Twelfth Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Missile Defense Conference

Ellen Tauscher
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security 
London, United Kingdom
June 16, 2011

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Thank you, Mike, for that kind introduction. I am honored to be here at RUSI today. This Institute has a long and distinguished history, to which I am proud to add my participation. This conference, in particular, is an important forum to discuss the broad range of missile defense issues and it brings together so many important leaders on this issue.

That makes it difficult to be the last speaker at such a prestigious conference. You have already heard from so many distinguished officials, like Lieutenant General O’Reilly, Ambassador Rogozin, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Miller, Secretary Rasmussen, and so many others.

I also want to acknowledge the remarks given by Secretary Aurescu, my Romanian counterpart. Bogdan and I have worked together very closely and successfully over the last 15 months.

Because you have already heard from all of these important officials, let me avoid getting into too many of the details. At this point, you probably do not need another talk explaining the four phases of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA. Instead, I will sum up some of the key missile defense themes and issues, what the United States is doing and where we are going, and then turn to your questions.

First, let me emphasize that we see our missile defense deployments as a commitment to NATO’s effort to develop a territorial missile defense capability, and, more broadly, as part of our commitment to Article V and European Security. NATO’s decision to include a new mission of territorial defense at the Lisbon Summit transformed the efforts of the United States.

We are now deploying our missile defense assets in Europe in support of the NATO mission. The system will provide our forces deployed in Europe, their families, and our NATO European Allies with a defense against the regional ballistic missile threat from the Middle East. That is the context through which we see the deployment of our systems.

While we will have a series of bilateral agreements with host countries about basing our missile defense assets, we see those deployments as part of the larger NATO effort, as we look to offer the EPAA as a U.S. contribution to the NATO system. Once NATO develops the appropriate procedures and protocols, the President intends to transfer control of EPAA to NATO, at which point our systems will be operated under NATO auspices, just like any other voluntary national contribution.

There have been some comments that the United States is not committed to deploying our missile defense system in Europe. Some argue that 2015 and 2018 are so far in the future that the United States is not serious or that there is plenty of time for us to change our mind.

If that were true, I would not be making so many trips to Europe. For those of you with kids, instead of “Where’s Waldo,” it has been “Where’s Ellen” when it comes to missile defense. In February of last year, I was in Poland where we completed negotiations on a Ballistic Missile Defense Basing Agreement for the 2018 Phase 3 site of our missile defense deployments, which is designed to provide enhanced protection of Europe versus intermediate-range ballistic missiles. We signed that agreement in July of last year, and the Polish government has completed its ratification process for that Agreement, for which we are grateful.

You also may have noticed that I was in Romania in May of this year, where we finished negotiations on a basing agreement for the 2015 Phase 2 site. That site is designed to provide enhanced protection against medium-range ballistic missiles. Bogdan and I recently initialed that document in Washington.

In addition, as Jim Miller and General O’Reilly mentioned, we have deployed the USS Monterey to Europe as the first Aegis missile defense ship as part of our 2011 Phase 1 missile defense deployments to provide initial protection of Europe against regional missile threats.

These actions have put into place many of the major elements that will allow for the complete deployment of all four phases of the NATO missile defense effort by 2020.

For those wondering about or doubting our missile defense plans, they only need to look to the Congressional authorization and appropriation process to see what we are buying. One of the great things about the U.S. budget process—and I am not just saying it as a former member of Congress—is that it is transparent. Anyone can see what we are spending our money on. And for missile defense our current spending foretells our future plans because of the long-lead time for developing and deploying these sophisticated systems.

You cannot just start spending on a missile defense site the year before it is to be operational. There is a lot of preparation and construction necessary well in advance to make a site operational by 2015.

So starting with our Fiscal Year 2012 budget request, we will be asking for money to acquire some of the long-lead items that are necessary for the 2015 deployment of the land-based SM-3 site in Romania. This year we also will request money to start construction of a land-based SM-3 test site and will begin testing the SM-3 Block 1B interceptor that will be deployed to Europe in 2015.

We will use the time productively between now and 2015 and 2018. We will test and ensure the effectiveness of our missile defense systems, while also evolving them to keep pace with the threat. We also will use the time we have to work through issues such as NATO Command and Control and cooperation with Russia.

We are grateful for the efforts of our Allies to contribute to the NATO missile defense mission. The expanded funding of Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) program and the work within NATO to develop the necessary command and control arrangements demonstrates how NATO countries have embraced this effort. By agreeing to host missile defense sites, Romania and Poland have demonstrated their strong commitment to NATO as well.

With respect to Russia, as you heard from Ambassador Rogozin, Russia continues to express concerns about our missile defense programs. We have briefed Russia on our missile defense programs and demonstrated with objective criteria related to the technical characteristics of our systems that they are not a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent. We will continue to do so.

We also have proposed a number of tangible areas of cooperation. We believe that missile defense cooperation is the best way to reassure Russia that current and planned U.S. or NATO missile defense capabilities will not be a threat to Russia’s strategic deterrent. Such cooperation can, in fact, increase strategic stability and turn an area of past differences and disagreements into an area of cooperation. It has the potential to not only greatly enhance European security but international security as well.

I appreciate the opportunity to give my remarks immediately after the “Missile Defense, New START and Arms Control” panel. Since coming to the Department of State, I have had the privilege of being involved in the effort to negotiate and ratify the New START Treaty, the effort to deploy missile defense in Europe, and the efforts to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

Throughout those efforts, there have been a number of wild, half-baked accusations about missile defense restrictions and limitations contained in the New START Treaty or some of our other discussions with the Russians. If that were true then I do not think Russia would be complaining so much about our missile defense efforts.

We are seeking cooperation with Russia, but we will not agree to any negotiated limitations on our missile defense programs. Again, we believe that through cooperation Russia will gain the reassurance it is seeking, without limitations that the United States cannot and will not accept.

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. So let me mention a few of the steps we are taking diplomatically to counter missile proliferation and address missile programs of concern.

Chief among our missile nonproliferation tools is the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR. Working with the other 33 MTCR Partners, we have created the global standard for controlling the transfer of equipment, software, and technology that could make a contribution to rockets and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering WMD. In fact, because of the imposition of UN Security Council Resolutions on Iran and North Korea, all countries are now required, regardless of end-use, to prevent the transfer of items listed in the MTCR Annex to Iran and North Korea.

We also are working to support the efforts of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC), which includes over 130 subscribing states and consists of a set of general principles, commitments, and confidence building measures to bolster efforts to curb missile proliferation.

In addition, we are working with our partners to interdict shipments of WMD and missile-related items through the Proliferation Security Initiative or PSI, which focuses on improving a country’s ability to stop shipments of proliferation concern. You will not often hear much about what we are actually doing in this regard because we prefer to do this work quietly, but these efforts are having an impact. Those are just some of the efforts that are ongoing to address missile threats.

We have a lot of work to do both on missile defense and preventing missile proliferation. The Obama Administration is committed to deploying effective missile defenses, including all four phases of our European missile defense plan.

It is clear that we have come a long way in implementing those plans since they were announced in September 2009. And hopefully, it is clear to all that the Obama Administration is committed to European security and that we see our missile defense activities as an important part of the efforts to enhance that security.

Thank you and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.