Missile Defense Report Aims for Trust

By Collina, Tom Z. | Arms Control Today, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Missile Defense Report Aims for Trust


Collina, Tom Z., Arms Control Today


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

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

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

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

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

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