NATO Parliamentary Assembly
HomeDOCUMENTSCommittee Reports2011 Annual Session176 DSCFC 11 E rev. 1 final - MISSILE DEFENCE: THE WAY AHEAD FOR NATO


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1.  NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept, surveying security of the Euro-Atlantic space, states that “(…) the proliferation of ballistic missiles (…) poses a real and growing threat to the Euro-Atlantic area.”  As a senior NATO official told members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in February 2011, “missiles represent a growing menace for NATO’s populations, territories and deployed forces.  More than 30 countries already hold or are acquiring missiles that could carry not only conventional payloads but also weapons of mass destruction.  The proliferation of these capabilities does not necessarily imply the existence of an immediate intention to attack NATO, but it does mean that the Alliance must be able to defend its populations against these threats.”

2.  From this basis, Allies took two groundbreaking decisions on missile defence (MD) at NATO’s Lisbon Summit in November 2010: first, they agreed for the first time to “(…) develop the capability to defend our populations and territories against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective defence.” This decision expands on the Alliance’s previous intent to develop a joint, short-range missile defence system for the protection of its forces deployed in operations.

3.  A second, closely related but independent decision, was that the Alliance intends to actively seek co-operation on missile defence with Russia.  Hailed as a definitive break with Cold War doctrines, this decision was promoted as perhaps the most important element of a general reset of relations between NATO and Russia at the Lisbon Summit.

4.  These political commitments were extremely significant; however, the difficult work of implementing them has only just begun.  Difficult decisions on such areas as prioritising what areas to defend and establishing command and control relationships lie ahead.  It remains to be seen whether the resources required to turn the project into a reality will materialise.  Similarly, NATO and Russian visions of true partnership in this area remain, at the time of writing, far apart;  significant progress will be required if missile defence co-operation is to become a foundation on which to build future NATO-Russia relations.

5.  The follow-on from the missile defence decisions taken in Lisbon is likely to feature prominently in NATO’s agenda for years to come.  This report, prepared for the Defence and Security of the NATO PA, follows the 2010 report of this Sub-Committee, which focused on the prospects for an evolution in NATO’s nuclear posture.1  Current NATO missile defence plans, and in particular the opportunity they represent for a more co-operative relationship with Russia, may open the door to security gains in the form of important nuclear and conventional arms control measures.  The two reports should therefore be seen as complementary in forming a more complete understanding of the overall strategic environment in which missile defence programmes are evolving.

6.  This report therefore seeks to offer a factual summary of the decisions taken at Lisbon on missile defence and plans for implementing them, as well as an analysis of a number of areas which will be crucial in determining their ultimate success or failure. 



7.  The agreements reached at Lisbon on missile defence flowed from three premises.  First, that the threat of ballistic missiles to European territory was real and increasing.  The second premise was that NATO was already developing a defence against short-range missiles threatening its deployed troops, and that this system could be expanded to co-ordinate a defence for the entire European NATO territory.  Finally, the third premise was that the United States was offering to integrate its substantial planned missile defence programme for Europe – the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) – into NATO structures, at relatively little cost to other Allies.



8.  The threat to deployed troops from ballistic missiles first became evident in the 199091 Gulf War, when Patriot anti-missile systems were deployed to counter Iraqi Scud missiles.  NATO’s own work on missile defence programmes began in earnest in 2005; however, Allies had discussed the threat posed by missile proliferation much earlier.  For example, the 1999 Strategic Concept recognised the need to invest in developing the technology required to deploy a Theatre Missile Defence (TMD), for the defence of NATO troops in the battlefield.  It stated that “[t]he Alliance's defence posture against the risks and potential threats of the proliferation of NBC [Nuclear/Biological/Chemical] weapons and their means of delivery must continue to be improved, including through work on missile defence.”

9.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was more explicit when, in September 2010, he stated his view that “it is a fact and based on public information from Iran herself that Iran has at her disposal missile technology with a range which makes it possible for them to hit targets in Europe if they so wish.  And this is a reason why I say, this (...) potential threat is real.”

10.  The possibility of a direct Iranian missile strike on European territory is not universally considered to be a significant risk; some observers believe the Iranian leadership is a deterrable, rational actor which would be deterred by the risk of massive nuclear retaliation.  Others are less sure of the Iranian regime’s predictability, particularly if it obtains nuclear weapons.  A significant consideration is also whether Iran’s ability to hold European territory at risk, even conceptually, would be enough to limit the freedom of action of NATO or its member states in responding to a potential future crisis scenario.



11.  The Lisbon Summit decisions call for the expansion of NATO’s existing anti-missile programmes to cover not only deployed forces, but also the entirety of European NATO territory and populations.  They are thus intended to build on NATO’s Active Layer Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD), a command and control network under development at NATO since 2005.

12.  ALTBMD was designed to counter the short-range ballistic missile threat to deployed Allied troops.  The common-funded system, when complete, is to serve as an effective command, control, and integration network that would share tactical information and facilitate the integration of various national defence assets such as early-warning and tracking sensors and interceptors to defeat theatre ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,000km.

13.  Several early components of NATO’s ALTBMD programme were already in place at the time of writing.  These include an interim, deployable capability at the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany, that, according to NATO, allows Allied military commanders to: plan a missile defence battle for the first time; link radars and interceptors from nations into a lower-layer (about 1,000km range) ballistic missile defence capability; receive early warning of inbound ballistic missiles; and monitor and (to a limited degree) direct a theatre missile defence battle.2  On 1 June 2010, NATO also opened an expanded theatre missile defence test facility or “test bed”, hosted at the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) facilities in The Hague.  The state-of-the-art facility, first opened in 2008, has supported major missile defence exercises, such as Dutch Air Force Joint Project Optic Windmill 2010.

14.  ALTBMD was successfully tested in a realistic operational environment for the first time in August 2011, in conjunction with a test of the command and control network for the European components of the US missile defence system. Units from Dutch, German and American systems responded to a simulated attack, receiving information from space and land-based sensors, and executed simulated interception missions. These units included US Aegis systems, Patriot missile battalions from Germany and the Netherlands, and command and control headquarters for the US and NATO forces. Once a second field test is conducted, NATO commanders are likely to declare that the missile defence capability has reached military initial operating capability. ALTBMD Programme Manager General Alessandro Pera said “[t]his is a very significant event for NATO. It has, for the first time, demonstrated that NATO ballistic missile defence capabilities from a number of Alliance members, including the US, can operate in a seamless manner under a unified command structure to accomplish this new NATO mission.”3

15.  NATO’s ALTBMD programme will continue to be developed through its anticipated completion in 2018.  In the interim, current plans call for deployment of a more capable version of the lower layer NATO theatre missile command and control system, fully integrated with NATO’s air defence system and integrating additional radars and interceptors from Greece, Italy and Poland by the end of 2014. By 2017, the first upgrades to the NATO capability providing upper layer and territorial missile defence capability should be fielded, fully interlinked with the US European Phased Adaptive Approach.

16.  Thus NATO’s ALTBMD programme is intended to serve as the communications, command and control and battle management software that binds national capabilities (radars and interceptors) into an Alliance capability.  Because it has been designed to communicate with the software, sensors and weapons that make up the US missile defence programmes, Allies have decided to use it as the cornerstone of its future territorial missile defence capability.


17.  It is in this context that the US proposed contribution to NATO’s territorial missile defence plans under the Obama Administration’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) were particularly attractive for European NATO members in the run-up to the Lisbon Summit.  Secretary General Rasmussen suggested that “[w]ith a relatively small investment, all the allies could plug into the multi-billion-dollar United States system, share the benefits of increased security, and demonstrate a shared commitment to our mutual defence. That is an attractive return on investment.”4  Indeed, on a relative scale, US investments in missile defence (with some US$10 billion planned for 2011) dwarf the proposed expenses for NATO Allies.

18.  In announcing the EPAA in September 2009, the Obama Administration suggested that two factors had prompted a significant review of US missile defence policy: a changed assessment of the Iranian threat, and advances in anti-missile technology. Regarding the ballistic missile threat, Iranian short- and mid-range missiles (capable of striking Europe) had developed more quickly than anticipated, while their long-range missile programmes had progressed less quickly. This placed a priority on protecting US forces deployed in Europe as well as on protecting Allies.  Secondly, improvements in missile defence technology (including sensors and interceptors) aimed at short- and medium-range missiles gave US officials increased confidence that a network of relocatable sea- and land-based capabilities would effectively counter a potential Iranian threat.

19.  As a result of these judgments, the United States announced a four-phase plan for the deployment of its Phased Adaptive Approach5:

* Phase One (in the 2011 timeframe) – Deploy current and proven missile defence systems available in the next two years, including the sea-based Aegis Weapon System, the SM-3 interceptor (Block IA), and sensors such as the forward-based Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2), to address regional ballistic missile threats to Europe and US deployed personnel and their families;

* Phase Two (in the 2015 timeframe) – After appropriate testing, deploy a more capable version of the SM-3 interceptor (Block IB) in both sea- and land-based configurations, and more advanced sensors, to expand the defended area against short- and medium-range missile threats;

* Phase Three (in the 2018 timeframe) –  After development and testing are complete, deploy the more advanced SM-3 Block IIA variant currently under development, to counter short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missile threats; and 

* Phase Four (in the 2020 timeframe) – After development and testing are complete, deploy the SM-3 Block IIB to help better cope with medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) threat to the United States. 

20.  US officials emphasize that these plans could be modified if technological advances or evolving threats emerge.

21.  The US EPAA is already underway, with its first dedicated asset – the guided-missile cruiser, USS Monterey – deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in March 2011.  Armed with the Aegis radar system and SM-3 Block IA missile interceptors, the Monterey is the first sustained deployment intended to support the missile defence mission, according to US officials. (The ship docked in Georgia for a training mission in June; Russian officials said its presence in the Black Sea threatened the “reset” of relations between the United States and Russia). Outlining US plans for the coming months, Ellen Tauscher, a senior State Department official indicated that “[b]y the end of this fiscal year, our regional missile defence capabilities will consist of 26 THAAD interceptors and 107 SM-3 interceptors. And Romania and Poland have agreed to host land-based SM3 interceptor sites. Their support allows the United States to base our systems closer to the Iranian threat and provides a permanent missile defence capability in Europe.”6

22.  The political decisions made at the Lisbon Summit amount to a NATO-wide commitment to integrate these US efforts into a shared NATO programme.



23.  Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will want to focus their attention on several critical issues when assessing the implementation of the Lisbon Summit decisions on missile defence in the months and years ahead.   These issues are all currently under discussion at NATO.  They include the contributions of non-US Allies; the effectiveness and cost of the architecture overall; and issues regarding the system’s command and control; as well as the impact of a NATO missile defence system on other elements of its overall posture, in particular its nuclear deterrent. 



24.  The extent of the contributions by non-US Allies to the overall architecture of NATO’s eventual territorial missile defence is an important question that remains unresolved.

25.  The first type of contribution, the hosting of missile defence infrastructure by European NATO Allies, was already envisaged on a bilateral basis in the previous US administration’s missile defence plans.  The EPAA which the United States has integrated into NATO includes bilateral agreements between the United States and Romania, and the United States and Poland, which have each agreed in principle to host an Aegis Ashore facility (Romania in 2015 and Poland in 2018).

26.  Turkey announced on 2 September 2011 that it had agreed to host on its territory a powerful, ground-based radar deployed by the United States as part of its proposed architecture.  The radar, known as the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2), was to be deployed by the end of 2011.  NATO’s Secretary General welcomed what he called Turkey's “critical contribution to the Alliance's overall defence against current and emerging ballistic missile threats.”

27.  Beyond serving as basing countries for missile-defence infrastructure, the United States expects other Allies who either have or are developing missile-defence capabilities on a national or multinational basis to integrate their assets into the NATO system as well.  US Defence Advisor Robert G. Bell, a senior expert on missile defence and NATO, recently outlined what the United States sought as potential contributions to a NATO missile defence system by other Allies:

“France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and Poland, for example, have land[-] or sea-based sensors that could link into ALTBMD.  Many of these Allies also have TMD lower-tier interceptors and there is no question that European industry is capable of producing uppertier systems.  FR [France] is also planning to plug in its Spirale EW/launch detection capabilities once it achieves its IOC [Initial Operational Capability]. Finally, other Allies could contribute territory, communications, and other resources that are needed for an effective system, as UK [United Kingdom] & DK [Denmark] have already pledged with regard to the Fylingdales & Thule BMEWS [Ballistic Missile Early Warning System] radars, and Romania and Poland have done with regard to basing SM-3's on their soil.  Over time, it's our hope that national contributions from other Allies will expand as more nations develop capabilities relevant to missile defense.”7

28.  A slightly different list of potential contributions by European NATO Allies is found in a NATO Defense College report:

“Germany, the Netherlands, Greece and Spain operate Patriot batteries that can be used as point defense systems against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, and Germany and Italy cooperate with the United States in the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) programme to develop a more capable successor system.8  Italy and France have similar capabilities with the SAMP/T [Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain] air defense system.  Modern air defense ships of the German (F-124 Sachsen class), Dutch (LCF De Zeven Provinciën class), Spanish (F-100 Alvaro de Bazan class) and Norwegian navies (F-310 Fridtjof Nansen class) have already successfully participated in US missile defense tests with their ship-borne radar systems.  Various land-based radars of several European armies could also be integrated into a NATO missile defense system.”9

29.  The report also calls for pooled funding by European NATO countries for the acquisition of a limited number of SM-3 interceptors assigned to NATO vessels.  This would not only be a powerful symbol of burden-sharing in the face of difficult economic conditions, authors suggest, but also would serve as a practical solution to the fact that many important European navies (FR, IT, UK) mostly use launch canisters unsuitable for the SM-3 interceptor; these navies could then assist with the purchase of interceptors for deployment on vessels capable of using them. 

30.  However, a recent report for the US Congress underlines a significant challenge: the United States is thus far the only NATO member nation developing missile defence technology appropriate to territorial (rather than theatre) missile defence, such as the Aegis or THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) systems.  While it is true that non-US NATO member states could contribute ‘point’ defences, such as the Patriot system, these are designed to protect smaller areas against short-range missiles, and would likely have to be deployed with the limited mission of protecting strategic assets.  According to the same report, “(…) the current fiscal situation of many NATO allies makes it less likely that they will start expensive new BMD [Ballistic Missile Defense] development programs for area defense.”10



31.  US officials describe the technology envisaged for the PAA as ‘proven’.11  For example, the Defence and Security Committee (DSC) was told at the Missile Defense Agency in January 2011 that the United States’ current approach to missile defence deployment was now based on the deployment of technology that was effective, tested and capable.  In this, it differed significantly from the previous administration’s priority, which amounted to deploying as quickly as possible those capabilities that were immediately available in response to what was seen as an urgent threat.

32.  Technological improvements, in particular in the area of missile interceptors, has given officials greater confidence in the system’s effectiveness in recent years; Defense Department officials told the Committee that US missile defence interceptors had been successful in 44 of 56 live-fire tests since 2001.12

33.  However, the extremely difficult technical challenge of missile defence – what is often referred to as “hitting a bullet with a bullet” – has stymied the effectiveness of such programmes for decades.  Some critics contend that the hurdles to succeeding in this endeavour undercut the rationale for the project as a whole. 

34.  Indeed, critics assert that testing programmes for missile defence capabilities are overly scripted and do not take place under “real-world” conditions.  Critics also suggest that any country that is able to develop long-range missiles will also be technically able to equip those missiles with the basic decoys and countermeasures necessary to defeat the type of limited defences currently under development by the United States.13  When challenged on the testing programme, US defence officials told members of the DSC Committee in January 2011 that current plans only aimed to defeat relatively unsophisticated missile capabilities.  In fact, the limited capacity of the currently planned system is one of the reassurances given by US officials in discussions with Russian representatives in order to counter the latter’s concerns that Russian capabilities would be undermined.



35.  Secretary General Rasmussen has stated that the decision to expand NATO’s theatre missile defence programme – ALTBMD – to serve as the control and command hub of defences covering the entirety of European NATO territory and population implies an additional investment of €200 million over the next 10 years, shared by all 28 Allies.  This is in addition to the previously agreed funding for ALTBMD, which amounts to €800 million spread over 14 years.14  This translates to “very little money for a lot of capability”, according to the US Ambassador to NATO.  “For a mid-size ally, the cost equates to less than half a tank each year.”15

36.  Despite these assurances, concerns regarding the initiative’s ultimate price tag have not fully been put to rest.  Soon after the Lisbon Summit, for example, France’s military representative to the European Union and NATO, Admiral Xavier Païtard, said he was “suspicious of the 200 million-euro price tag ... [and fear] it will be a lot more expensive”.

37.  Putting aside the shared €200 million expense outlined by Secretary General Rasmussen to NATO itself for upgrading the ALTBMD command and control system, this does not fund the national capabilities, such as sensors and interceptor missiles, expected to be “plugged in” to the NATO command and control system.  Indeed, one analyst suggests that non-US member states are also likely to need to invest heavily in additional interceptors if the system is to be effective for the whole of NATO’s European territory: “[i]f it is a serious system, allies will need to add more interceptors to it. The US does not pretend to cover the whole NATO territory with its existing interceptors.”16

38.  In this respect, a recent unilateral decision by the Pentagon to withdraw from the NATOmanaged MEADS programme after 2013 because of budget pressures has, in some quarters, renewed concern about the cost and feasibility of joint missile defence programmes.17  The United States-Germany-Italy programme was estimated to cost roughly US$4.2 billion as of January 2011, but revised estimates threatened to push it even higher; the Pentagon decision would cap US spending at US$4 billion.18 At the time of writing, the programme’s fate is still ambiguous with Congress considering earlier termination – the Senate Armed Service Committee cut the Obama Administration’s US$406 million fiscal year 2012 MEADS funding request although the Congress must still pass the 2012 budget19 – and Germany and Italy lobbying hard against termination. Germany argues that MEADS is the basis of its air defence architecture and its contribution to NATO missile defence, and that such objectives can only be met if fiscal commitments for joint development are met as planned.20

39.  Though MEADS was indeed originally supposed to become a component of NATO’S theatre missile defence, and consequently “aligned to contribute” to the Phased Adaptive Approach for territorial missile defence, the PAA will principally rely on SM-3 interceptors.  Thus, as one British defence official co-ordinating missile defence programmes at NATO has pointed out, MEADS was “(…) an important system, but it’s not the only system that’s available to NATO nations.  (…) There are other options.”21

40.  Finally, questions regarding the opportunity costs of extensive missile defence expenditures have also been raised.  This concern was raised, for instance, by France’s military representative to the EU and NATO, who stated that “(…) too much investment in missile defence may detract from investment in conventional weapons that are needed by a country to make itself respected and have a voice in the world.”22

41.  Should European NATO members not invest in missile defence capabilities complementary to those the United States has planned to deploy, the result could be a cascade of negative effects on the Alliance, according to one analyst who suggests that “(…) few European governments have come forward pledging money for [yet to be developed European sensors and interceptors]. It is not obvious why the US Congress would fund a programme to defend European mainland, which the Europeans themselves are unwilling to support (…) A setback to NATO’s missile defences could be particularly divisive, with new allies lamenting a chance to host US military bases”.23

42.  Parliamentarians with defence oversight responsibilities are well aware of the alltoocommon challenge of rising costs and delayed delivery schedules of complex defence systems; indeed, the US Defense Department has been warned by a Congressional oversight agency that the lack of clear guidance, life-cycle cost estimates, or a fully integrated schedule, could result in inefficient planning and execution, limited oversight, and increased cost and performance risks: “(…) DOD is at risk of incurring schedule slips, decreased performance, and increased cost as it implements the phases of [the European PAA].”24 Members will want to keep close tabs on whether NATO’s missile defence programmes are meeting their scheduled milestones on time and within budget.  They will also, of course, want to examine where missile defence properly fits on the Alliance’s list of priorities, as well as on that of their own national defence programmes.



43.  The fundamental issue of the ultimate command and control arrangements for the missile defence system in Europe, including rules of engagement, were left unresolved by the Lisbon Summit and were no clearer at the time of writing.  As Simon Lunn recently wrote, these questions emanate “from the dualism of the system as a US and NATO system.  The division of responsibility between the US national and the NATO multinational command authority needs to be clarified, as do the roles of SACEUR and the North Atlantic Council (NAC), respectively.  In simple terms, who would have command responsibility and who would decide on an intercept?”25

44.  Furthermore, the timelines involved in missile defence are very short and could not possibly allow for the kinds of consultative mechanisms usually involved in NATO decision-making.26  Thus, authority for the launch of an interceptor will have to be delegated.  US officials meeting with the DSC Committee in January 2011 expressed confidence that although these were difficult issues to resolve, NATO has come to similarly difficult decisions and arrangements in the past and would once again prove up to the task.



45.  Proponents of missile defence at NATO have suggested that the missile defence system could have a positive impact on arms control as well as on efforts to combat the proliferation of ballistic missiles.  The argument is that, by making it more difficult for weapons to reach their targets, missile defence creates a disincentive for building missile weapons in the first place. Raising the bar for successful missile strikes increases costs and risks to those who would wish to acquire or use ballistic missile technology.

46.  Similarly, others argue that missile defence deployment could contribute to further reductions in nuclear arsenals, both for NATO itself (by reducing the emphasis on nuclear burden-sharing) and in relations with Russia, should a more co-operative relationship emerge through missile defence collaboration and help foster a climate conducive to further arms reductions. 

47.  The Defence and Security Committee received a presentation by William C. Potter suggesting options for further reduction in US and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles. His presentation entitled “Next Steps in US-Russian Nuclear Arms Control” (revised 5-24-11) on page 9 offered an alternative approach to actual reduction in nuclear weapons stockpile numbers that proposed either “negotiated agreements or voluntary declarations to restrict the deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons geographically.” Mindful of the ongoing Deterrence and Defence Posture Review, it is clear that the geographical relocation of non-strategic nuclear weapons does not constitute a reduction in nuclear arsenals and does not sufficiently reduce the threat to allow a fundamental change to NATO’s nuclear posture given the vast asymmetry between the nuclear forces of NATO and Russia in Europe.

48.  However, the development and deployment of missile defence technology could also lead to modernisation efforts by nations with ballistic missile programmes.  The more advanced interceptor planned for deployment in later phases of the PAA is theoretically to be able to intercept intercontinental missiles.  Large numbers of these more advanced interceptors, when coupled with the flexibility inherent in the current approach (components such as Aegis ships can be moved relatively quickly nearly anywhere), could cause serious concern for both China and Russia.  This could lead to more aggressive missile programmes: for example, China is thought to have increased its ICBM forces in response to the US missile defence programmes.27  Similarly, Russia’s SS-27 (Topol M) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, has built-in characteristics specifically designed to defeat future US anti-ballistic missile defences.  In addition, some arms control advocates fear that missile defence plans could embolden defence hawks in China and Russia who seek to halt any further nuclear arms negotiations.28



49.  The Lisbon Summit produced what was hailed as a watershed agreement-in-principle with the Russian Federation on co-operation in the area of missile defence. In the presence of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting agreed on a joint ballistic missile threat assessment and decided to resume theatre missile defence co-operation.   The NRC also decided to develop a comprehensive joint analysis of the future framework for broader missile defence co-operation, which was to be assessed at the June 2011 meeting of NRC Defence Ministers.

50.  Senior officials at the Lisbon Summit expressed their enthusiasm, with Secretary General Rasmussen announcing that Russia and NATO agreed in writing that they no longer pose a threat to one another and that "for the first time the two sides will be co-operating to defend themselves".  For his part, President Medvedev hailed the "constructive atmosphere" of the talks, adding: "[w]e have ambitious plans, we will work across all directions, including European missile defence."29

51.  There is no doubt that setting the NATO-Russia relationship on sounder footing, in part through potentially groundbreaking co-operation on something as sensitive and complicated as missile defence, could be greatly advantageous to both sides. 

52.  Beyond the political and strategic importance of deepened co-operation between NATO and Russia, officials also believe the anti-missile system’s effectiveness could benefit in very concrete ways from co-operation.  The United States has suggested that data from Russian radars could contribute significantly to European missile defence’s effectiveness against a missile launched from the Middle East.  This is especially true of sensors located North-West of Iran, such as the Gabala radar in Azerbaijan.30  Similarly, the United States could eventually provide Russia with useful early-warning information about incoming missile threats.31

53.  While the White House confirmed in May 2011 that the US and Russia have completed their Joint Report on Assessment of 21st Century Missile Challenges, launched in 2009 with exchanges between American and Russian security experts,32 the NRC has failed to agree on the joint analysis for missile defence co-operation which was to be assessed in June. Significant differences in visions for co-operation between NATO and Russia have not been bridged in June or at subsequent meetings.
54.  Still, leaders on both sides continue to express hope for a breakthrough and insist that Cold War mindsets are unacceptable. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said after the June meeting that he believes an agreement could be struck by the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago.33 Dmitry Medvedev was more pessimistic, telling reporters after a meeting with US President Barack Obama in May that missile defence would be solved in the future, perhaps in 2020, but that we now “might lay the foundation” for deals between future leaders.34



55.  Public statements by Russian leaders since the Lisbon Summit suggest that Russia continues to view the negotiations in stark terms and as a test for the ‘reset’ of relations with NATO: negotiations must be conducted swiftly and successfully, at the risk of Russia abandoning the New START agreement or new deployments of nuclear weapons if their concerns are not addressed sufficiently.

56.  Unfortunately, since Lisbon, public reporting on the extensive discussions on the parameters of missile defence collaboration between Russia and NATO has revealed what appear to be two fundamentally different visions for the eventual system.

57.  NATO and US officials have insisted that what should be considered is how two separate systems, each defending their own territory and populations, could best mutually reinforce each other.  NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has said that "[t]he vision of the alliance is for two independent but coordinated systems working back to back"35,  and that Russia cannot be a direct participant in the NATO system because “NATO cannot outsource to non-members collective defence obligations which bind its members.”36

58.  Russian officials, on the other hand, proposed a joint system in which Russia and the Alliance would each assume missile defence responsibility for a sector of Europe.37  Further, the development and planning for such a system would be conducted in a fully joint manner: “[t]he main condition for joint work (…) should be permanent participation of Russian experts in drafting the European missile defence architecture”, Russian General Staff Chief General Nikolai Makarov suggested in January 2011.38 This Russian proposal for a system based on geographic zones of responsibility was rejected by the Alliance, on the grounds that it would put the security of Alliance members under the responsibility of a third country outside the Alliance.39



59.  Moscow has also sought a formal, legally binding agreement with NATO that neither side would target the other’s offensive missiles with missile defence interceptors.  Indeed, Russian officials remain concerned that NATO’s defensive systems would endanger their own strategic nuclear force, undercutting its deterrent value, “which is the basis and guarantee of our sovereignty and independence”, Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, said in February 2011. 

60.  Among the principal Russian concerns have been the more advanced interceptor missiles that would be deployed to Europe around 2018 under the European Phased Adaptive Approach.  According to physicist Goetz Neuneck, deputy director of Hamburg University’s Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, “the next generation of SM-3 interceptors have an anti-intercontinental ballistic missile capability and that could affect Russia’s [nuclear] deterrent in the future.”.40  Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov argued for a speed limit on interceptors so that they could not intercept ICBMs, as well as a cap on the number of deployed missile interceptors – 100 or 200 or 300 rather than 1,000 - so that they could not threaten the strategic deterrent.41

61.  Moscow also questions the geopolitical positioning of ballistic missile defence components, arguing that threats can only come from “the South”. Officials specifically question the rationale for the eventual deployment of interceptor missiles in Poland, a location they contend is distant from the ballistic missile threat evoked by NATO officials. Russia has also objected to the prospect of U.S. antimissile components including Aegis ships and systems and an American security presence more generally in the Black Sea and Black Sea region.42

62.  Russia has also insisted that if NATO and Russia build separate systems, NATO’s system must not cover Russian territory. However, it is technically impossible for a system to cover all European NATO territory and no Russian territory, given that five member states share a border with Russia, including its Kaliningrad exclave.

63.  Russia received backing for its position on missile defence from its partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The group’s June 2011 statement proclaims “the unilateral and unlimited growth of missile defence systems by any state or a group of states can cause damage to strategic stability and international security.”43



64.  Although developments since the Lisbon Summit have not been encouraging, open dialogue on missile defence continues. NATO and Russia do have common interests in addressing the growing threat posed by missile proliferation. It remains unrealistic that NATO would have the technological or economic capability to produce a missile defence system which could neutralise Russia’s strategic arsenal, nor is Russia’s arsenal a concern worthy of that investment when, as Russia points out, the missile threat does not come from Moscow because Russia and NATO are not enemies. NATO and Russia have strong incentives to work for further breakthroughs in cooperation after the promising start achieved at Lisbon.

65.  A political agreement on cooperation appears to be the most likely solution, given that the possibility of imposing legal restrictions on NATO’s missile defences to satisfy Moscow’s concerns appears slim. Rasmussen has dismissed the idea of such restrictions, arguing that agreeing to a complex legal formula and gaining ratification in 29 countries would be very difficult. Such commitments would notably be strongly opposed by prominent Republican members of the US Senate who reject agreeing to any limitations on US missile defence plans.44 

66.  A number of areas of NATO-Russia co-operation remain on the table. In a 7 April newspaper commentary, former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suggested a number of possibilities – largely as a means of ensuring nuclear arms reductions continue.  The measures they propose include a manned data fusion centre that would integrate and assess data from their early warning radars and space sensors; increased joint missile defence training exercises; and in the longer term, developing preplanned protocols or instructions for the rapid response that would be required of NATO and Russian officers, should a missile interceptor launch become necessary.45



67.   NATO’s missile defence plans are an important part of a fundamental strategic discussion underway at NATO headquarters since the Lisbon Summit.  This process, the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review (DDPR), is likely to examine NATO’s nuclear and conventional postures as well as strategies to combat challenges such as terrorism and cyberattacks.46  Clearly, a functioning missile defence would represent a significant element of a NATO defensive posture, and may, according to its advocates, also serve a deterrent purpose against certain types of threat. 

68.  The distinguished head of the United States Delegation to the Assembly, Congressman Michael Turner, offered members of the Defence and Security Committee very useful points of reflection on the DDPR ahead of the Assembly’s Spring Session.  Congressman Turner suggested that the Committee and the Assembly as a whole more broadly consider the questions of what NATO must deter, how NATO’s nuclear deterrent can remain credible, and whether deterrence credibility is enhanced through the presence of non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe.

69.  The Rapporteur agrees that these issues are worthy of further consideration, and are closely linked with ongoing missile defence discussions.  The following paragraphs will, therefore, review some of the broader questions related to NATO’s post-Lisbon strategy and deterrence posture, especially regarding the defence of Europe.  This report will not, however, extensively cover the issue of renewed discussions on possible nuclear reductions, as these matters were addressed in detail in the 2010 report of this Sub-Committee.47 



70.   The 2010 Strategic Concept is a valuable guide to NATO’s mission, strategy and deterrent role, but it did not put to rest the debate about NATO’s raison d’être and responsibilities in the highly complex modern security environment. NATO’s counterterrorism and humanitarian efforts have given the Alliance complex, challenging and highly visible crisis management and cooperative security missions in Afghanistan and Libya, where differences of opinion and commitment between Allies have been apparent.

71.   Collective defence remains the central tenet of NATO membership, and a deterrence role remains for the Alliance, but with different perceptions of what the threats are and the best means to counter them among and within member states, NATO’s strategy is harder to define than it was 60 or 25 years ago. The value of NATO has been questioned more openly in the US and Europe in recent years. On the balance, it is clear that member states agree the Alliance retains strong value, but often for different reasons.

72.  As the Strategic Concept notes, “[t]oday, the Euro-Atlantic area is at peace and the threat of a conventional attack against NATO territory is low.” However, the security environment is complex with new threats often resulting from evolving technology and the weakness as much as strength of states. NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Jamie Shea, notes that the Strategic Concept shifts NATO’s defence and deterrence focus “in favour of the new security challenges and from the defence of borders and territory to the protection of populations”. As he writes, “[t]anks cannot stop a cyber attack, nuclear deterrence does not work against terrorists, and an operation such as ISAF in Afghanistan can weaken but not eliminate Al Qaeda as that terrorist network has already relocated to Pakistan, the Arab peninsula or the Horn of Africa.”48 If these new threats cannot be deterred, another doctrine combining strong defence, proactive prevention and resilience may be more appropriate for handling them.

73.   “Deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy”, member state leaders agreed in the Strategic Concept. However, there is no easy answer to the question of what or whom NATO must deter. “The Alliance does not consider any country to be its adversary”, the Strategic Concept states, “(…) however, no one should doubt NATO’s resolve if the security of any of its members were to be threatened.” This contrasts with NATO’s posture in the Cold War where the Soviet Union was the clear threat and indeed primary reason for the formation of the Alliance. The bipolar world of the Cold War allowed for “tailored deterrence” directed at a specific adversary; NATO today employs universal “to whom it may concern” deterrence49, similar to a legal code directed against anyone who might commit a crime.



74.  Conventional forces played a deterrent role long before the invention of nuclear technology, and they still do. In many countries, armies have been shrinking for decades, with conscription giving way to smaller, more easily deployable professional forces. Conventional force deployments in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals are limited by the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), although it does not apply in countries that are not state parties to the treaty, including NATO members Albania, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.50 The CFE Treaty has been a difficult point in relations between NATO and Russia – an adapted version in 1999 has never been ratified, due to several disagreements between NATO member states and Russia; Russia “suspended” implementation of the Treaty in December 2007.

75.  The Strategic Concept pledges that NATO will “develop and maintain robust, mobile and deployable conventional forces to carry out both our Article 5 responsibilities and the Alliance’s expeditionary operations, including with the NATO Response Force.”  The NATO Response Force (NRF), an initiative announced in 2002, is a multinational and technologically advanced force designed for crisis response, including in Article 5 situations. The 25,000-troop NRF, with an Immediate Response Force of 13,000 high-readiness troops including land, air, maritime, special forces, and a CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defence task force, is manned by member states in rotations, of 6 months thus far, and 12 months from 2012. The NRF has been deployed in protecting the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece, supporting elections in Afghanistan, and in disaster relief in the United States following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and in Pakistan following the October 2005 earthquake. However, high-priority ambitions for a globally deployable force have been reduced somewhat in the face of political realities – it has been difficult to convince countries to commit troops to the NRF and disagreements continue about the NRF’s basic mission –, whether it should be deployed in Afghanistan or other out-of-area operations or kept in reserve for territorial defence.

76.  NATO’s full conventional power is highly formidable. Including reserves, the US military alone numbers more than 2.4 million troops, while the rest of NATO combined also has more than 2 million troops in uniform. Turkey has more than 500,000 active duty troops, and 11 further NATO Allies can field militaries of 100,000 or more. NATO’s conventional forces have also been sharpened through combat zone deployments in Afghanistan and elsewhere in recent years. However, as outgoing US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned in a June 2011 speech in Brussels, defence budget cuts in Europe are undercutting NATO’s conventional power. Combined with US attention to challenges elsewhere in the world, this may unfortunately mean that NATO’s reliance on nuclear deterrence is actually increasing. Indeed, the financial crisis may slow progress towards to the goal of a nuclear ‘global zero’. Meanwhile, Russian perceptions of NATO’s conventional superiority have arguably also increased Russia’s reliance on its own tactical nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

77.  Nuclear weapons also remain a key part of the Alliance’s deterrence posture, with American, British and French possession of weapons sanctioned by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the same time, the Global Zero campaign has also caught the imagination of leaders and citizens across the member states. The Strategic Concept commits NATO to “the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons” but confirms that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance”. Given that weapons are ageing, this will mean modernising and renewing the Alliance’s nuclear infrastructure.

78.  The 2010 report of this Sub-Committee examined the future of US non-strategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs) in Europe. Currently it is believed that roughly 150 to 200 of these weapons are deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. While there is wide consensus that the weapons do not have clear military value, they symbolise America’s commitment to the defence of Europe, and many do not believe they should be unilaterally withdrawn but rather used as a bargaining chip in further disarmament talks with Russia, which retains thousands of NSNWs West of the Urals. Our report concluded that compelling arguments exist for both retaining American NSNWs in Europe and for removing them as a step on the path to a world without nuclear weapons, that we should continue to discuss the military and political role of such weapons among NATO Allies, and that greater transparency regarding the location of such weapons would be positive.

79.  While the DDPR is just getting underway, one of the most concrete related proposals from this year has been a non-paper submitted by Poland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands at a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in April.51 Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg and Slovenia supported the non-paper’s proposals as well. The 10 member states call for increasing transparency between NATO and Russia regarding NSNWs, leading to greater mutual understanding and trust, given that the lack of transparency is a source of insecurity. This confidence building could then pave way for “concrete reductions” which “should not be pursued unilaterally or be allowed to weaken the transatlantic link”. Reductions in NATO’s NSNWs through an arms control process would be based on reciprocity with Russia and subject to consultations within the Alliance. Steps in transparency would first include numbers, then locations, operational status, command arrangements and storage security. The non-paper backs the NATO-Russia Council as the primary framework for the effort and proposes holding a seminar on nuclear doctrines, focused on NSNWs, in Poland in early 2012. The backing of more than one-third of NATO member states, including older and newer European members and three nuclear host countries, gives the non-paper significant political weight, while its conclusion aligns with those of this Sub-Committee in its 2010 report.



80.   Some within the Alliance – the Rapporteur included – believe the missile defence programme could allow for a gradual de-emphasis of NATO’s reliance on nuclear deterrence, in particular on the deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe and the nuclear sharing agreements currently in place.  Advocates of this view argue that missile defence could become the primary signal of the US commitment to European defence (in part through the deployment of missile defence infrastructure into European territory) and provide Allies with new opportunities for participation in a strategic programme (including through the acquisition and deployment by European NATO member states of missile defence assets such as Aegis ships), ultimately substituting for US non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe by the time difficult decisions on funding for nuclear modernisation arrive.52

81.  Other observers within the Alliance firmly reject the idea that missile defences might devalue the contributions of nuclear deterrence, and see the new defensive programmes as a complement to existing capabilities rather than a substitute. One particularly vocal Ally in this camp has been France, whose officials have underscored the continued relevance of nuclear assets in an uncertain world.53 To be clear, the official French position is to support missile defences (as a member of President Sarkozy’s entourage recently told Le Monde: “[n]ot only are we not against it, we’re actually ready to contribute whether in cash or in equipment […] our technology and capacities in this field are not negligible”); but as a complement rather than a substitute to nuclear deterrence.54

82.   US officials have told the Committee that the outcomes of the Lisbon Summit reflected the US view that missile defence capabilities are complementary with nuclear deterrence. A senior European NATO official also stressed to NATO PA members in February 2011 that NATO had no intention of relying exclusively on this defensive capability; rather, missile defence was seen by the Alliance as an integral part of its overall defence posture, which would include an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities.



83.   NATO’s conventional strength, nuclear deterrent and growing missile defence capability are important sources of security for the people of member states and other countries, but they cannot apply to all threats. To consider and plan for challenges such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation, cyber attacks, and energy security, NATO formed the Emerging Security Challenges Division in August 2010. The Deterrence and Defence Posture Review is likely to consider these challenges and threats as well.

84.  As detailed in the 2009 report of this Sub-Committee, cyberspace is one new defence arena.55  The danger of cyber attacks has been highlighted by the 2007 attacks on Estonia and the role of cyber in the Russian-Georgian War. NATO’s own systems come under frequent cyber attack. Cyber defence has thus become an increasingly important priority for NATO in the last several years. Tallinn hosts a Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.  NATO Defence Ministers approved a revised cyber defence policy in June 2011, offering a co-ordinated approach focused on preventing attacks and building resilience. NATO structures will be brought under centralized protection. Cyber defence will be integrated into NATO defence planning. The policy clarifies political and operational mechanisms for response, lays out how NATO can assist Allies under attack, and sets principles for co-operation on cyber defence with partner countries and other organisations.

85.  Terrorism has also emerged more significantly as a threat to NATO member states since the previous Strategic Concept of 1999, with notable, high-casualty attacks including the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, the truck bomb attacks of November 2003 in Istanbul, the 11 March 2004 train bombings in Madrid, the 7 July 2005 suicide bombings in London, and the bombing and mass shootings in Norway on 22 July 2011. The Strategic Concept declares that NATO will “enhance the capacity to detect and defend against international terrorism, including through enhanced analysis of the threat, more consultations with our partners, and the development of appropriate military capabilities, including to help train local forces to fight terrorism themselves.”

86.  Energy security is another recent focus at NATO. Operation Active E, n, deavour maintains security for important resource routes in the Mediterranean.56 The Strategic Concept vows that NATO will “develop the capacity to contribute to energy security, including protection of critical energy infrastructure and transit areas and lines, co-operation with partners, and consultations among Allies on the basis of strategic assessments and contingency planning.” An Energy Security Centre opened in Vilnius in January 2011.

87.   Weapons of mass destruction are a particularly frightening threat to the security of member states. The Strategic Concept underlines their danger. NATO supports an active political agenda of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. NATO defences against WMD include deterrence, missile defence, political and economic tools, and crisis response capability.

88.  NATO may not be able to deter or defend against all types of threats to its member states – economic security and disease control, for instance, are fields better handled by others. However, NATO can and should contribute where it can add value through collaborative efforts between Allies.



89.  NATO’s missile defence plans were settled on a political level at the Lisbon Summit, and numerous officials have told this Committee that they are optimistic that the hurdles to implementation – technical, financial, or other – will eventually be surmounted.  However, the complexity of the endeavour suggests that achieving a functioning territorial NATO missile defence will be anything but easy.

90.  In any case, the realisation of a genuine collaborative missile defence effort between Russia and NATO appears to be even more difficult than the technical hurdles facing the NATO system. 

91.  The United States should be commended for integrating its missile defence plans into NATO structures, and European NATO members should contribute accordingly, by funding capabilities needed to complement the substantial US contribution embodied by the Phased Adaptive Approach. 

92.  The Rapporteur believes that the NATO missile defence programme is a worthwhile addition to NATO’s defensive capabilities on its own merits. The decision by Allies to make territorial defence a core NATO objective was the right one, and offers not only the potential for significant defensive capabilities against an increasing threat, but also a reinforced link between the United States and European Allies as well as potentially fruitful defence industrial projects. The Rapporteur also believes that joint missile defences could lead to further arms control measures by NATO member states, by lessening Allies’ reliance on nuclear weapons for deterrence and cohesion. 

93.  In discussions with Russia on the scope for collaboration, NATO cohesion and solidarity should remain the priority over the useful but ultimately not essential Russian participation in the missile defence system.  Even so, the Rapporteur believes much is to be gained from Russian cooperation, even if NATO’s defensive plans will ultimately go forward without it, if necessary.  Tying Russia into missile defence co-operation could create trust and help move towards further bilateral measures on nuclear weapons, such as increased transparency regarding NSNWs in Europe, and eventually, reductions in such systems.  While it is not certain that progress on missile defence co-operation with Russia would guarantee successful movement on nuclear arms control, the Rapporteur is certain that the absence of such co-operation would be sure to prevent further steps towards disarmament for the foreseeable future.

94.  Parliaments will have an important role in monitoring these developments. While negotiations on the implementation of the Lisbon Summit decisions on issues such as the missile defence system’s cost, command and control, and architecture are primarily the responsibility of executive branches, members of the NATO PA will want to closely monitor the progress of these talks as well as the maturation of the technology.  A fully capable territorial missile defence is still a decade away at best, but members of parliament have an important oversight role to play in ensuring that this is achieved at a cost and in accordance with a timeline that fits the Alliance’s needs.  Given the discussions in most NATO capitals on defence budget cuts, the issue of prioritisation takes on a special importance; understanding the value and prospects of a NATO missile defence is especially critical under these circumstances.

95.  The ongoing NATO Deterrence and Defence Posture Review should also provide a useful contribution to better defining how missile defence fits into the Alliance’s overall strategy.  Members of the Assembly will want to closely follow this important process, in order to help define its progress, and eventually communicate its conclusions to their publics, given the significant relevance the Review’s conclusions are likely to have on the future of the Alliance. 



Active Layer Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD): Launched in September 2005 after the completion of a seven year feasibility study in which eight NATO nations and various NATO projects co-operatively participated, this programme aims to create a command and control network that would co-ordinate national missile defence capabilities with the aim of providing coverage against the threat posed by short-range ballistic missiles to deployed NATO troops.  At the Lisbon Summit, Allies decided to expand the Alliance’s capabilities to serve as the command and control backbone of a missile defence for the entire European NATO territory and population.

Aegis Weapons System: An integrated naval weapons command and control system which combines radar, missile, and computer tracking and guiding capabilities.  The Aegis system is a central element of the US PAA to European missile defence. 

Ballistic missile: Powered by rocket thrusters, this missile follows a hyperbolic flight-path, escapes the Earth’s gravity, and reaches its target by “falling” onto it with an angle determined by gravitational forces:

* ICBM: Inter-continental Ballistic Missile;

* Boost phase: The phase following the launch of a ballistic missile, during which fuel is burnt to lift the missile against the force of gravity. This phase lasts between three and five minutes;

* Midcourse phase: The highest point of a ballistic missile’s flight pattern, which can occur in the zero-gravity upper atmosphere. This phase can last as long as 20 minutes, in the case of ICBMs;

* Terminal phase: The descent phase of a ballistic missile’s flight pattern. Gravity is providing the acceleration of the missile. This phase can be as short as 30 seconds.

Cruise missile: Powered by jet propulsion, this missile can fly low to avoid detection and evade defence systems. With a range of up to 3,000km, it can deliver either conventional or nuclear warheads. This missile remains in the atmosphere throughout its entire delivery and is powered until it reaches its destination.

Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS): A NATO-managed, United States, Germany, Italy joint missile defence development project, established in 2004-2005. The United States and Germany have recently pulled out of the procurement phase due to cost, performance, and delay setbacks. The partners plan to fund MEADS through its development phase to avoid contract termination costs. Meant to replace the Patriot and Nike-Hercules systems, MEADS was a mobile unit which integrated PAC-3 missiles with surveillance systems. It did not carry an explosive warhead and was designed to intercept a target in its terminal phase.

NATO-Russia Council (NRC): Formed in 2002, this forum was created for the two partners to generate joint security projects. The body has led to co-operation on terrorism, the drug trade, non-proliferation, and transport of non-military freight for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. It is currently heavily involved in finding ways forward on co-operation in ballistic missile defence.

Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA): A ballistic missile shield programme for the territorial defence of Europe proposed by the Obama Administration in 2009. Its main features are to shift from silobased mid-course interception missiles in Poland (under the Bush Administration plan), to a seabased system capable of intercepting short- to mid-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East towards Europe. Under this plan, land-based SM-3 interceptors and an X-Band Radar will be deployed to European soil in the next decade. At the Lisbon Summit, Allies agreed that the PAA would be integrated into NATO plans (ALTBMD) and would be seen as the US contribution to NATO’s territorial missile defence.

SM-3 Missile: US Navy sea-launched missile designed to intercept airplanes, ships, cruise and ballistic missiles. Manufactured by a consortium led by Raytheon at a cost of approximately US$9.5 million per unit. The next generation of SM-3 will likely be capable of intercepting ICBMs as well as shorter-range threats.

Terminal (fmr: Theatre) High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD): A US Army hit-to-kill missile defence system, which targets incoming missiles in their terminal phase by striking them directly; it carries no explosive warhead.

X-Band Radar:  A high-powered radar, which can be either sea- or land-based. By using shorter wavelengths on the electro-magnetic spectrum, X-Band offers higher resolution imagery for target identification and discrimination than traditional radars.


1  “US Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe: A Fundamental NATO Debate”, 212 DSCFC 10 E Rev.,
2   The five currently participating nations are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.
3   “NATO missile defences pass first field test”, NATO Press Release, 22-24 August 2011
4   Collina, Tom, NATO Set to Back Expanded Missile Defense, Arms Control Today, November 2010
5   As outlined in “A ‘Phased, Adaptive Approach’ for Missile Defense in Europe”, Fact Sheet on US Missile Defense Policy, The White House, 17 September 2009
6  Tauscher, Ellen. Remarks at 9th annual US Missile Defense Agency Conference on 21 March 2011,

7   Bell, Robert G., Defence Advisor to NATO, "The Why, What, and How of Missile Defense at NATO", Defense Advisor to NATO, AIAA MD (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astreonautics Missile Defense) Conference, 21 March 2011
8   The future of the MEADS programme is in doubt with the Pentagon planning on early termination due to cost overruns, see paragraph 39
9   Frühling, S. and Sinjen, S. “Missile Defense: Challenges and Opportunities for NATO”, NATO Defence College Research Paper, July 2010, p. 6
10   United States Government Accountability Office, “Ballistic Missile Defense:  DOD Needs to Address Planning and Implementation Challenges for Future Capabilities in Europe”, January 2011, p. 48
11   Obama, Barack, Press Conference of 17 September 2009, “The best way to responsibly advance our security and the security of our allies is to deploy a missile defense system that best responds to the threats that we face and that utilizes technology that is both proven and cost-effective.”
12   According to the US Missile Defense Agency, in the years 2006-2011 the success rates for various MD systems tests were as follows: 10 of 11 for Aegis BMD; 7 of 7 for THAAD; 4 of 5 for Patriot; and 3 of 5 for Ground-based mid-course defence.  A one-time mission to destroy a defunct satellite in decaying orbit was also successful. The delegation was also told computerised testing had advanced considerably and was providing useful results.
13   Wright, D. and Gronlund, L. “Technical flaws in the Obama missile defense plan”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 23 September 2009 ; Sauer, T. “Another Maginot Line: NATO's Missile Defense”, Europe’s World, 26 July 2010
14   Rasmussen, Anders Fogh, “NATO needs a Missile Defence”, The New York Times, 12 October 2010
15   Daalder, Ivo. “The Case for NATO Missile Defense” The New York Times, 15 November 2010
16   Tomas Valasek quoted by Hale, Julian. “At NATO, Doubts on Missile Shield’s Price Tag”, Defence News, November 29, 2010
17   A 11 February 2011 statement from the Pentagon underlined that “the U.S. cannot afford to purchase MEADS and make required upgrades to Patriot concurrently over the next two decades.”,
18   “Beyond Patriot? The Multinational MEADS Air Defense Programme”, Defense Industry Daily, 23 March 2011
19   “Lockheed Still Working on MEADS Despite Lack of U.S. Interest”, Global Security Newswire, 22 August 2011.
20   “Germany Opposes U.S. Shutdown of MEADS Program”, Global Security Newswire, 19 July 2011
21   Hodges, Jim. “Saving Europe: NATO weighs expanding theater missile defenses to homelands”, C4ISR Journal, 1 August 2010
22   Hale, Julian. “At NATO, Doubts on missile shield’s price tag”, Defence News, November 29, 2010.
23   Valasek, Tomas. “What cuts in US defence budget will mean for the transatlantic alliance”, Centre for European Reform, 15 March 2011
24   “Ballistic Missile Defense: DOD Needs to Address Planning and Implementation Challenges for Future Capabilities in Europe”, United States Government Accountability Office, January 2011
25   Lunn, Simon. “NATO and Territorial Missile Defense”, Atlantic Council SAG Issue Brief, 18 November 2010 
26   The maximum time to engage an incoming missile, in the case of an ICBM, is under a half-hour. Shorter range missiles have shorter flight times. In order to hit a missile in its early 'boost' phase, where there is a maximum window of opportunity of 250 seconds (for ICBMs), the decision to engage must be almost immediate to allow the interceptor to catch up. Striking in the boost phase is ideal because it precludes countermeasures, while also allowing both a wider window of opportunity to attempt other, later interceptions, in case of failure, while also keeping potentially dangerous debris on enemy soil, and
27   Perry, William J., Chairman, Schlesinger, James R., Vice-Chairman, “America’s Strategic Posture: The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States”, May 2009, p. 33
28   Wright, D. and Gronlund, L. “Technical flaws in the Obama missile defense plan”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 23 September 2009.
29   “Russia to work with NATO on Missile Defence Shield,” BBC News, 20 November 2010
30   Collina, Tom Z. “Russia Makes New Proposal on Missile Defense”, Arms Control Today, April 2011; “National Russian efforts in missile defence are proceeding, including the construction of radars in Kaliningrad region and near Irkutsk”,  Interfax, 27 January 2011
31   “US Could Provide Russia Early Missile Threat Info”, Global Security Newswire, 4 March 2011
32   “Fact Sheet: U.S.-Russia Agreements and Joint Statements”, The White House, 26 May 2011
33   “Russia-NATO Meeting Fails to Bridge Missile Defense Divide”, Global Security Newswire, 9 June 2011
34   Collina, Tom Z. “Missile Defense Cooperation Stalls”, Arms Control Today, July/August 2011
35   Thomet, Laurent. “NATO, Russia vow unity on terrorism, disagree on shield”, Agence France-Presse 26 January 2011
36   Levy, Stephen. “NATO rejects Russian missile-defense proposal”, Washington Times, 7 June 2011
37   “Russia, US Still Disagree on Missile Shield, Envoy Says”, Global Security Newswire, 18 February 2011
38   “Russia, NATO Remain at Odds Over Missile Shield”, Global Security Newswire, 27 January 2011
39   “Russian Plan Off the Table in Missile Defense Talks”, Global Security Newswire, 18 July 2011
40   Hale, Julian. “Russia Airs Concerns About NATO MD”, Defense News, April 4, 2011, quoting Goetz Neuneck, Deputy Director of Hamburg University’s Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy
41   Collina, Tom Z. “Missile Defense Cooperation Stalls”, Arms Control Today, July/August 2011
42   “Russia Sees Little Movement In Missile Shield Dispute”, Global Security Newswire, July 29, 2011
43   Collina, Tom Z. “Missile Defense Cooperation Stalls”, Arms Control Today, July/August 2011
44   Collina, Tom Z. “Russia Makes New Proposal on Missile Defense”, Arms Control Today, April 2011
45   Albright, Madeleine and Ivanov, Igor. “Moving ahead on reducing nuclear arms”, The International Herald Tribune, 7 April 2011
46   The end product that the DDPR aims to achieve remains ill-defined. Initial reports indicated that a draft report might be prepared for adoption at the spring 2012 NATO Summit in the United States.  It is too early to prejudge the conclusions of the review, which is still at an early stage; the scope and permanence of the review also remain unclear.  Meier, Oliver. “NATO Posture Review Takes Shape”, Arms Control Today, March 2011
47   US Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe: A Fundamental NATO Debate, 212 DSCFC 10 E Rev. 1
48   Shea, Jamie. “NATO’s new Strategic Concept: moving from Theory to Practice,” European Perspectives, April 2011
49   Yost, David S. “Adapting NATO’s Deterrence Posture: The Alliance’s New Strategic Concept and Implications for Nuclear Policy, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament: A Report on a Workshop in Tallinn, 4-6 May 2011”, NATO Defense College, June 2011
50   “The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty At A Glance”, Arms Control Association,
51   Kristensen, Hans. “10 NATO Countries Want More Transparency for Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons”, FAS Strategic Security Blog, 24 April 2011.
52   Thraenert, Oliver. “NATO, Missile Defence and Extended Deterrence”, Survival, 24 November 2009, p. 72; Young, Thomas. “Missile Defense: The future of NATO burden sharing?”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1 May 2010; Flockhart, Trine. “Hello Missile Defence – Goodbye Nuclear Sharing?”, Danish Institute for International Studies Policy Brief, November 2010
53   Gruselle, Bruno. “Missile Defense in NATO: A French Perspective”, Atlantic Council of the United States, November 2010
54  “La France favorable au projet de bouclier antimissile”,, 16 October 2010
55   “NATO and Cyber Defence”, Sverre Myrli (Norway) - Rapporteur, [173 DSCFC 09 E bis],
56   “NATO’s Role in Energy Security”,

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