NATO Agrees to Work with U.S. on Missile Defense Shield

Article excerpt

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has decided to collaborate with the United States on a missile defense program. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson recently told defense reporters that meetings with the administration have indicated there is a high level of interest in working with NATO to develop a missile defense program. Robertson said the allies see the need to develop missile-defense capabilities for security purposes. "Missile defense is the cornerstone of American and transatlantic security, and we will have no credibility without security," he said.

Because the Russians "have placed a high priority on the safety of their nuclear systems," the possible nuclear threat to Europe from Russia is becoming more real, Robertson said.

Though the Bush administration has been in office only a few months, talks have already begun internally on the possibility of the allies contributing funds and being active participants in a NATO missile defense program, which indicates a sea-change in U.S. diplomatic and security policy. The current U.S. national missile defense project, managed by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, previously the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, began under President Reagan in the 1980s. …