At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense policy issues, including missile defense policy. In that capacity, it was my responsibility and privilege to negotiate the details of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) agreements with Poland, Romania, and Turkey that will enable the United States to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense. Poland is a strong ally and valued friend of the United States. Our bilateral defense ties run deep and are growing -- our new Aviation Detachment and Poland's agreement to host an EPAA missile defense site are but two recent examples of our partnership.
Implementation of the European Phased Adaptive Approach
Since 2009, the United States Government has focused on carrying out the vision articulated by President Obama when he announced that the EPAA would “provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America's Allies,” while relying on “capabilities that are proven and cost-effective.”
As you know, we have made great progress in implementing the President’s vision in Europe.
EPAA Phase One gained its first operational elements in 2011 with the start of a sustained deployment of an Aegis BMD-capable multi-role ship to the Mediterranean and the deployment of an AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey. With the declaration of Interim Operational Capability at the NATO Summit in Chicago, this radar transitioned to NATO operational control.
Demonstrating their support for both NATO and the EPAA, Spain agreed in 2011 to host four U.S. Aegis-capable ships at the existing naval facility at Rota. These ships will arrive in the 2014- 2015 timeframe, in time for EPAA Phase Two.
For Phase Two of the EPAA, we have an agreement with Romania that was ratified in December of 2011 to host a U.S. land-based SM-3 interceptor site beginning in the 2015 timeframe. This site, combined with BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean, will enhance coverage of NATO from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.
And finally there is Phase 3, which is centered on the first of the three host nations to ratify their hosting agreement – Poland. The Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement between the U.S. and Poland entered into force in September of 2011. This agreement places a land-based interceptor site, similar to Phase 2, in Redzikowo, and includes the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. This EPAA Phase 3 site is on schedule and on budget for deployment in the 2018 timeframe. The interceptor site here in Poland will be key to the EPAA. Not only will it protect Poland itself, but when combined with the rest of the EPAA assets, Phase 3 will be able to protect all of NATO Europe against ballistic missile threats from the Middle East.
On March 15, Secretary Hagel announced changes to U.S. missile defense policy to strengthen U.S. homeland missile defenses due to the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran and North Korea. One of these policy changes is that the SM-3 IIB missile defense interceptor program - the core element of EPAA Phase 4 - is being restructured into a technology development program.
With the SM-3 IIB interceptor, Phase 4 would have provided an intercept capability against ICBMs launched at the U.S. homeland from the Middle East. But the SM-3 IIB program also experienced significant delays, in part due to the U.S. Congress underfunding this interceptor. So as you know, the SM-3 IIB interceptor will no longer be developed or procured. The United States will instead strengthen its homeland defense by procuring additional Ground Based Interceptors – GBIs- for deployment at our existing missile defense site in Fort Greely, Alaska.
As Secretary Hagel announced, we will increase the number of deployed GBIs from the current 30 to 44, providing a nearly 50 percent increase in our capability.
The other two steps that Secretary Hagel announced include:
- Deploying, with the support of the Japanese Government, an additional AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan. This will provide improved early warning and tracking of any missile launched from North Korea at the United States and/or Japan; and
- Conducting studies for a potential additional GBI site in the United States. While the Obama Administration has not made any decision on whether to proceed with an additional site, conducting these studies would shorten the timeline for construction should that decision be made.
Finally, let me emphasize that the U.S. commitment to Phases One through Three of the EPAA and NATO missile defense remains ironclad, including the planned sites in Poland and Romania. Like the Administration, the U.S. Congress has supported, and continues to support full funding for Phases 1 through 3.
These U.S. missile defense deployments to Europe will provide the necessary capabilities to provide ballistic missile defense coverage of all NATO European territory in the 2018 timeframe.
I know that some may believe that not fielding Phase 4 may weaken the Transatlantic connection of the EPAA. I would tell you that the connection is still strong. I would emphasize that Phases One through Three of the EPAA will continue to provide important contributions to the defense of the United States homeland and U.S. deployed forces in Europe. For example, the radar deployed in Turkey as part of EPAA can provide important early tracking data on any Iranian missile launches against the United States. The interceptor site to be deployed in Poland, as well as BMD-capable ships at sea, will also be key to protecting the U.S. radar at Fylingdales, which is important to the defense of the U.S. homeland.
Cooperation With NATO Allies
Beyond our bilateral cooperation, we have also worked with our NATO Allies, including Poland, to implement a NATO missile defense effort.
After thorough and steady progress within NATO, on May 20-21 of 2012, the NATO Heads of State and Government met in Chicago for a NATO Summit and announced that NATO had achieved an interim BMD capability. This means that the Alliance has an operationally meaningful, standing peacetime BMD capability. NATO also agreed on the BMD-related command and control procedures, designated the Supreme Allied Commander Europe as the commander for this mission, and announced an interoperable command and control capability.
To support this interim BMD capability, the United States has offered EPAA assets to the Alliance as our voluntary national contributions to the BMD mission. The AN/TPY-2 radar deployed in Turkey is under NATO operational control. In addition, U.S. BMD-capable Aegis ships in Europe are also now able to operate under NATO operational control when threat conditions warrant.
These decisions have created a framework for allies to contribute and optimize their own BMD assets for our collective self-defense, and the United States welcomes and encourages such contributions from Allies. NATO BMD will be more effective should Allies provide sensors and interceptors to complement the U.S. EPAA contributions. Several NATO Allies already possess land- and sea-based sensors that could potentially be linked into the system, as well as lower tier systems that can be integrated and used to provide point defense such as PATRIOT. It is important that the systems contributed by Allies be interoperable with NATO’s Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense – or ALTBMD – command and control capability.
Cooperation With the Russian Federation
At the same time as we are developing this missile defense cooperation with NATO, we also seek to work cooperatively with Russia. We remain convinced that missile defense cooperation between the United States and Russia (and between NATO and Russia) is in the national security interests of all countries involved. For that reason, missile defense cooperation with Russia remains a Presidential priority for this Administration.
In Chicago, the NATO Allies made a very clear statement of our intent regarding strategic stability and Russia’s strategic deterrent. NATO declared in the Chicago Summit Declaration that “…the NATO missile defense in Europe will not undermine strategic stability. NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.” Through transparency and cooperation with the United States and NATO, Russia would see firsthand that this system is designed for ballistic missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and that NATO missile defense systems can neither negate nor undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent capabilities.
While we seek to develop ways to cooperate with Russia on missile defense, it is important to remember that in keeping with its collective security obligations, NATO alone bears responsibility for defending the Alliance from ballistic missile threats. This is why the United States and NATO cannot agree to Russia’s proposals for “sectoral” or “joint” missile defense architectures. Just as Russia must ensure the defense of Russian territory, NATO must ensure the defense of NATO territory. NATO cannot and will not outsource its Article 5 commitments. As ballistic missile threats continue to evolve, we cannot place limits or constraints on our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners. This includes any limitations on the operating areas of our BMD-capable multi-mission Aegis ships.
Cooperation With Poland
We can’t talk about BMD cooperation without talking about our cooperation right here with the Republic of Poland.
We also now have an enduring Aviation Detachment deployed in Lask, which supports the joint training of U.S. and Polish Air Forces. And I also have to mention our vibrant and longstanding cooperation with Poland on other efforts to combat the threat of WMD and their missile delivery systems. For example, former President Bush chose Warsaw as the site of his May 2003 public call to create a common global effort to stop WMD- and missile-related shipments to and from states of proliferation concern. Poland and the United States then worked closely to heed that call by establishing the Proliferation Security Initiative. Over the following decade, 100 other nations from every part of the world joined our two countries in the PSI to improve our common efforts to take action against WMD shipments. Next month, Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller will have the great pleasure of leading the U.S. delegation to the PSI Tenth Anniversary meeting in Warsaw not only to mark the occasion, but to continue efforts to meet the call that President Obama made in the 2009 Prague speech to ensure the PSI is a durable international effort.
I commend my Polish colleagues for their leadership within NATO and domestically on defense modernization which will lead to new and valuable skill sets for NATO. As everyone knows, Poland is leading by example. Where many NATO countries are reducing their defense modernization, Poland is focusing on it – and the “it” that I follow most closely is the Polish efforts to upgrade its Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. This has been a topic of considerable discussion with my Polish counterparts. I expect it will be a topic of continued discussion. It is clear to me that the Government of Poland intends to embark upon a substantial effort that will provide for a greater national expertise which can contribute to NATO air and missile defense capabilities.
And Poland is not only working on defense modernization – it is also a participant in the U.S. Strategic Command’s NIMBLE TITAN multinational missile defense wargame. Polish military, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials are working closely with over 20 countries and NATO to collaboratively think through how regional and global coalitions might be able to innovate with equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures to provide the best and most agile defense. In a world where the threats and the technology to defend are constantly evolving, it is our responsibility to think through the problems to reach the best and most efficient solutions.
We are proud of how much we have already achieved by working with our allies and partners to counter the threat from ballistic missiles, but admittedly, there is still much to do – and we are looking forward to achieving higher levels of BMD cooperation and effectiveness.