U.S. Missile Defense and Regional Security

Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
2nd Annual Israel Multinational Missile Defense Conference
Tel Aviv, Israel
July 25, 2011


Date: 07/25/2011 Description: Deputy Assistant Secretary Rose delivers remarks at the Second Annual Israel Multinational Missile Defense Conference. - State Dept Image

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this conference for the second year in a row; it is a pleasure to be here. This conference is important because it gives those of us who are involved in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of formulating and implementing Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) policy a chance to communicate with a wider community on the status of our efforts and to get your feedback.

Today, I’d like to focus on three areas. First, I’d like to reflect on the United States’ approach to missile defense, and the threats we and our friends and allies face. Second, I’ll share how the United States has been meeting the commitments we laid out in our new missile defense strategy, especially with respect to our efforts in Europe. And third, I’ll discuss the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to missile defense cooperation with Israel.


Missile defense plays an important role in the broader U.S. international security strategy, supporting both defense and diplomacy. Missile defense assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter and, if necessary, defeat a potential ballistic missile attack against friends, partners, the U.S. homeland, and our forward deployed troops and assets. Missile defense also may help constrain regional actors from trying to inhibit or disrupt the U.S. ability to come to the defense or assistance of its friends or other states.

When I spoke at this conference last year, I discussed how the growth in the regional ballistic missile threat was one of the driving forces of the new U.S. approach to missile defense. The predominant ballistic missile threat to deployed U.S. forces and our allies and partners around the world continues to come from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Compounding this threat, many states are working to make their missile systems not only more reliable and more accurate but better protected from pre-launch attack and able to counter missile defense systems. A good example of this is Iran’s recent public display of silos for its ballistic missile force. Some states are also working to develop missiles suitable for delivering nuclear, chemical, and/or biological payloads.

Iran and North Korea continue to pursue technologies that could support long-range missile development, such as space launch vehicles. While we are uncertain about when a missile threat to the U.S. homeland will emerge, there is no doubt that these states currently seek to target U.S. forces deployed in their regions, as well as our allies and partners. The United States has consequently rebalanced its missile defense program with the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review to focus greater attention on countering the current threat to U.S. forces, allies, and partners while maintaining our ability to defend the U.S. homeland.

President Obama has made international cooperation on missile defense a key Administration priority. The United States seeks to prevent the development, acquisition, deployment, and use of ballistic missiles by regional adversaries. By reducing our adversaries’ confidence in the effectiveness of such attacks, we enhance deterrence. Recognizing that each region has unique deterrence and defense requirements due to differences in geography, history, and relationships, the United States is pursuing a region-by-region approach based on the following three principles:

  • First, the United States will deter adversaries through strong regional deterrence architectures built upon strong cooperative relationships and appropriate burden sharing with our allies and partners.
  • Second, the United States will pursue a Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) within key regions that is tailored to the threats unique to that region, including the scale, scope, and pace of their development, and the capabilities available and most suited for deployment. This approach means we will phase in and implement the best available technology to meet existing and evolving threats, and adapt to situations that evolve in an unforeseen manner.
  • Third, in order to meet a global demand for missile defense assets that will continue to exceed supply, the United States will develop mobile capabilities that can be relocated to adapt to a changing threat, or provide surge defense capabilities where they are most needed.


In September 2009, President Obama unveiled a new plan for providing missile defense in Europe. Compared to the previous plan, President Obama’s plan would provide more effective missile defense protection sooner to our NATO allies threatened by ballistic missiles from the Middle East. The President’s plan will augment the defense of the United States. The President outlined a four-phase implementation plan, during which the United States would deploy increasingly capable missile defense assets to defend Europe against the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and the pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. I’d like to give you a brief rundown of the significant progress we have made in implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).

In Europe, the Obama Administration is committed to implementing the PAA within a NATO context, as part of NATO's decision to develop a territorial missile defense capability, and, more broadly, as part of our commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and European security. NATO's decision to adopt a new mission of territorial missile defense at the Lisbon Summit created a framework for NATO Allies to contribute and optimize missile defense assets for NATO’s collective defense. The EPAA will be a U.S. national contribution to the NATO capability.

At the Lisbon Summit last November, NATO Heads of State and Government decided to develop a missile defense capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory, and forces. They also agreed to expand the scope of the NATO Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program’s command, control, and communications capabilities beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory, and forces. NATO’s new Strategic Concept clearly states that to ensure NATO has the full range of capabilities to deter and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our populations, NATO will develop the capability to defend itself against ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East.

NATO’s new approach to missile defense creates more opportunities for cooperation among our NATO Allies through a formalized NATO Command and Control system, as NATO will be able to input voluntary national contributions from the United States and our NATO Allies into the overall NATO capability. We continue to make progress in developing the command and control procedures, which will govern the conduct of NATO missile defense. When NATO is ready, the President will transfer operational control of the EPAA to the Alliance as the first national contribution to the NATO territorial missile defense capability.

As you are well aware, the EPAA will be deployed in phases. The United States is developing a flexible and adaptive system capable of responding to evolving and emerging threats and the development of BMD technology.

As President Obama stated, the United States is committed to deploying all four phases of the EPAA, which will place upper tier SM-3 interceptors on land in Europe as well as on Aegis BMD-capable ships deployed to the region. Beyond U.S. assets, our European Allies also have systems that could contribute to the defense of Europe against ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East. Some of our Allies, for example, already have Aegis ships which are useful even before the Aegis BMD capability has been installed. There are also land- and sea-based sensors that could be linked into the system, as well as lower tier systems, such as PATRIOT from other NATO countries, that can be integrated and used to provide point defenses.

Beyond these critical elements of the EPAA, let me now discuss the excellent progress that has been made in implementing the new approach.

In March of this year, the EPAA Phase 1 became operational with the deployment of the USS Monterey to the Mediterranean. The Monterey is an Aegis BMD-capable multi-role ship. We are also discussing the deployment of an AN/TPY-2 radar somewhere in Southern Europe, but no final decisions have yet been made.

For Phase 2 of the EPAA, we concluded negotiations with Romania to host a U.S. land-based SM-3 missile defense interceptor site on May 4, 2011, and expect to sign the agreement later this year. The United States and Romania jointly selected the Deveselu Air Base near Caracal, Romania. The deployment to Romania is anticipated to occur in the 2015 timeframe.

With respect to Phase 3, in July 2010, we reached final agreement with Poland to place a similar U.S. missile defense interceptor site there in the 2018 timeframe. Poland is in the final stages of the ratification process for those documents.

Finally with respect to Phase 4, the Department of Defense has begun concept development of a more advanced interceptor for deployment in the 2020 timeframe.

Before I close on U.S. missile defense in Europe, let me touch on the subject of missile defense and Russia. Missile defense cooperation with Russia is a Presidential priority, as it was for several previous U.S. Administrations. Successful missile defense cooperation would provide concrete benefits to Russia, our NATO allies, and the United States. We believe it will strengthen, not weaken – strategic stability over the long term and will further help strengthen our relationship with Russia, while assisting in the defense of Europe.

We hope to build a durable framework for missile defense cooperation with Russia. We have also repeatedly worked at the highest levels of the United States Government to be transparent with Russia, and to explain that the EPAA does not threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent or its security. Our missile defenses are being deployed against limited attacks and are neither designed to, nor do they have the capability to target the large numbers and sophistication of Russian strategic forces.

We have a real opportunity at this time to begin concrete BMD cooperation with Russia both bilaterally and within the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). Such cooperation could greatly improve regional and trans-regional security. In the NATO-Russia context, we concluded a Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges last year, and the United States and Russia recently finished a bilateral Joint Threat Assessment dealing with regional ballistic missile threats. We also are looking to renew our bilateral and NRC theater missile defense cooperation with Russia and will, in the words of the November 2010 Lisbon NRC Joint Statement, “develop a comprehensive Joint Analysis of the future framework for missile defense cooperation.” We are also seeking cooperation with Russia on a Defense Technology Cooperation Agreement that would provide a framework for a host of defense-related research and development activities.

Even as we seek greater cooperation with Russia on missile defense, I want to reiterate what President Obama has clearly stated—the United States cannot accept limitations or restrictions on the development or deployment of U.S. missile defenses. The United States has made it clear that no nation or group of nations will have veto power over U.S. missile defense efforts because missile defense is a critical capability needed to counter a growing 21st century threat to the United States, our allies and partners, and our deployed forces. Likewise, under the terms of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO alone will bear responsibility for defending the Alliance from the ballistic missile threat. It is in the common interests of the United States, NATO, and Russia to jointly cooperate in the field of missile defense, and through such cooperation clearly communicate and demonstrate to potentially hostile states that the development and acquisition of ballistic missiles will not provide an advantage.


Turning now to U.S. missile defense cooperation with Israel, a subject of immediate interest to this audience, let me begin by saying that our missile defense cooperation with Israel is separate from our efforts in Europe but robust, enduring, and unshakable. Israel was one of the first U.S. partners in missile defense, and the Obama Administration is committed to missile defense cooperation with Israel.

Let me begin by discussing the threat, starting with Iran.

Iran has claimed, during its war games last month and previously this year, to have successfully tested solid-fuel, 2,000 km medium range ballistic missiles, demonstrating a capability to strike targets in Israel and Southeastern Europe. Iran is fielding increased numbers of mobile regional ballistic missiles, claims to have incorporated anti-missile-defense tactics and capabilities into its ballistic missile forces, and has recently unveiled missile silo facilities. It is likely working to improve the accuracy of its short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and claims to have the ability to produce intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its recent space launches demonstrate that it has the applicable technologies. On June 15, Iran used its Safir space launch vehicle to lift the 34-pound Rasad-1 satellite into orbit, the second satellite it's put into orbit in two years. In 2010, Iran showed the intent to develop even more powerful rockets, when it unveiled plans for a four-engine, liquid-fuel Simorgh rocket to carry a 220-pound satellite into orbit at an altitude of 310 miles. Both the Safir and Simorgh programs allow Iran to gain experience with technologies that have direct applications in longer-range ballistic missile systems.

Syria possesses one of the largest ballistic missile development programs in the region. Its arsenal already includes hundreds of mobile SCUD-class and short-range ballistic missiles and it continues to seek more advanced equipment and materials from North Korea, Iran, and other illicit suppliers. As you well know, these weapons are capable of reaching much of Israel and other states in the region. Such capabilities highlight the importance of our missile defense cooperation and the role missile defense can play in maintaining regional stability.

Hizballah and Hamas (particularly the former) are capable of conducting irregular warfare campaigns that include, in the case of Hizballah, launching thousands of short-range rockets into Israeli population centers. Hizballah is attempting to expand its reach and effects by acquiring rockets with greater range and accuracy.

Because we understand the serious nature of the threat, we are working with Israel on a number of missile defense activities to address these threats, from plans and operations to specific programs:

  • BMD Operations and Plans: Since 2001, Israel and the United States have conducted a joint biennial exercise, called Juniper Cobra, to work on integrating interceptors, radars, and other systems. In addition, the United States and Israel continue to meet regularly and coordinate extensively on a wide range of missile defense issues.
  • Arrow Weapons System: The Arrow Weapons System provides Israel with an indigenous capability to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Earlier this year, Israel and the United States successfully detected, tracked, and intercepted a ballistic target missile using the Arrow Weapon System. This system continues to be jointly developed, with the United States and Israel co-manufacturing the Arrow-2 system and working closely together on the more powerful Arrow-3. The Arrow-3 will enable Israel to engage threat missiles at even greater ranges and at higher-altitudes, a capability that is particularly effective against potentially WMD- armed ballistic missiles.
  • X-band Radar: In September 2008, the United States and Israel worked together closely to deploy an AN/TPY-2 radar to Israel. This powerful radar is linked to U.S. early warning satellites, and intended to enhance Israel’s defense and missile detection capabilities.
  • David’s Sling: The United States and Israel are co-developing the “David’s Sling” Weapon System (DSWS) to defend against short-range rocket and missile threats falling below the optimal capability for Israel’s Arrow interceptor.
  • Iron Dome: Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress authorized over $200 million in support for Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor system. These funds will be used by Israel to purchase more of these defensive systems, which showed their effectiveness in April when they successfully shot down eight rockets fired from Gaza. The system is designed to counter short-range missiles and rockets, and has already been successfully deployed this year.

The growing proliferation of missile threats reinforces the importance of the collaborative missile defense efforts I just outlined. Together we can work to protect what our adversaries would put at risk, both now and in the future. Our mutual commitment to cooperation on missile defense research and development, on deploying proven technologies and weapon systems such as the Arrow, and on gaining operational experience through joint exercises and training, will go far in enhancing Israeli security and our mutual interests, and in further cementing and expanding our partnership.

I want to close by noting the obvious which is that the worst-case scenario for dealing with missile threats is after a missile has launched. We are taking several steps diplomatically to counter missile proliferation and address missile programs of concern. We are working with the other 33 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Partners to create the global standard for controlling the transfer of equipment, software, and technology that could make a contribution to rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles. We also are working to support the efforts of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC), and are working through the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to help partners improve their ability to stop shipments of proliferation concern. Those are just some of the efforts that are ongoing to address missile threats, and while we do this work quietly, these efforts are having an impact.

Thank you for your time and attention.