes.  So any engagement decision doesn’t have to be automatic.  We can put people in the loop to make the decision to intercept or not intercept.  As French, we want to have that man in the loop to take the decision to intercept or not intercept.  That’s one point I heard.

Second point is – and that’s been said this morning.  We don’t want the decision to be made by people in – (inaudible) – to intercept or not intercept something on a path to Europe.  So we want that to be a secure responsibility.  Finally, we heard a lot this morning about how the alliance battle management, command and control will be integrated into C2BMC.  I don’t think that’s acceptable. 

I’ll be frank.  I don’t think that’s acceptable seen from Paris.  We want interaction between the ACCS or future BMC3 of a European missile defense and C2BMC to be effective.  We don’t want more than interaction.  I mean, that’s basically the three points I heard in Paris on that subject, if that answers your question.

MR. NOEV:  Thank you, Bruno.  Before I give the floor to Damon, could you clarify?  I could not understand.  For instance, if we have an Iranian missile in the air targeted over Europe, who might have an interest not to intercept the Iranian missile?

MR.    :  The Iranians.

MR. GRUSELLE:  The French.

MR.    :  Depending on the French policy, it could be the United States.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)  But again, I don’t support that.  I’m just saying what’s the thinking in Paris.  But these people say we want to be in the loop.  We want to be able to decide not to intercept, if that’s our will, and we don’t think that should be an automatic decision.  And that’s how it’s solved to them.  If they react that way, it’s because probably they think that what the U.S. is saying to them is, it will be automatic and you won’t have a say on if things are intercepted or not intercepted.  That’s why they react that way.

MR. BUCKLEY:  Can I just add, I think you need to bear in mind that the level of comprehension about the real issues in missile defense decreases the further up you go in the administration.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Of course.

MR. BUCKLEY:  The more senior the levels you get to, the less they know about it and that’s the way it should be. 

MR. GRUSELLE:  Yeah, that’s –

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCKLEY:  That’s probably right.  But also, it is very complicated and probably 99 percent of the people who talk about the subject don’t understand it.  However, I think one thing is worth adding, and what is reasonable on command and control is that the political leaders should have some assurance, the European political leaders in particular from my perspective, that the technology, the software, the logic of the command-and-control system is well-understood and mastered by industries that they have faith in, and that includes trans-Atlantic industries.

MR. GRUSELLE:  Yeah, that’s the reasonable people.  But there are people unreasonable in Paris.  It’s always been a fact and it’s going to be the fact for the remaining of my existence, I think.  So we have to deal with it and dealing with it is – I’m not saying we need to have a human decision at all costs.  We need to address that concern of some of the politics in Paris that they want France to be part of a human decision-making process on missile defense interceptions.

MR. NOEV:  Okay, Damon?

DAMON WILSON:  First of all, let me thank all of you.  I think you’ve done a terrific job of sort of reminding an American ear of how this whole issue plays out from a European perspective.  I think it’s very important given the state of our debate.  It’s so – as you say, our parliament, our congressional discussions are completely different from how some of these conversations are taking place in Europe.  So I value this. 

I wanted to pick up on something that Simon mentioned in his presentation about how many Europeans see missile defense in this sort of ambitious plan as part of the American interest in embracing European security.  So therefore it actually is a good thing because it shows abiding American interest in European security issues.  I wanted to ask – turn that back to ask the panel, I wanted to ask this to you too, Boyko, how much the strategic concept is now in part going to embrace this concept of strategic reassurance, and particularly the credibility of Article 5 and reassurance to many members in Central and Eastern Europe. 

As American policymakers think about this, it presents them with a little bit of a conundrum, because strategic reassurance means you need to do some things in Europe with troops, with infrastructure that, all things considered, for budgetary reasons, other priorities around the world, we may not really want to do.  And so we’re sort of balancing that pressure a little bit. 

A good example of that is, we’re going to lead with this theme of strategic reassurance at the Lisbon summit, and yet we may follow the Lisbon summit within a matter of weeks on a decision to withdraw two brigade combat teams from Europe, sort of the most concrete expression of America’s commitment to European security with American boots on the ground. 

How much does this whole missile defense issue fit into that narrative of strategic reassurance to our allies?  How much does it allow the Americans to show they embrace and care about European security and then be able to respond and follow up with withdrawing sort of classical troops by putting in new conventional threats?  How does that play out in the political narrative in Europe?

MR. NOEV:  Well, I definitely believe that reassurance is a key issue, and there are differences in the alliance about this.  What Bruno said about French politics – and if I was a French politician probably I would think the same way – France is on the one hand a big country with global interests, much bigger and with different interests rather than the Czech Republic, Poland – Poland is also bigger, but Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, even Romania.  So it’s a different size, different influence, different geopolitical position.  So these differences are very natural, and these are not fundamental divisions within the alliance.  This is how it is. 

From our perspective as a small country in Southeastern Europe on the flight path of possible and within the reach of present Iranian technology, we are certainly interested because this, theoretically and in a way practically, gives a foreign player an opportunity to affect our decision-making process and political decision making, and this is fundamentally unacceptable. 

The Iranian ambassador was in the ministry of defense the other day explaining for one or two of our people that Iran has no hostile attitudes, et cetera, et cetera, and our people told him, look, then why do you then develop this capability?  And he said that the Middle East is their sphere of interest.  And we said, why do you develop 3,000 kilometer capability and we fall under this?  And he couldn’t answer. 

So yes, for us this is a serious issue, and it’s different from even U.K. and France.  And on the budgetary side, we are now completing – I mean, we, the ministry of defense, is completing the white book on defense and the most important conclusion which has also been made public is that the threat, the immediate threat which we see potential threat in the immediate future will come from the air.  That’s the motto, and this will have implications for our air defense, fighters, ground-based, et cetera, et cetera. 

So this is the perception.  Obviously it’s different for France.  So yes, reassurance is very important and that’s why we’re supporting a proactive approach.  If it were France to come and say, let’s do missile defense, we’ll do it actively, proactively.  Now what we see is the United States coming with this and we believe this is good.  This unites the alliance.  Proven technology, as we hear, and we want to be involved.

MR. WILSON:  But does Aegis that assure you’re more relaxed about the withdrawal of further American ground forces?

MR. NOEV:  Well, definitely.  It’s again the issue about linkage, trans-Atlantic linkage, and this brings me to the debate in the mid-’80s about the zero options –

MR. BUCKLEY:  Missiles.

MR. NOEV:  Yeah, but we’re coming to a different debate on this.  So yes, we believe that – at the same time we do not believe the concerns that other countries like France and others are illegitimate.  But this is how allies should discuss it.  But I believe it will be an optimistic outcome.

MR. LUNN:  Yeah, it’s probably the most positive.  I mean, I think when you look at missile defense debate overall, I think this is probably for everybody the most positive aspect, this whole question of engagement and reassurance.  I mean, it’s not just for Central and Eastern Europe, although we understand their particular concerns.  It is also for other allies, all part of what I would call the alliance family effort. 

To go back to our dear ministers of defense who are going to have to cope with this this week, I am sure a lot of the technical stuff is probably going to go over their heads.  As Edgar said, not many people understand this.  But if you’re a minister of defense and you know that the United States wants this and the United States is making it available and we can plug in, my experts tell me, reasonably easily and without too much expense, then it does become a no-brainer. 

Why not?  Why would you possibly in an alliance go against that?  So I think it is a very powerful argument which actually doesn’t have a lot to do at the end of the day with what it’s supposed to cope with, ballistic missiles.  But that’s all right.  That’s why I think the question of the new glue is quite important.

MR. BUCKLEY:  Damon, I think it’s all linked.  It’s all politics. 

MR. NOEV:  Bruno, you were about to say something?

MR. GRUSELLE:  No, just to add a comment that like in SACEUR, there’s no small nation in NATO and big one, there’s only one big nation in NATO, which is the United States, and obviously in Paris we will be happy to see less Americans on the European soils.  But on the other hand, it’s true.  I think we feel like a family who has been neglected for a few years, and I think there’s a lot in Europe about being happy that the U.S. are here and that we know the alliance is alive. 

If missile defense participates to that, then that’s good at the end of the day.  That’s how we will probably see the whole thing and the whole program, as a very important thing to reassure Europeans that the U.S. are there.  And how many brigades are out?  Well, that’s another issue that we have to solve all together.

MR. NOEV:  Well, thank you.  We are about to – oh, we are two minutes over time.  Well, thank you very much, the panelists.  Let’s congratulate – (applause.)

And Ian, can I ask you to wrap up the whole thing on an optimistic note?  As Ed said, the more we discuss, the less we understand.

MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Let me just say on behalf of The Atlantic Council and Damon and everyone who is part of the Atlantic Council community, a big thank you to our moderator and our speakers for what I think has been a really thorough discussion on missile defense and this fabric of dynamics which come into play, technological, the budgetary, the political, the Russian dimension.  All of these are coming into play and are very difficult to manage. 

Of course, we had a very timely setting for our conference with the Lisbon summit coming up tomorrow and the next day’s NATO ministerial, which means we’re going to these issues we discussed today come out into play in perhaps visionary terms, in perhaps operational terms and perhaps in budgetary terms.  Let me give a special thanks to our European guests for making the trek across the Atlantic.  We’re particularly grateful for that.  Let me also thank Jeff Lightfoot, Patricia Puttman, Robert Bracknell and Simona Kordosova.


MR. BRZEZINSKI:  Kordosova, it’s almost as bad as Brzezinski, because they are the ones that pulled this all together and orchestrated what I think was an impressive set of discussions.  Let me also thank Jim Miller and Raytheon for making this all possible.  We’re very grateful and thank you all for our participation today.  (Applause.)


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