"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Missile Defense

Cooperating With Russia on Missile Defense: A New Proposal

By Dean A. Wilkening

Russia has opposed U.S. ballistic missile defense plans for decades, and differences over that issue currently are a major irritant in U.S.-Russian relations. There have been numerous proposals for U.S.-Russian and NATO-Russian missile defense cooperation, but often they lack reciprocity and fail to significantly improve the security of all countries involved. This article’s proposal for a joint NATO-Russian early-warning radar located in central Russia provides genuine security benefits for all countries, improves strategic stability, and involves potential industrial partnerships, which ought to be of interest to Russian semiconductor firms.

During the Cold War, Russian concerns about U.S. missile defense led to the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between the two countries in 1972. After President Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983, Russia became concerned that this research program would violate the treaty. This concern subsided within the decade as U.S. enthusiasm for the more fanciful aspects of the program waned and Russian leaders became consumed with more pressing issues raised by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton continued to work on missile defense systems, albeit within the constraints of the ABM Treaty as they understood them.

However, in June 2002, the administration of George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty and in 2007 entered negotiations to deploy strategic missile defense interceptors in Poland and a large missile defense radar in the Czech Republic, collectively known as the “third site”—the first two sites for defense of the U.S. homeland being at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This plan drew bitter complaints from Russian leaders until the Obama administration abandoned it in September 2009 in favor of the European Phased Adaptive Approach—a four-phase plan to deploy interceptors in and around Europe starting with sea-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA interceptors in 2011 and progressing to SM-3 Block IB interceptors at sea and on land at Deveselu, Romania, by 2015; SM-3 Block IIA interceptors on land in Poland and on ships around Europe by 2018; and finally SM-3 Block IIB interceptors at sea and on land in Europe by 2020. The latter two phases of this deployment schedule have again raised Russian concerns due to the alleged capability of these systems to intercept Russian strategic ballistic missiles, although Russia has not provided evidence that this is physically possible from the interceptor sites that would be used in those phases.[1] In response, the United States and NATO have tried to reassure Russia that the deployments under their phased adaptive approach do not have this capability and are not intended to undermine Russia’s deterrent.

To underscore this benign intention, the Obama administration has tried to engage Russia in various cooperative efforts on missile defense. In their June 24, 2010, joint statement on strategic stability, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev committed themselves to the goal of “continuing the development of a new strategic relationship based on mutual trust, openness, predictability, and cooperation.” Regarding missile defense, Russia has argued for legally binding assurances that the missiles deployed under the U.S.-NATO approach will not be aimed at them. The United States has rejected this idea, not least because any legally binding assurance that requires U.S. congressional consent would be extremely unlikely to receive such approval.

Instead, NATO has suggested various forms of cooperation with Russia with the goal of developing two independent missile defense systems, Russia’s and NATO’s, along with two joint command centers that would facilitate the exchange of information with Russia. In addition, the United States and NATO have proposed joint missile defense exercises at command posts and in the field, along with further discussions regarding joint responses to common threats. The aim of cooperation would be to make any missile defense system in the Russian-European sphere more effective and to help alleviate Russian concerns that the European-based interceptors are targeted against them.

To be effective, NATO-Russian cooperation should meet several criteria. First, the undertaking should improve strategic stability or at least not undermine it, that is, cooperation should not reduce the effectiveness of U.S., NATO, or Russian strategic nuclear forces. Second, cooperation should involve reciprocity; it should genuinely enhance the security of all parties. Russia, for example, has argued that sharing data from its early-warning radars at Gabala, Azerbaijan, and Armavir, Russia, would benefit only NATO, with no tangible security benefits for Russia. Third, it is helpful if cooperation involves industrial partnerships because such cooperation creates constituencies within each country to keep cooperation alive despite political pressures that undermine it. Joint U.S.-Russian space-launch activities, which provide clear economic benefits to both parties, have demonstrated this over the past decade. Cooperation in the military sphere clearly is more sensitive because it does not involve commercial interests alone.

Cooperation, if it occurs, should begin with small steps to build trust, leading to more ambitious steps later. For example, an initial step that should be relatively easy to take would involve establishing a joint data fusion center along the lines of an earlier U.S.-Russian bilateral Joint Data Exchange Center established by a June 2000 memorandum of agreement between Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin “for the exchange of information derived from each side’s missile launch warning systems on the launches of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles.”[2] The data exchange center never became fully operational due to political and legal wrangling over its implementation. In any case, the 10-year memorandum now has expired, but Medvedev and Obama raised the issue of cooperation on a new fusion center at their June 2010 summit. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reiterated the suggestion later the same month.

Such a center would involve NATO countries as well as Russia; would involve the exchange of information on any missile launch, not just launches by the member parties; and eventually could involve the exchange of information on missile interceptor launches. This last feature would help coordinate defensive actions between NATO and Russian missile defense systems in addition to identifying likely intercept debris impact zones­—areas on the ground where debris from the intercept might land—thus helping countries limit collateral damage.

Perhaps the most important role for a fusion center would be to help avoid unwanted escalation that easily could arise from misunderstandings or misperceptions in the wake of an accidental or unauthorized ballistic missile launch by any member state or hostile power or of an intentional interceptor launch that heads toward the territory of another party. Regardless of its merits, agreement on establishing a fusion center has yet to materialize, which demonstrates the political difficulty of arriving at a consensus on missile defense cooperation in the near future.

Another idea, originally suggested in the 1990s, is technical cooperation involving space-based infrared satellites for environmental monitoring and defense applications (e.g., providing early warning of ballistic missile launches). In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s early-warning satellite capability deteriorated significantly.[3] Having reliable ballistic missile warning systems promotes strategic stability by reducing the fear of surprise attacks.

In 1997, Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to cooperate on the Russian-American Observation Satellite experiment, a joint space research program using one Russian satellite and one U.S. satellite for simultaneous stereo-optical imaging of the earth.[4] This program ran into various forms of political opposition and financial “restructuring” on the U.S. side. Ultimately it died when the United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2002.[5]

As noted above, another form of cooperation, also discussed in the 1990s, is joint missile defense exercises at command posts and in the field. These exercises shed light on, among other things, the rules of engagement for missile defense operations and hence help avoid confusion in the event that NATO or Russian missile defense systems attempt to intercept a hostile ballistic missile launch.

All of these examples of cooperation are worth exploring in the next few years. This article describes a more ambitious form of cooperation that would improve strategic stability, has reciprocal security benefits for all countries involved, and involves an interesting element of industrial cooperation. Given the pace of cooperative efforts to date, however, this option probably cannot be realized in the near future. The basic idea is that NATO and Russia would jointly develop and deploy an upgraded early-warning radar. Similar in design to the ones the United States operates for homeland defense, this one would be deployed in central Russia.

Early-Warning Radar Systems

Over the past decade, the United States has upgraded its early-warning radar network consisting of Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars at Fylingdales, England, and Thule, Greenland, and PAVE PAWS radars at Beale Air Force Base in California and Clear Air Force Station in Alaska. (The PAVE PAWS radar at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts has yet to be upgraded.)

The radar upgrades include improvements in tracking and object classification for ballistic missile defense, which at the same time strengthen attack-warning and attack-assessment capability. Space surveillance is a secondary mission. The radars operate in the UHF radar band (at approximately 435 megahertz); have multiple faces, each of which can track objects close to the zenith and covers an azimuth sector of 120 degrees; and can track objects to a range of approximately 4,800 kilometers. Apparently, the track accuracy from these radars is good enough to provide a “fire control solution” for ground-based interceptors located at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base, i.e., they can predict the intercept point sufficiently accurately that a ground-based interceptor has a reasonable chance of successfully homing in on the target.[6]

Russia has a similar early-warning radar network, but it has undergone some deterioration following the breakup of the Soviet Union, in part because of a lack of funds and in part because some of these radars were located outside Russian territory. The Russian/Soviet early-warning radar network generally operates at lower frequencies in the VHF band and currently consists of Daryal (Pechora), Volga, Voronezh-M, and Voronezh-DM radars.[7] All of these radars have the capability to track targets above the horizon in addition to their surveillance function, unlike some of the older Russian Dnepr/Dnestr (Hen House) radars. The latest Voronezh-DM radar, recently installed near Armavir, probably operates at the higher end of the VHF band (approximately 240 megahertz, judging from the antenna spacing on photographs of the radar face).

A Joint Radar in Central Russia

A jointly constructed and operated radar in central Russia, similar in design to the upgraded early-warning radars in the United States, would consist of three active-array faces operating in the UHF radar band at approximately 435 megahertz using UHF solid-state transmit/receive modules. The technology for the modules would be based either on silicon power transistors (1970s technology) or high-power laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors (state-of-the-art technology), the latter of which is available commercially for applications in cellphones and high-definition television transmission networks.[8] The United States would provide the initial transmit/receive modules to populate the radar because it currently has the production capacity, while Russia would build the replacement modules based on technology the United States would transfer to Russia. Technology transfer of this sort is always a sensitive issue, but it should be less so in this case because the relevant technology already is commercially available on the international market. Moreover, while laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors offer higher power than silicon transistors, this type of semiconductor cannot be used for radar applications greater than S-band due to inherent limitations of the semiconductor material. Therefore, this technology cannot be reverse engineered to develop the most sensitive U.S. radar technology, X-band transmit/receive modules, used in the most advanced U.S. missile defense tracking radars.[9]

After construction is complete, there is no need to have NATO personnel permanently stationed at the radar site because the raw radar data would be sent via fiber optic cable to two independent processing centers, one in Europe and the other in Moscow, where the raw data would be processed according to algorithms designed separately by each party. This would keep sensitive information regarding signal processing algorithms in the hands of national governments, thus avoiding sensitive technology transfer issues. Russia would have complete control of site security once the radar was operational. A three-face upgraded radar would cost approximately $500 million—a very rough estimate derived from the $260 million cost to upgrade the dual-face Thule radar.[10] Presumably this cost would be shared, with Russia paying more for site construction and NATO paying more for the radar equipment.

Benefits and Risks for Russia

The radar would provide several benefits for Russia. First, it would plug the gap in early-warning radar coverage to the east, a gap that a new Voronezh-DM early-warning radar planned for Mishelevka also would fill. However, an upgraded radar of the type described here would operate at nearly twice the frequency of the Voronezh-DM radar and consequently would provide more-accurate attack warning and attack assessment information to Russian military and political leaders. In fact, this radar could become the backbone of a future Russian national ballistic missile defense system by providing more-accurate and near-continuous (due to the three faces) tracking data with which to commit interceptors from the Moscow A-135 missile defense system and possibly the S-400 and S-500 theater missile defense systems. Finally, by transferring technology for laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductors, this proposal would involve industrial cooperation that should be attractive to Russian semiconductor industries interested in commercial spinoffs in the cellphone and television markets.

At the strategic level, a joint upgraded radar would improve strategic stability by providing Russian leaders with more-accurate information regarding incoming ballistic missile attacks, thereby making their command and control system more reliable. It would also contribute to the survival of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces by providing reliable tactical warning for dispersing mobile assets, providing track data to missile defense systems that can defend these assets, or both. Importantly, this radar cannot improve the effectiveness of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system against a Russian ballistic missile attack because Russia, having physical control of the site, could easily shut down or physically disable the site prior to any Russian ballistic missile launch. In addition, blackout periods would be allowed to prevent the radar from collecting potentially sensitive data on Russian ballistic missile flight tests that pass through the radar’s fans. Finally, because early-warning radars of this type have space surveillance as a secondary mission, this radar could become a key asset for NATO-Russian cooperation on space situational awareness.

Benefits and Risks for U.S., NATO

The United States and NATO would benefit from having access to these radar data. In the U.S. case, no radar can provide early track information on hypothetical Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) heading toward the United States because these ICBMs fly over central Russia. The current U.S. early-warning radar network detects these trajectories much later than would a radar located in central Russia, especially for tracks heading toward the U.S. West Coast, Alaska, or Hawaii. The forward-based X-band radar located at Kurecik, Turkey, would be the first radar to detect an Iranian ICBM on these trajectories, but it cannot track the target for long before the missile leaves its radar coverage.

Early track data from the east face of the Voronezh-DM radar at Armavir could provide tracking times comparable to those from the south face of a joint radar at Yekaterinburg, but it is not clear whether Russia would share these data with the United States in real time or whether the track data from this VHF radar are accurate enough to launch ground-based interceptors from Fort Greely. The south face of a joint upgraded early-warning radar in central Russia would provide good track data on the ascent portion of Iranian ICBM trajectories, while the northwest and northeast faces would provide good track data on the middle portion of these trajectories.

Early track data are important because they provide more time for the U.S. GMD system to conduct multiple intercept attempts. This is reflected in larger shoot-look-shoot coverage afforded with an upgraded radar located in central Russia.[11]

The utility of this joint radar to the United States would be diminished if the United States deployed infrared missile-tracking satellites that can track Iranian ICBMs early in their flight. The United States recently deployed two prototype Space Surveillance and Tracking System satellites, derived from the earlier Space-Based Infrared System-Low Earth Orbit satellite program. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency plans to deploy a less expensive satellite constellation, called the Precision Tracking Space System, by fiscal year 2017.[12] Thus, if all goes well—a significant qualifier, given that the programs to develop missile tracking satellites have suffered from repeated program delays and cost overruns in the past—the United States will have the capability to track Iranian ICBMs shortly after liftoff in the 2020 time frame. In this case, a joint upgraded radar would provide a redundant means for tracking Iranian ICBMs early in their flight. Moreover, this radar could be operational before 2020 if NATO and Russia take cooperation seriously.

In summary, a joint upgraded early-warning radar located in central Russia would improve the performance of the U.S. GMD system against Iranian ICBMs, but not against Russian ICBMs. A radar in that location would not help track North Korean ICBMs because they tend to fly below the radar horizon. Besides, North Korean ICBMs already could be tracked quite early by the existing forward-based X-band radar at Shariki, Japan, and the Cobra Dane radar on the Aleutian Islands.

The main obstacle to cooperation for the United States would be obtaining International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) exemptions to allow UHF transmit/receive module technology to be transferred to Russia. ITAR exemptions often are difficult to obtain for joint projects with U.S. allies, even though granting this exemption should not be a problem because the technology already is in the commercial domain. Perhaps the greatest risk for the United States is that a joint upgraded radar under Russian physical control gives Russia a partial veto over the effectiveness of the U.S. GMD system against Iran because the system could be degraded somewhat if Russia blocked U.S. access to data from the joint radar during an Iranian ICBM attack, although such an act would cause a serious U.S. backlash against Russia. In addition, the effectiveness of U.S. midcourse defense systems under this scenario would be no less than if a joint radar had not been built in the first place.

Europe would benefit from a joint upgraded early-warning radar in central Russia because no European sensor currently can track the trajectories of ballistic missiles heading toward Europe from the east. In this regard, a joint radar fills a gap in European early-warning coverage just as it does for Russia, and it would improve the effectiveness of the European missile defense architecture, as planned under the phased adaptive approach, against attacks emanating from the east. As noted above, such a joint radar would provide the basis for cooperation on space situational awareness.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to this proposal is the likely reaction from China. From a Chinese worst-case perspective, the radar could be used to improve Russian and European defenses against the Chinese strategic ballistic missile arsenal. Even if this were not the intent, it would be perceived as such by Chinese leaders worried about “encirclement.” However, such a radar would not contribute to the ability to track Chinese ballistic missiles headed toward the United States because these trajectories generally are below the radar horizon for an early-warning radar located in central Russia. It is beyond the scope of this article to examine ways to minimize the impact on China, but such issues should be addressed if a joint NATO-Russian radar located in central Russia ever went forward. Asking China to join the project might be one option, but it is difficult to see what China would gain because ballistic missiles that India or the United States might launch at China are not likely to pass through this radar’s fans, and Russia presumably would block the transmission of data warning of attacks by Russian ballistic missiles.


A jointly constructed and operated upgraded early-warning radar located in central Russia would be an attractive form of missile defense cooperation between NATO and Russia because it would enhance strategic stability; provide reciprocal security benefits for the United States, Europe, and Russia; and potentially involve industrial cooperation of a sort that could help build trust and a true sense of shared interest in the development of effective missile defense systems to protect against the proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles. In short, it satisfies all of the criteria for successful missile defense cooperation with Russia. The biggest obstacles to implementing such a project would be political, specifically, export control restrictions in the United States and opposition in Russia to NATO facilities on its soil, even if Moscow had physical control of the facility after its completion and no NATO troops were stationed permanently in Russia. Minimizing adverse reactions by China could be a difficult challenge.

Clearly, this proposal for the radar is more ambitious than other near-term steps that might be taken, such as establishing a data fusion center or conducting joint missile defense exercises. A proposal such as this one, however, eventually would offer more-substantial security benefits to all parties involved and would signal a clear sea change in relations between Russia and the United States and NATO that goes well beyond the “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations envisioned by the Obama administration.


Dean A. Wilkening is a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This article is based on research he conducted at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University prior to his arrival at the laboratory and does not reflect the views of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory or any of its affiliated institutions.





1. For more detail on the lack of a technical basis for Russia’s concern, see Dean A. Wilkening, “Does Missile Defense in Europe Threaten Russia?” Survival, Vol. 54, No. 1 (February-March 2012), pp. 31-52.

2. U.S. Department of State, “Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on the Establishment of a Joint Center for the Exchange of Data from Early Warning Systems and Notifications of Missile Launches,” June 4, 2000, www.state.gov/t/isn/4799.htm.

3. Pavel Podvig, “History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System,” Science and Global Security, Vol. 10, No. 1 (2002), pp. 21-60.

4. Brent Bartschi et al., “Russian American Observation Satellites (RAMOS),” November 1998, www.sdl.usu.edu/downloads/papers/ramos.pdf.

5. Victoria Samson, “Prospects for Russian-American Missile Defense Cooperation: Lessons From RAMOS and JDEC,” Contemporary Security Policy, Vol. 28, No. 3 (December 2007).

6. U.S. Missile Defense Agency, “Upgraded Early Warning Radars (UEWR), AN/FPS-132,” February 2011, www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/uewr1.pdf.

7. Podvig, “History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System.”

8. Michael Borkowski, “Solid-State Transmitters,” in Radar Handbook, ed. Merrill Skolnik, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008), pp. 11.1-11.17.

9. Radar frequency is categorized by “bands” with, for example, L-, S-, C-, and X-band referring to frequencies in the ranges of 1-2, 2-4, 4-8, and 8-12 megahertz, respectively. The higher the frequency, the more accurate radar measurements become for a given antenna size, which is why X-band radar is particularly attractive for ballistic missile tracking.

10. Thomas Duffy, “Thule Radar Work Set for 2005, to Cost $260 Million,” Inside Missile Defense, August 18, 2004.

11. Shoot-look-shoot coverage is defined as the area on the ground that can be defended by two interceptor shots, in which the second interceptor is launched only if the first interceptor misses the target.

12. Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee regarding the fiscal year 2012 budget request for ballistic missile defense programs, May 25, 2011, p. 13, www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/PS_SAC-D_Hearing.LTG_O%27Reilly.25_MAY_2011.pdf.


Russia has opposed U.S. ballistic missile defense plans for decades, and differences over that issue currently are a major irritant in U.S.-Russian relations. There have been numerous proposals for U.S.-Russian and NATO-Russian missile defense cooperation, but often they lack reciprocity and fail to significantly improve the security of all countries involved. This article’s proposal for a joint NATO-Russian early-warning radar located in central Russia provides genuine security benefits for all countries, improves strategic stability, and involves potential industrial partnerships, which ought to be of interest to Russian semiconductor firms.

Airborne Laser Mothballed

Tom Z. Collina and Kelsey Davenport

After 16 years and $5 billion, the Airborne Laser, once touted as “America’s first light saber,” has been canceled.

The program’s laser-armed aircraft, or Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB), has been placed into long-term storage at a facility informally known as the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Nevertheless, according to a Feb. 14 Missile Defense Agency (MDA) press release, the agency is continuing to develop electric lasers “to significantly reduce the complexity and cost of future directed energy weapons.”

The MDA’s fiscal year 2013 budget request includes plans for removing and demilitarizing the ALTB’s hardware, but no further testing or data collection is planned. The budget documents state that due to limited funding, ALTB test flights and data collection were completed in fiscal year 2012 and the aircraft was prepared for permanent storage. In a Jan. 4 e-mail to Arms Control Today, MDA spokesman Richard Lehner said that the drawdown of the program began last October.

The ALTB aircraft was designed to use two solid-state lasers and a megawatt-class chemical oxygen-iodine laser mounted on a Boeing 747-400F to track and destroy ballistic missiles in flight. It had to face numerous operational challenges, such as the need to fly above hostile territory waiting for target missiles to be launched and to focus its laser at a single point on a moving missile.

The ALTB program, which began in 1996, nearly ended in 2009 when the Pentagon scaled it back to a research program and deeply cut its funding. Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the development of a second airplane, saying he didn’t “know anybody at the Department of Defense who thinks that this program should, or would, ever be operationally deployed.”

In February 2010, the ALTB tracked and destroyed a missile for the first time. (See ACT, March 2010.) Two subsequent tests in September and October 2010 failed to destroy the target missiles. In July 2011, the ALTB completed the first laser tracking of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

In the Jan. 4 e-mail, Lehner said that the MDA would collect key ALTB data that are applicable to a “next generation airborne directed energy system for missile defense applications.” The budget request for directed energy research stated that the MDA would shift to “the next generation Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Laser technology” and maintain the skills necessary for the “next generation directed energy platform development.”

Specifically, the Obama administration requests $44.5 million for fiscal year 2013 for directed energy research, $1.7 million below the amount that Congress provided in 2012 for the program. According to budget documents, plans for fiscal year 2013 funding include the exploration of new laser technologies for missile defense.

In a Dec. 12 speech in Huntsville, Ala., MDA Director Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly announced that the agency was “within a few years” of a prototype laser operated out of an unattended air vehicle.

Missile Defense Spending Down

Overall, the fiscal year 2013 budget would provide $9.7 billion for ballistic missile defense, down $700 million, or 7 percent, from the $10.4 billion that Congress appropriated for the current fiscal year. Total projected funding is $47.4 billion from 2013 to 2017. This total does not include $950 million in fiscal year 2013 for the Space Based Infrared System-High satellite program.

The missile defense budget includes $903 million for operating 30 ground-based interceptor (GBI) missiles in Alaska and California as part of the Boeing-operated system to protect the United States from limited ballistic missile attacks, primarily from North Korea. The missiles failed in their last two intercept tests, in January and December 2010. The MDA has completed a Failure Review Board investigation of the causes and has recommended fixes, but has not publicly released its report. The next test, called FTG-06b, is planned for sometime in 2012. The MDA plans to have 52 GBI missiles by 2017.

The budget also includes $1.5 billion for the European Phased Adaptive Approach, designed to protect NATO allies from a potential ballistic missile attack, most notably from Iran. The Defense Department said it met its objectives for phase 1 of the European system by deploying one Aegis-equipped ship for ballistic missile defense armed with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missiles and a land-based AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey last year. The next three phases include SM-3 Block IB deployments in Romania in 2015, SM-3 Block IIA deployments in Poland in 2018, and the addition of SM-3 Block IIB interceptors in 2020 with the capability for “early intercept” of “non-advanced” ICBMs. The MDA would continue converting Aegis-equipped ships, with 32 ships planned for conversion by fiscal year 2017, and buy almost 400 SM-3 interceptors by that year.

The Pentagon also announced that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) intermediate-range missile interceptor program would be restructured “due to changing priorities and funding constraints.” The proposed revamping reduces the total number of interceptors from 333 to 180 in fiscal years 2013-2017, cutting the budget by $1.8 billion over that period to $2.8 billion, according to budget documents.

After 16 years and $5 billion, the Airborne Laser, once touted as “America’s first light saber,” has been canceled.

Missile Defense Report Aims for Trust

Tom Z. Collina

Seeking to break the logjam in U.S.-Russian efforts to cooperate on missile defense deployments in Europe, a group of retired senior national security officials released a report in February offering an approach to building greater confidence between Moscow and NATO.

The study calls for cooperation on intercepting medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to “build an important foundation for future cooperation against longer-range threats,” such as strategic missiles, which the report does not specifically address.

The report was produced by the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, created in 2009 by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and co-chaired by former German Ambassador to the United States and United Kingdom Wolfgang Ischinger, former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.).

The missile defense section of the study, led by former U.S. national security adviser Stephen Hadley, former German Defense Minister Volker Rühe, and former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov, lays out a plan for coordinating proposed U.S. and Russian interceptors and missile tracking systems. The report recommends that information from radars and satellites be shared at one or more jointly staffed centers with U.S.-NATO and Russian officers working together “to provide an enhanced threat picture and notification of missile attack.” This is similar to the U.S. proposal for “joint data fusion centers” made by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in March 2011. (See ACT, April 2011.)

The report notes that Moscow “continues to worry about the impact of strategic ballistic missile defense on its strategic nuclear deterrent.” Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said on Russian television Feb. 3 that NATO’s planned missile interceptor system “is certainly aimed at neutralizing Russia’s nuclear missile potential,” according to RIA Novosti. The report sidesteps Moscow’s concerns, however, and recommends starting with cooperation on shorter-range missiles (up to 4,500 kilometers) to build a foundation for future efforts on strategic missiles.

Russia has rejected this approach in the past and is asking instead for legally binding assurances that U.S. interceptors would not be used against Moscow’s strategic forces. The Obama administration has refused to provide such assurances.

The United States is planning to deploy missile interceptors in Europe in four phases over the next decade. The last phase, expected to start in 2020, is planned to have some capability against long-range missiles.

Ischinger, Ivanov, and Nunn presented the report at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 4. Current Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the same conference later that day, did not responded specifically to the report, but said, “We are not overdramatizing the situation, but if everything goes ahead with missile defense as is planned in Washington and Brussels, then we would have to take measures.” The Kremlin recently threatened to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad to target planned U.S. missile interceptors in neighboring Poland if Russia and the United States do not reach a compromise. (See ACT, January/February 2012.)

The United States and NATO are expected to announce at the May NATO summit in Chicago that the first phase of the system, consisting of an Aegis-equipped destroyer in the Mediterranean armed with Standard Missile-3 IA interceptors and a tracking radar in Turkey, has become operational. There had been expectations a year ago that a U.S.-Russian deal on missile defense cooperation would be announced there as well, but that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Seeking to break the logjam in U.S.-Russian efforts to cooperate on missile defense deployments in Europe, a group of retired senior national security officials released a report in February offering an approach to building greater confidence between Moscow and NATO.

U.S.-Russia Missile Defense Talks Deadlock

Tom Z. Collina

A year-long U.S.-Russian effort to find ways to cooperate on European missile defense ground to a halt in November and December, just months before the NATO summit in Chicago this May and in the midst of presidential election seasons in both countries.

Moscow is now threatening to boycott the summit and take other retaliatory measures, such as deploying short-range missiles in Kaliningrad to destroy NATO interceptors and withdrawing from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

In reply, U.S. and NATO officials said that their plans to deploy a missile interceptor system in Europe under the Phased Adaptive Approach will proceed regardless of Moscow’s concerns, raising the prospect of rough sailing for U.S.-Russian relations in the months ahead.

At NATO’s 2010 summit in Lisbon, Russia and NATO agreed in principle to cooperate on a European missile interceptor system. At that time, there were expectations that the two sides would agree on the details of the joint efforts by the Chicago summit.

Russia’s hardened position became clear when President Dmitry Medvedev gave a Nov. 23 national address in which he said that the United States and NATO “have not showed enough willingness” to address Moscow’s concerns. Russia has repeatedly asked for legally binding assurances that NATO missile interceptors would not be used against Moscow’s strategic missiles. “We will not agree to take part in a program that, in a short while, in some six to eight years’ time, could weaken our nuclear deterrent capability,” he said.

The European missile interceptor program is being deployed in phases. The first phase, with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors on Aegis ships and a tracking radar in Turkey, is expected to be declared operational at the Chicago summit. Subsequent phases include the stationing of land-based SM-3s of increasing capability and number in Romania (2015) and Poland (2018) and the 2020 deployment of the SM-3 IIB, which is advertised to have some capability against long-range ballistic missiles. (See ACT, July/August 2011.)

“We find ourselves facing a fait accompli,” Medvedev said in the speech.

Medvedev said he was still open to discussions but, given the circumstances, had been “forced” to take proactive steps, such as putting an early-warning radar in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave just north of Poland, on “combat alert” and equipping new strategic missiles with “advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly effective warheads.”

In addition, Medvedev said that if these measures “prove insufficient,” Russia would deploy “modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the U.S. missile defense system in Europe.” He said one step in this process would be to deploy Iskander missiles, which are nuclear capable, in Kaliningrad. In 2007, Russia warned that if the Bush administration carried out its plans to deploy long-range missile interceptors in Poland, then Iskanders might be deployed in Kaliningrad. These plans were suspended after the Obama administration announced in late 2009 its policy to deploy the shorter-range SM-3 instead.

Medvedev said Russians “reserve the right” to “discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures” and that “conditions for our withdrawal from the New START treaty could also arise.”

To make his point, Medvedev traveled to Kaliningrad on Nov. 29 and activated the new radar, known as the Voronezh-DM station, according to press reports. “If this signal is not heard, we will deploy other methods of protection, including the taking of tough countermeasures and the deployment of strike forces,” he said.

Sergey Karakaev, the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, announced Dec. 19 that Moscow had decided to build a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile with “increased possibilities in overcoming the prospective missile defense system of the United States,” according to Pravda, and the Russian Defense Ministry announced Dec. 20 it had carried out a test of a short-range interceptor missile and posted a video of the event on its Web site.

In response to Medvedev’s speech, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder told reporters Dec. 2 that “[w]e’re deploying all four phases [of the European interceptor system]…whether Russia likes it or not.”

At a Dec. 8 NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said NATO would not “give any other country outside the alliance a veto” over whether to build a missile interceptor system. The system is “not directed at Russia, it’s not about Russia, it’s frankly about Iran,” she said, adding that it was “certainly not a cause for military countermeasures” by Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote Dec. 6 in The New York Times that NATO has tried to allay Russian concerns by offering transparency on missile defense programs through exchanges at the NATO-Russia Council and “a standing invitation to Russian experts to observe and analyze missile defense tests.” Rasmussen wrote that NATO also proposed holding joint NATO-Russia theater missile defense exercises next year and suggested establishing two joint missile defense centers, one for sharing data and the other for supporting planning. Russia rejected these proposals as insufficient.

Medvedev’s more aggressive stance did not go unnoticed in the U.S. Senate. After being assured that New START would contribute to better U.S.-Russian relations, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in December, “[W]e are now in a situation where the president of Russia is threatening to deploy ballistic missiles to destroy U.S. missile defense systems in Europe.”

There has been speculation that Medvedev’s speech was made primarily for domestic political reasons, coming just before December parliamentary elections in which Medvedev’s United Russia party suffered significant losses. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will face a presidential election in March and is not expected to make major policy announcements before then that could be perceived as concessions to the West. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters Dec. 12 that the Chicago summit “would be easier to stage” if NATO and Russia had “agreed on missile defense by that point.” A decision on whether to attend the summit will be made after the presidential election, he said.

According to a diplomatic source close to NATO, Medvedev’s speech is being taken seriously given the specificity of his declarations and the fact that he serves as commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces.

In the United States, congressional Republicans have strongly opposed any limitations on U.S. missile interceptor deployment plans. That issue figured prominently in the debate over ratification of New START. (See ACT, January/February 2011.)

Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington also sparred over the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. At a Nov. 22 press briefing, U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington no longer would “accept Russian inspections of our bases under the CFE [Treaty], and we will also not provide Russia with the annual notifications and military data called for in the treaty.” (See ACT, December 2011.)

Ryabkov told reporters Dec. 16 in Washington that the U.S. decision “has absolutely no meaning for us.” He spoke after a session of the bilateral working group he co-chairs with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher.

“We receive the necessary data to analyze the military-political situation through other channels, including global exchange of military information and in the framework of the Vienna document on enhanced measures of trust,” he said, referring to the Vienna Document on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which requires participating states to share information on their military forces and equipment. “It is the sovereign decision of NATO members [to stop implementing the CFE Treaty,] and we accept it as it is,” he said. Russia will continue to observe its 2007 suspension of the treaty, Ryabkov said.

A year-long U.S.-Russian effort to find ways to cooperate on European missile defense ground to a halt in November and December, just months before the NATO summit in Chicago this May and in the midst of presidential election seasons in both countries.

Turkey to Host NATO Missile Defense Radar

Tom Z. Collina

After an extended delay, the U.S. Department of State announced on Sept. 2 that Turkey had agreed to host an early-warning radar as a key part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the Obama administration’s plan for missile defense in Europe.

U.S. officials have said they expect the radar to be deployed at a military base in Kurecik, about 435 miles from Iran, by the end of the year. The radar, along with the March deployment to the Mediterranean Sea of the USS Monterey, armed with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) IA missile interceptors, would complete the first phase of the administration’s missile defense plans.

Other elements of the administration’s missile defense plans for NATO also have recently fallen into place. On Sept. 13, Romania signed an agreement with the United States to deploy 24 SM-3 IB missile interceptors at Deveselu Air Base in 2015. The pact still has to be ratified by the Romanian parliament. In addition, a U.S.-Polish agreement that entered into force on Sept. 15 would place SM-3 Block IIA interceptors at a base near Redzikowo in 2018. Both agreements were expected and are consistent with previously announced plans.

The U.S. desire to put an AN/TPY-2 X-band radar in Turkey has been known for more than a year, but Ankara had delayed its decision in an apparent attempt to avoid a conflict with Iran, against whose missiles the NATO interceptor system would be aimed. Ankara had been seeking to position itself as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran. The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement regretting Turkey’s decision, saying it would “create tension” and cause “complicated consequences.”

Turkey also was seeking assurances from the United States that information from the radar would not be shared with Israel, a restriction opposed by many in the U.S. Congress. Israeli-Turkish relations have soured since Jerusalem’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010. U.S. officials said that no promise was made to Ankara regarding data sharing with Jerusalem. “It’s a U.S. radar,” a senior official told reporters on Sept. 15, adding, “Nothing in any of the agreements restricts our ability to defend the state of Israel.” A similar U.S. radar is already deployed in Israel.

Ankara appears to have a different interpretation. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview Sept. 18 that information gathered by the radar would be available only to NATO members. “We will provide support only for systems that belong to NATO and are used solely by members of NATO,” he said. Israel is not a NATO member.

The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the U.S.-Turkish radar agreement Sept. 2 by noting the “continued lack of progress in the Russia-NATO dialogue” on missile defense cooperation “due to the stubborn reluctance” of the United States and NATO to consider Russia “as an equal partner.” Moscow reiterated its demand for the United States and NATO to provide “solid, legally binding assurances that their missile defenses in Europe would not be directed at Russian strategic nuclear forces.”

Moscow is concerned about U.S. plans to deploy hundreds of increasingly capable SM-3 missile interceptors by 2020 at sea and on land as part of the phased approach, which NATO approved last November to counter the missile threat that allies expect to emerge from Iran. Russia agreed to work with NATO to seek areas of cooperation, such as sharing information on third-party missile launches and conducting joint exercises. The Pentagon has been interested in gaining access to data from Russian radars located northwest of Iran, such as the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, that could provide useful tracking information on Iranian missiles that could be launched toward Europe or the United States.

Moscow has made it clear that it would be unwilling to pursue additional nuclear arms reductions with Washington unless its concerns about NATO’s missile interceptor plans are addressed. The United States and Russia met in Brussels in June to seek a compromise, but the talks were not successful. (See ACT, July/August 2011.) The effort stalled, officials said, because the United States and NATO could not convince Moscow that NATO would not use the system to intercept Russian strategic nuclear forces.

Speaking at a conference in Copenhagen on Sept. 5, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said Russia’s desire for a legally binding agreement was a “stumbling block we need to remove…. [The United States] can’t sign such an agreement.” Daalder said NATO was working on a compromise “in the form of a political statement” that makes it clear that the NATO system “is directed against a threat coming from outside Europe, not against Russia.”

Meanwhile, on Sept. 1, Raytheon’s new SM-3 IB missile, planned for deployment in Romania and at sea in 2015, failed to intercept a target during its first flight test, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced. The SM-3 IB is an upgrade of the SM-3 IA interceptor now deployed on the Monterey and other Aegis ships. Also last month, the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee zeroed out funding for the SM-3 IIB interceptor from its version of the fiscal year 2012 spending bill, in part because of problems with the SM-3 IB.

The SM-3 IB test missile was launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean minutes after a short-range ballistic missile target was launched from Kauai, Hawaii, 574 miles away. “An intercept of the target was not achieved,” an MDA statement said. Agency officials are conducting a review of the test failure, the MDA said.

After an extended delay, the U.S. Department of State announced on Sept. 2 that Turkey had agreed to host an early-warning radar as a key part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, the Obama administration’s plan for missile defense in Europe.

More Collateral Damage from Missile Defense

U.S.-Russian negotiations on strategic arms reductions have demonstrated time and again that U.S. missile defense plans are an obstacle to negotiating lower levels of offensive nuclear forces. Security experts have been providing more reminders lately that in attempting to treat the effects of ballistic missile proliferation, missile defense programs are also having a counterproductive effect on the causes of ballistic missile proliferation. One of the shibboleths characteristic of most missile defense advocates is their faith-based assertion that missile defenses discourage proliferators...

To Russia, With Love?

By Greg Thielmann Last week's 20th anniversary commemorations of the 1991 Soviet coup attempt prompted some personal reflections on other events affecting relations between Washington and Moscow during that turbulent period. Two years before the coup, a visit by U.S. warships to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet's home port of Sevastopol made a significant contribution to thawing Cold War animosities. At that time, the Associated Press reported a "riotous welcome" from the citizens of that closed Crimean city, a characterization I can attest to as a U.S. Embassy officer witnessing the event. USS...

Missile Defense Cooperation Stalls

Tom Z. Collina

In what might have been the last chance to reach agreement before upcoming national elections in each country, Russia and the United States were unable to strike a deal on missile defense cooperation when their defense ministers met June 8-9 in Brussels. “I think the Russians have a long history of hostility and wariness about missile defense, and so I think we just have to keep working at it,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters at NATO headquarters June 9. The two sides are not expected to meet again on missile defense cooperation until the next NATO summit, in May 2012.

In an unsuccessful attempt to iron out their differences before the defense ministers meeting, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev met May 26 on the sidelines of the summit in Deauville, France, of the Group of Eight industrialized countries. After the meeting, Medvedev told reporters that missile defense “will be finally solved in the future, like, for example, in the year 2020, but we, at present, might lay the foundation for other politicians’ activities.”

Russian officials had been ratcheting up the pressure on missile defense in advance of the Brussels meeting. In a May 18 press conference, Medvedev said, “If missile defense systems are to be developed—which would mean the disruption of strategic parity—the treaty could be suspended or even terminated.” He was referring to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which took effect in February. “We are ready to cooperate, and at the same time, we hope that we get assurances that these capabilities are not directed at us,” he said.

At issue are U.S. plans to deploy hundreds of increasingly capable missile interceptors by 2020 at sea and on land as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which NATO agreed to last November to counter the missile threat seen to be emerging from Iran. Russia, for its part, agreed to work with NATO to seek areas of cooperation, such as sharing information on third-party missile launches and joint exercises. The Pentagon has been interested in gaining access to data from Russian radars located northwest of Iran, such as the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan, that could provide useful tracking information on potential Iranian missile launches toward Europe or the United States.

Ultimately, the missile defense cooperation effort stalled, officials said, because the United States and NATO could not convince Moscow that the interceptor system would not undermine Russian security—that is, that NATO would not use the system to intercept Russian strategic nuclear forces. “I still think there are those in Russia who are skeptical of our motives,” Gates said at the Brussels press briefing. Obama’s top adviser on Russia, Michael McFaul, explained the problem by saying, “They don’t believe us.”

Russia will hold parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections next March. The U.S. elections will follow in November 2012. Missile defense is a potent political issue in both countries.

Russia: Do Not Target Us

To gain assurances that the NATO system is not a threat, Russia first proposed a “joint” system in which both sides would have control over any decision to launch interceptor missiles. NATO rejected this plan months ago. “We cannot outsource our collective defense obligations to non-NATO members,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said June 15 in London at a conference on missile defense at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Moscow then shifted gears and asked for legally binding guarantees that NATO would not aim its interceptors at Russia’s strategic missiles. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told The New York Times May 22, “We do not want any missiles aimed at Russia” and repeated Moscow’s request for “some kind of written guarantees from NATO that the missiles will not threaten Russia.”

NATO formally rejected Russia’s proposal. In June 15 remarks at the RUSI conference, Rasmussen said, “Russia says it wants guarantees. We can give these by agreeing that our systems will not undermine the strategic balance, that they will strengthen each other’s security and not weaken it. But I remain convinced that the best guarantee for Russia is to be part of the process.”

What Russia Wants

The Kremlin appears deeply concerned about the European missile interceptor plan, which envisages more than 500 missile interceptors based on more than 40 ships and two European land bases, in Poland and Romania, and a radar based in southeastern Europe, by the end of this decade.

Russian demands, at first vague, have become more specific over time. In addition to legal guarantees, Moscow’s NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, wrote in The New York Times June 7 that Moscow wants “a common perimeter of missile defense with all ballistic-missile defense capabilities pointed outside the Euro-Atlantic region. It should be geared primarily for areas that could pose threats, and these in reality can only emanate from the south.” In other words, in Russia’s view, there is no justification for interceptors pointed east at Russian territory and, in particular, no need for an interceptor site in Poland, which NATO plans to deploy in 2018.

Russia also reportedly wants an agreement on the total number of missile interceptors that NATO would deploy, as well as on their speed and their deployment locations. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said NATO missile interceptors should have a speed limit that would not allow them to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the Kommersant newspaper reported June 6. “That is why the speed of interceptor missiles should be limited, say to 3.5 kilometers per second,” he said. Additionally, there should be a cap on the quantity of missile interceptors deployed, he told Ekho Moskvy radio. “There should be not 1,000, but 100, 200, or 300 of them, so that they cannot intercept all ICBMs.”

The currently deployed Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) IA interceptors have a maximum speed of about 3 kilometers per second. The next generations, the SM-3 IIA and IIB, are expected to have maximum speeds of 4.5 kilometers per second or faster. Russia is worried that if the SM-3 IIB is fast enough, it could intercept Russian ICBMs.

“The Russian bear sits in its lair, and the NATO huntsman comes over to his house and asks him to come hunt the rabbit…. Why do your rifles have the caliber to hunt the bear, not the rabbit?” Rogozin said June 15 at the RUSI conference, according to Reuters.

U.S. officials say Moscow has nothing to fear because the NATO system could not handle Russia’s fast and vast arsenal. “If we tried to go in that direction it would not work, it would bankrupt us,” James Miller, U.S. principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told a RUSI panel June 15, Reuters reported.

Moscow also is concerned about where the interceptors are deployed. Russia on June 12 objected to the USS Monterey’s presence in the Black Sea. The Monterey, armed with SM-3 IA missiles, is the first component to be fielded of the Obama administration’s phased approach to European missile defense. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned against “the appearance of elements of U.S. strategic infrastructure in the immediate proximity to our borders.”

Meanwhile, Russia has obtained China’s support to condemn NATO’s missile defense plan, Reuters reported June 15. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which encompasses China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, issued a statement that “the unilateral and unlimited growth of missile defense systems by any state or a group of states can cause damage to strategic stability and international security.”

Questions About Prospects

Russian officials are most concerned about the SM-3 IIB, which, U.S. officials point out, does not yet exist and would not be deployed until 2020, four years after Obama leaves office, assuming he serves two terms. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has issued contracts to three companies—Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon—to explore concepts for this missile. Because the system is in the early phases of its development, the schedule could slip, or the program could be scrapped by the next administration.

A Defense Science Board task force is reviewing the mission of the SM-3 IIB. The interceptor is supposed to have what U.S. officials refer to as a “limited” capability against ICBMs, which means that it is effective against long-range missiles only in their ascent phase, known as early intercept, before the warhead separates from the missile. After that, the SM-3 IIB might not be fast enough to “catch” the warhead and might not be able to distinguish a real warhead from decoys. Critics say one of the SM-3’s greatest weaknesses is its inability to distinguish real warheads from decoys after their separation from the missile.

A version of the report has already surfaced on Capitol Hill, and its “unclassified conclusion is that MDA’s plans to achieve an early-intercept capability as part of the Phased Adaptive Approach [are] simply not credible,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said during a June 15 hearing of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. In response, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen said he had “confidence that we can continue to pursue that path” of the SM-3 IIB, even though “the missile you’re talking about I know doesn’t exist yet.”

In April, a group of 39 Republican senators wrote to Obama asking for his written assurance that he would not provide any “early warning, detection, [or] tracking” information to Russia. That is the type of information Obama had been proposing to exchange. The senators wrote that “any agreement that would allow Russia to influence the defense of the United States or our allies…would constitute a failure of leadership.” The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 would prohibit the transfer of such missile defense data to Russia. The Senate version of the bill would allow it.


Russia and the United States were unable to strike a deal on missile defense cooperation during a June 8-9 meeting in Brussels. The effort stalled, officials said, because Russia remains wary that the European interceptor system will undermine its security.

Woolsey Misstates the Intelligence in Missile Defense Pitch

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Why Sarah Palin Is Wrong About Missile Defense Cooperation with Russia

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