Missile Defense Cooperation with the Russian Federation

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
December 1, 2010

  • There are no “secret deals” with Russia on missile defense.

  • The Administration has repeatedly communicated to the Russian Government at the highest levels that the United States will not agree to any limitations or constraints on U.S. ballistic missile defenses, and that the United States intends to continue improving and deploying BMD systems to defend the U.S. against limited missile launches, and to defend our deployed forces, allies, and partners against regional threats.

  • The Administration has repeatedly made clear that it is pursuing missile defense cooperation with Russia. As one example, at a June 17 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Gates stated: “Separately from the treaty, we are discussing missile defense cooperation with Russia, which we believe is in the interests of both nations. But such talks have nothing to do with imposing any limitations on our programs or deployment plans.”

  • The Obama Administration believes that missile defense cooperation with the Russian Federation is in the national security interests of the United States, as did the Bush Administration. Restrictions or limitations on U.S. missile defense capabilities are not under discussion in any forum.

  • At Lisbon, NATO and Russia agreed to resume theater missile defense exercises and discuss ways where they could potentially cooperate on territorial missile defense in the future.

  • U.S.-Russia and NATO-Russia cooperation on missile defense is intended to help improve our defensive capabilities, strengthen transparency, and reduce Russia’s concerns about the United States’ missile defense efforts by providing it with further insight into the nature of and motivations for U.S. and NATO ballistic missile defense plans and programs.

  • In 2004, under the Bush Administration, the United States began seeking a Defense Technical Cooperation Agreement (DTCA) with Russia. The DTCA is a broad agreement that, once concluded, would address the Parties’ responsibilities and rights with respect to a broad range of defense-related cooperative research and development activities, including missile defense. The last DTCA discussions with Russia were held in 2008.

  • The Administration decided to propose a more limited form of the DTCA that would only address missile defense cooperation issues - a Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Agreement (BMDCA). The proposed BMDCA would establish a framework to allow for bilateral BMD cooperation, including: transparency and confidence building measures; BMD exercises; data sharing; research and development; and technology sharing. Details about how to cooperate would need to be negotiated subsequent to the BMDCA.

  • As with the DTCA, the proposed BMDCA does not specify any missile defense cooperation measure in particular; instead, it would serve as an umbrella agreement under which future individual technology agreements could be considered.

  • The U.S.-proposed BMDCA specifically stated, “This agreement shall not constrain or limit the Parties’ respective BMD plans and capabilities numerically, qualitatively, operationally, geographically, or in any other way.”

  • Last spring, the Russian Government indicated that it did not wish to negotiate a BMDCA at that time.

  • The United States intends to resume discussions with Russia on a possible DTCA in the near future.

  • The United States will continue to discuss possible missile defense cooperation with Russia and will not accept any limits or constraints on our ability to effectively defend the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies and friends from the ballistic missile threat.