Full transcript of LTG Patrick O’Reilly’s remarks and discussion at the 2009 missile defense conference “Missile Defense in Europe: Next Steps.”
- Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council
- LTG Patrick O’Reilly, Director, Missile Defense Agency
October 7, 2009
FREDERICK KEMPE: Good morning and welcome to the Atlantic Council. I am Fred Kempe, president and CEO. I know a lot of you already know that, but we always do it for the recording, so forgive me for being so repetitive.
It is nice to see you all here for today’s timely and critically important conference: “Next Steps on Missile Defense in Europe.” We always like to deal with the least controversial issues and so that is why we brought it here.
As you likely know, the Atlantic Council has been all over this issue. Just two weeks ago, the council hosted a conference call for its members with Assistant Secretary of Defense Ambassador Alexander Vershbow and Gen. Patrick O’Reilly of the Missile Defense Agency. And they did a briefing on the administration’s trip to Europe to brief NATO and individual allies on the administration’s new missile defense policy.
We did that on a conference call by telephone because it was very important to get out fast and get out fast with what was behind the decision, particularly considering some of the controversy that swirled around it. The call was on the record. It was excellent. And the transcript is on our Web site if you want to call upon it.
But as I stand up here now, I am feeling a little bit of déjà vu as I look around the world as we did something similar to this in 2007, with many of the same players, though in somewhat different jobs. The conference featured a number of excellent speakers, including Rep. Ellen Tauscher from California, Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency Patrick O’Reilly and former NATO Assistant Sec-Gen. Bob Bell among others. I am pleased that our conference today will feature a few of the same speakers as we welcomed in 2007 on Third Site; although, as I said, in somewhat different jobs.
Just a bit later this morning, Ellen Tauscher will discuss the Obama administration’s approach to missile defense in Europe. Just two years ago, she spoke at our Third Site conference as Rep. Ellen Tauscher, chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Today she will speak as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Congress will be represented today by our lunchtime speaker, Rep. Michael Turner, Republican of Ohio and ranking member of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
We will kick off our conference with a technical briefing by Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly of the U.S. Army, director now of the Missile Defense Agency. Just two years ago, he was here at our conference as brigadier general and, as I said, deputy director.
I am also very happy Bob Bell can join us for this year’s conference again to talk about possible cooperation with Russia, one of the more interesting questions, of course, involved in this. Bob is with SAIC in Brussels. And he is also a leading member of our strategic advisors group and its work on NATO’s new strategic concept.
There is also one other difference. The international security program oversees all of this work for us at the Atlantic Council. And last time, it was being headed by vice president with the Atlantic Council, Jim Townsend, who is now in the Pentagon. It is now being headed by vice president of the Atlantic Council, Damon Wilson, who at the point was in the White House as senior director for Europe. So different faces in different jobs and a somewhat different conversation.
The context for missile defense in Europe is quite different and that is why we are here hosting the follow-on conference. On September 17th, President Obama and his administration announced their decision to pursue alternative architectures and technologies for missile defense in Europe, scrapping the Bush administration plan in favor of a phased, adaptive approach.
This decision has important implications for European security and thus, obviously for the Atlantic Council. Bilateral ties, NATO ties, relationships with the Russian Federation. Let me just quote Ellen Tauscher from her testimony, where she says, “The implication that we have abandoned our NATO allies in Europe, that we do not intend to abide by our article five obligations with NATO and that we have devalued our treaty obligations to allies or other security commitments to friends,” she calls that – she knocks down that implication. She knocks down what she calls a misconception in some of the reporting of U.S. overseas. And then she goes on in her testimony as she will today in different words to explain the situation.
She says, quote, “Nothing could be farther from the truth than those implications.” And then she quotes Secretary Clinton, “We are increasing that capacity and focusing it on our best understanding of Iran’s current capabilities. We would never, never walk away from our allies. We have recommitted ourselves to article five obligations under NATO,” and then another quote from Secretary Clinton, “An attack on Warsaw is an attack on New York City. An attack on Prague is an attack on London or Paris or Berlin.”
But as you can see by that response, enough was out there to require those kinds of reinforcements of U.S. policy. I have just come back from Brussels, where I can say that the NATO allies are actually quite happy about this. It was really interesting to talk to many of them and hear their enthusiasm about the possibility of this starting and beginning as much more something in consultation with many more of our NATO allies. So there is a lot going on on every side.
The sessions are as follows. We will start with this breakfast briefing with Gen. O’Reilly. Then we will go on to the approach the Obama administration’s missile defense policy with Undersecretary Tauscher introduced by Gen. Scowcroft. We will move on to the architecture – capabilities and technical implications of the administration’s plan, the alliance – cooperation with NATO and key allies, the Russians – the way forward with Moscow and then, the broader arms control agenda.
There is an excellent lineup of experts and practitioners to speak and comment on the issues I just outlined. They bring experience and expertise and will represent the current administration, the U.S. military, European government, NATO, private industry and academia from both sides of the U.S. and Europe, so this is going to be just a terrific day.
I do want to thank our friends at Raytheon for making today’s conference possible through generous support for the activities of the Atlantic Council. And then, I do want to repeat my thanks for Damon – his program is just firing on all cylinders – and Jeff Lightfoot, his deputy, for organizing today’s event.
Without further ado, I now will turn over to Gen. O’Reilly who will begin by providing us his briefing. He is currently, as I said, director of Missile Defense Agency. In this capacity, he oversees MDA’s worldwide mission, not just in Europe, but worldwide mission to develop the capabilities to defend deployed forces, the United States and our allies and friends against ballistic missile attacks. During his career with the U.S. Army, he has served both command and staff officer positions in a variety of operational units. What I like most about Gen. O’Reilly is not only does he know everything about this system, but he actually can say it in language that I understand. So it is a real pleasure to have you here today to kick off this conference, General. And we are grateful for your time. (Applause.)
GEN. PATRICK O’REILLY: Good morning. It is a pleasure to, I guess, continue on what is becoming a weekly session with the Atlantic Council. (Laughter.) Is that what is happening here? And it is my pleasure to answer any questions. I have a few quick charts that I would like to set the scene. And then what I believe is most beneficial is answering questions.
There are a couple things said in the introduction and I really appreciate the way you laid that out. I don’t see it the same way and I don’t believe ground truth after you study over time these proposals some of the adjectives that were used or the verbs that were used in the opening discussion.
First of all, I do not believe we are scrapping missile defense. There are four parts of the previous proposal that for years I was part of not the original decision-making, but after the decision-making was there, I understood it to the point that I was responsible to execute it. And I was part of the negotiating teams that worked with our great allies in Europe.
But the four parts was, first of all, was 10 GBIs in Poland and a discrimination radar – that was its main purpose in the Czech Republic – and a command-and-control system and a sensor, a forward-based sensor. And as Secretary Tauscher will discuss and I am going to discuss here, of those four parts, we are modifying the command and control – and it has always been adaptable to NATO and it was built with NATO protocols in mind, so that it could readily be interfaced with the NATO system. But now we are at the point where through the active layer theater missile defense project and other discussions with NATO, we are very open to integrate the command and control with a NATO command-and-control system.
But from a technology point of view, it is very, very similar as far as my budget goes and other things. I have not had to make any adjustments in order to accomplish the command-and-control adjustments that need to occur.
Second, the forward-based sensor, actually the most critical aspect of the contribution to the defense of the United States is having early tracking for missiles coming out of threat regions. And in this case, we are very concerned about Iran. So we are maintaining that in the same way exactly as was proposed in the previous proposal.
For the interceptors in Poland, we are proposing using different interceptors, but still having interceptors in that location if Poland is amenable to that adjustment. As far as the Czech Republic, as Secretary Tauscher will discuss, we don’t have a need, we believe, with this architecture for a discrimination radar like we had before because we are going to use a SensorNet and I will talk about that technology.
At the same time, though, we are more than open and, in fact, engaging on the fact that there can be other substitutes for that that are very critical to our command and control. The command-and-control systems that NATO lays out are typically dispersed. We don’t have everything – all of the command and control in one location. And there is an obvious reason for that. You want to have a network; you want to have survivability in other aspects of it. So there are opportunities for both of those countries to still participate with very minor changes, literally, to the ballistic missile defense agreements that I have been part of the negotiation and the development of for the last several years.
So is it scrapping missile defense? I am not quite sure. As I have testified to our Congress, our Senate and our House in the last 10 days, given the latest threat assessment, I am very concerned that the previous proposal was adequate protection, definitely in the case of the United States. One of the reasons is a very fundamental reason. It is not secret. There were only 10 missiles.
At the time in 2005, it looked like – when we were going through the analysis for the European defense and before, it looked at that time and the threat assessment was that the Iranian ICBM threat to the United States was going to grow at a much faster rate than it actually did. And the MRBM, medium-range ballistic missiles, between 1,000 to 3,000 kilometers, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, between 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers, were going to grow at a slower rate than what we actually saw. And the estimates today are it is reversed.
So the fundamental problem I found with the previous architecture – and again, I have testified to this over and over again – is we were using GBIs, 25-ton missiles, very large missiles, to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, where its intent was for ICBMs.
So you could easily have a scenario where missiles are launched at European cities and we are not going to ignore that launch. And if we have 10 GBIs, they are going to go after those missiles. However, the numbers as I am saying, the threat assessments are there is a very large number of missiles out there that could hit cities in Europe that our GBIs would be needed to defend. So I believe it is not very plausible that there actually would be GBIs available to defend the United States to provide redundant coverage.
So we looked at what other alternatives were out there. And once again, this is not a decision on long-range ICBM defense versus regional defense. That is a false argument. And I have heard it discussed in many forums I have been part of. That is not the case. The case is having inadequate defense and having something we can put in place that we believe is not only more viable sooner today, but has a growth path to challenge further threats 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now. We see a growth path with this capability.
And we have – now, I have discussed the threat. Now I would like to discuss a little bit about what are the technologies that we have successfully demonstrated and also explored in the last 5 years. Next chart or the first one.
Basically, when we look at the interceptors, as I mentioned, a GBI is a 25-ton interceptor. It has got a range of over 12,000 kilometers. It is obviously built for – and it can intercept thousands of kilometers in altitude, so it is built for ICBM-type defense. Could it work against MRBMs? Yes. But you are shooting a $70-plus million interceptor – U.S. dollars – at a very low-cost target. That is not a very viable type of alternative.
So instead, we have had over the last 5 years – and this missile hadn’t even been tested when we originally laid out the GBI plans for Europe – is the SM-3 Block 1A interceptor. It exists today. It is deployed today. It is operationally certified. It is used by the United States Navy. It happens to be the missile that we did a modification on, a slight modification, but it gave us the capability to shoot down a very low-altitude satellite. Does it have ASAT capability? I would say no. Why? Because we had to wait for that satellite to get low enough so we could barely reach it when we had a shoot down about 2 years ago.
But it does prove that you can take this interceptor and integrate it with sensors from around the world, which is what we use. And the ship and its radar hadn’t even seen the satellite yet when we launched the interceptor. Now, when you do that, it is a very powerful missile defense capability with a very small interceptor. This is one ton, 1.2 metric tons versus 25 metric tons. It is about 21 feet long. It is much smaller. It fits within our current Navy ships and the standard missile family that has been out there for many years.
We are also upgrading it to a Block 1B, which has had more sophisticated sensor package on board. That gives you the capability that the interceptor can do its own discrimination. And you don’t have to rely on large radars and so forth to do that for you. So this will be tested, this interceptor. All the critical components have already been tested on the ground and our first flight is next year. The very first flight we are going after an intercept because we believe that technology is that mature. Typically, you fly a few flights and then you do an intercept. But we do not believe that this is a high-risk approach. And that is the SM-3 Block 1B interceptor.
Second of all is the idea of instead of having large sensors like radars, you network together different sensors. That is very powerful. We have a laboratory in Colorado. It is shown down here. It is a small picture. And it is not very big. And it is not very big. It is laptop-sized processors that take data from many different sensors, infrared, radars, on ships, space-based sensors, takes it all together and produces a very accurate track. And if you lose two or three of those sensors and you still have some good sensors, you still have an accurate track. That is a capability that didn’t exist 5 years ago.
We used that capability several times now. Once was last December. A little less than a year ago, we had six sensors across the Pacific Ocean. We had overhead satellites. We had two Navy ships. We had a forward-based radar. The one that we are talking about here was in Juneau, Alaska at the time. And we had early warning radar. And we had our Sea-Based X-Band Radar, the largest X-band radar in the world. All are them were working together. None of those sensors could see this missile over its entire flight. And we launched the missile out of Kodiak, Alaska.
And each sensor would pick up and hand it off to the next sensor. Sometimes three sensors would be watching the same target. And it is a very powerful capability we have that the fire-control system only saw one target and it saw it accurately as it went over its entire flight. And because of that, we launched the GBI out of Annenberg and we had a successful intercept.
But that capability of networking those sensors is the first time we have ever demonstrated in that type of intercept. And we are using that capability as we developed our new architecture.
Finally, two Fridays ago, we launched satellites – two satellites, the first time they had been launched in over 10 years the Missile Defense Agency has launched satellites, actually 15. Those two satellites are up now on orbit. They are doing very well. They are the first time you can track a ballistic missile over its entire flight because once – we have had satellites that can watch missiles as they are burning, but once the burnout is over, the motors are done operating. The front end of that threat missile, the warhead becomes very cold as it is traveling through space. And our satellite systems have difficulty tracking it. Well, these two satellites we just put up have the capability of tracking it over the entire flight. It is the first time to have that type of capability.
And finally, we have found unmanned aerial vehicles are excellent sensors, outstanding. They can be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kilometers back and still accurately track many, many missiles in launch at one time. And that was another consideration we found, raid size. There has been a lot of discussion about countermeasures. Countermeasures, we watch that very closely. We know what our capability is. But what concerns me is the sheer number of launchers of different countries around the world and the sheer size of the inventories of missiles.
And if some – these countries, many of them, can put 30 or 40 missiles in the air at once. You have to have a missile defense system that can handle 30 or 40 missiles at once. And if you can use interceptors that are small enough, then you can proliferate those interceptors so that they are in a position where you actually have deterrent capability. You can deter the use of those missiles because your adversary realizes you can shoot them down and you have enough interceptors to do that. So those were the technologies that underscored the architecture that we have proposed. Next chart.
So we have four phases. The first phase is in 2011 timeframe. That timeframe is what we are showing is the missile defense capabilities we were producing to begin with. We are producing those anyway. They hadn’t been dedicated to any particular mission. What the president has proposed is that we deploy forward-based sensors and our Aegis ships that have those capabilities that I just described in the areas of Europe that are most exposed today to a large number of Iranian missile threats.
The next phase is in the 2015 timeframe. And that timeframe, we bring out that second missile I showed, the SM-3 Block 1B, which has the more sophisticated sensor onboard. And we also will have for the first time a way of stationing the Aegis weapon system, which is on our ships, station it on the land. It is a very small facility, much smaller than a missile farm, GBI farm. To prepare the land for it would take less than a year, much less than a year. You can do it hastily in a few months actually. Given the missile field that we were proposing before, it took 5 years to build that missile field. So in this case, this is a much more flexible architecture. And literally once you have set up the land, the drainage and the things we would like to put into place – you don’t have to – then it takes less than three months to actually establish one of these interceptor sites.
The interceptor sites can be expanded to more than 80 missiles very quickly, interceptors. So we are not talking a missile field of 10; we are talking capabilities, as has been said, scores of missiles could be moved in very quickly. The number of people that operates a site, much less. Instead of over 450 people necessary to run a missile field, you are talking much less than 100 people would be necessary to operate this. And the actual details would depend on negotiations with the country on host nation support and so forth. And it would actually determine the final number of people you need.
The training base, everything, it is identical to a ship, how we operate on the ship. So this is a much more proven capability. And putting it on land, it has a permanence. If you want to move it to some other location, you can easily do that easily within three months. So this is a much more flexible architecture.
Phase three then is the results of another technology – developmental effort we have going on. It is a new booster for our SM-3 missile. It is about twice the size. It is now a two-ton missile, but far smaller, dramatically smaller than the 25-ton GBI. Again, it fits on the same launching system that the current standard missile is, but it has much greater capability range. And so combining two land-based sites on land and one or two sea-based sites, depending on where you locate your ships, all of NATO is covered with this in the 2018 timeframe, which is phase three.
Now, these times I give you are notional times. It allows time for complete testing of the system first, operational assessment. And then the president or whichever body would make a decision on the deployment – and obviously, we would work with NATO on that. But the fact is it is laid out as a very long developmental timeline. Could you deploy this quicker? Yes, you could, but you would have to cut back on the testing. That is the one thing we wanted to maintain in this proposal.
And finally, we are working on a capability that ultimately gives you ICBM capability from forward-based locations. In other words, Iran launched an ICBM. We would have missiles in the region with those missiles; same setup using the same size standard missile from the Navy would be able to intercept ICBMs. That is a goal. We have a typical development span of about 10 years or less. But that is a typical timeframe.
The technologies are in hand. We have had many independent technical assessments. No one can tell us why we can’t achieve that. So that is our ultimate goal, so that you could destroy missiles of all ranges – short-, medium-, long-range and ICBM – either over or near the country that actually launched them from the region in which they were launched. And all of these assets are mobile, these different launching assets either on ships or quickly relocatable for the land-based version. And that is key. Next chart.
So the benefits. First of all, as I said, it is 5 years to build a missile field and it was four-and-a-half years to refurbish and then to deploy the radar that had previously been proposed. So once all agreements have been made, and that includes all agreements, all permissions, all building permits, forestry, land use, all the things that have to be put in place. Once I have those permissions in a host nation country, it would have been 5 years before we could have our first operational capability.
Looking at those timelines, our estimate is 2017 at the best given today and maybe 2018 is more likely that that other capability would first be deployed. Prior to that, we would not have the capability that has been committed to that we have here in this proposal. And so we are talking about in a 2011 timeframe, first capability would be available.
Second of all is the coverage. Instead of only protecting the upper-tier defense, which we had in the previous proposal, which countries which were closest to Iran, the ones that are the most vulnerable to their current missiles would be one of the last countries covered in the previous proposal. Now it is the first area where we would propose to set up defense.
And adaptable. If there is anything that I have learned in the 21 years that I have been working in missile defense is the threat changes. So any rigid missile defense system is wrong if it is not adaptable because the threat changes. And so if the threat is going to change, a fundamental characteristic of a missile defense architecture is you can quickly adjust it, so that it stays with whatever the threat is in 2025 or 2035. And you still grow on a basic foundation.
Responsive. Again, the most pressing threats are addressed scalable. As I mentioned before, we can deploy a few missiles now. If we find out we need five times as many missiles in a very short period of time, you can expand the number of interceptors that are at any one of these sites and literally counter a large raid size with a large number of interceptors.
Proven. The whole process is laid out that we fly first and then make a decision based on the results of the capability.
Survivable. Again, we are looking at multiple sites, so one site is not particularly vulnerable because if you remove that site, the network can still conduct the operations.
Cost-effective. As I mentioned before, GBI, a ground-based interceptor, is $70 million. These are 10 million. If you produce them in large quantities, the number can actually come lower than that.
And so on the very first point is that if you have an intercept, you typically launch two interceptors against one target. So under the GBI proposal we had before, that is $140 million every time we try to engage a target, even if it is a low-cost, medium-range ballistic missile we are trying to intercept. In this case, it would be $20 million to have the same intercept capability.
And again, also, with proven, we have already intercepted medium-range ballistic missiles and short-range ballistic missiles eight times with the other interceptor. And we are preparing for another intercept mission later this month.
Cooperation with partners. Because the components of this missile defense system are smaller, they are much more affordable and there are many more opportunities for contribution. It doesn’t have to be an interceptor site. It doesn’t have to be command and control. It can be part of the communication network. There are many different opportunities here available with a larger network rather than having a few large components. Next chart.
So with that, I would like to answer any questions if we have time to do so.
MR. KEMPE: I think this is a good way. You are comfortable here standing, so we will just keep doing it this way. I am just looking because I know Ellen Tauscher is coming here. How much time do we have for questions? Ten minutes? Okay.
GEN. O’REILLY: I had to do that the last time I was here. Just fill in some time. (Chuckles, cross talk.)
MR. KEMPE: Frankly, by the hands, I think you can see that we could use an hour-and-a-half with you right now. But let me throw out one question and then we will go on. I have just come back from NATO, as I said, and I talked to many who might – several who might be very interested in having the SM-3s on their territory as land-based installations. Could you talk about the geography? We had it up there with GB-1 when you were presenting that. But what countries or regions, particularly countries, would be most interesting when you look at Iran for land-based missile defense installations? And what countries would be suboptimal?
GEN. O’REILLY: Well, the nice part about this architecture and the way it is – the way that the analysis shows it, it lays out the coverage we are addressing here. It protects a lot of water, frankly. So it is a great capability beyond the region of NATO. So what does that mean? That means there is flexibility. There is no one country, no one optimal country.
We need a capability in the South. We don’t have to have. You could do this all from ships, but ships are much more expensive and less continuous protection than a land-based capability. But we do need a capability in Southern Europe. And it is not one country; it could literally be six or seven different countries. And what you are adjusting is the coverage of the water around Europe. And so you still have effective defense. So there is great flexibility in the number of countries and which countries could be in the South.
Same thing for the North. North Central Europe is another ideal location. But again, there are six or seven different countries anywhere through a swath. And especially near the Baltic, but it doesn’t have to be in the Baltic, obviously, but in that region there all the way to the Benelux throughout that region. So because the coverage is greater than just the land mass, we really have a lot of flexibility that could provide the defense of NATO and from many different sites.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Please identify yourself.
Q: Gen., I am Harlan Ullman here. Can you hear me in the back?
GEN. O’REILLY: Yes.
Q: I am Harlan Ullman with the Atlantic Council. Thanks for a terrific presentation. My question is this: What capacity does or could the system have against low-altitude stealthy cruise missiles?
GEN. O’REILLY: It is a ballistic missile defense system. It has no capability for these systems. We have other systems, but that is not our mission area. So the Standard Missile-3 works above the earth’s atmosphere. We have the THAAD system that works in the earth’s atmosphere and above. But those are our two options at this point. We also have the Standard Missile-2 from the Navy, which is, again, on par with a Patriot-type capability, which is much point defense. It would protect a community of a city. It wouldn’t protect the whole city, one battery alone. So you would need many of those. But that is another aspect of the architecture that I don’t address with my agency.
MR. KEMPE: Questions? Let me throw out one of my own. Will Russia view this ICBM capability as more or less threatening to its deterrent than the nuclear deterrent than the Bush administration’s? On the one hand, it seems – we have heard that this doesn’t have anything to do with Russia. But on the other hand, certainly Russia has not looked at it that way. And I am just wondering how they will view this.
GEN. O’REILLY: I can tell you in all the deliberations I was in that wasn’t one of the issues – criteria that was used. However, if you want a verifiable capability, as we go back to START and others, the more readily verify and transparent it is, the better the system is as far as providing confidence and assurance to the other party.
And in the case of Russia, they would look at the size of this interceptor. They are very good at developing missiles. They have the capability to understand that a one-ton missile with less than a 30-kilogram payload – much less than that – they can calculate the range of that missile. And that range of that missile, even the more advanced missile that we said at the end is nowhere near the range necessary to even get close to any of their missile fields.
So on very first principles of physics, it becomes obvious. This is a capability that if you are within a range of that missile and that is what we are developing, it is highly capable to destroy missiles of all ranges. But there is literally a zone that if you are outside that zone, we have no capability.
Q: Thank you, General. Ernie Bubb is my name. I am from SAIC.
MR. : He is the guy that hired me about 20 years ago, so I can blame him. (Chuckles.)
Q: You are doing well, sir.
MR. : And he was protested against when he hired me.
Q: Sir, you have talked about one of the key advantages of this new architecture being that basically, it accelerates the coverage from about 2017 to about 2011 or 2011. You have also mentioned the NATO ALTBMD program as being sort of a stepping stone or something you will work with. The current NATO ALTBMD architecture is sort of divided into two pieces, capability one and capability two.
The Aegis BMD, that is, the weapon system is in capability two. And it is currently planned in NATO at 2017. Would MDA, you know, through your capability with the MDPG and NATO, would you agree to or sponsor the idea of accelerating the NATO ALTBMD capability to forward so that it lines up with your new architecture?
MR. KEMPE: Let me take one last question for you, too. And then we will give you a final chance to answer. And maybe you can translate that question a little bit for laymen in the audience as well.
GEN. O’REILLY: I can basically say it is under study. And so that is the answer. NATO is studying with their committees today that question. So it is to be determined.
Q: Gail Maddox from the Naval Academy. Could you talk some about the venues for consultation with the allies on the new system and what direction – I mean, and how intensive it is?
GEN. O’REILLY: I believe Secretary Tauscher is more appropriate to answer that question, frankly. She will be here soon. But from a technical point of view, that is where I am brought in and my agency is. So we get into the technical discussions after the diplomacy and policy is arranged. But we have had ongoing discussions. And I don’t really see this being a break of previous discussions. We continue. And a large part with the same people we have talked to before.
MR. KEMPE: Okay. And do you want to go any deeper on this first question or –
GEN. O’REILLY: It is literally – that is a very good question. That came up with our first briefing we had to the North Atlantic Council. And they immediate assigned assignments for their committees to study exactly what you said.
MR. KEMPE: Great. Gen. O’Reilly, thank you very much. I think we are going to be able to have access to the slides, so we can also put them up on our site.
GEN. O’REILLY: Yes, yes, you are.
MR. KEMPE: And so those of you who couldn’t see them in the back or haven’t scribbled quickly enough, we are happy to have you draw them down from our site. Thank you so much. We will see you next week or the week after. (Laughter.)
Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.