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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Missile Defense and Regional Security

Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Remarks At the First Annual Israel Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference
Tel Aviv, Israel
May 5, 2010



Thank you for your kind introduction. It’s great to be back here in Israel. I am very pleased and honored to be here on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher. This conference serves to highlight the key challenges from the proliferation of ballistic missiles, particularly short-range and medium-range threats, and the importance of missile defense in responding to those challenges. Indeed, these threats affect the entire international community, and Israel faces some of the most severe of them.

In my remarks today, I’d like to accomplish three things. First, I’d like to explain the United States’ new approach to missile defense. Second, I’ll share why the new U.S. approach to missile defense outlined in the recently released Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) is important for Israel, and why we believe that improvements in the U.S. missile defense posture will benefit both regional stability and Israel's security. And third, I’ll explain why the Obama Administration supports missile defense cooperation with Israel.


Let me begin by saying that missile defense cooperation between the United States and Israel has been going on for a long time and is built on a solid foundation. Israel was one of the first U.S. partners in missile defense when we initiated the joint Arrow program over two decades ago.

Missile defense plays an important role in the broader U.S. international security strategy. Missile defense supports diplomacy and defense, two of the three pillars of our international security strategy (the third pillar being development). Missile defense assures our allies and partners that the United States has the will and the means to deter and, if necessary, defeat a ballistic missile attack against our allies and our forward deployed troops and assets. Missile defense also provides U.S. and allied forces with freedom of maneuver by helping to negate the ability of regional actors to inhibit or disrupt U.S. military access and operations in the region.

Less obvious, perhaps, is the role of missile defense in supporting our diplomatic objectives. Our potential adversaries use ballistic missiles in peacetime as tools to support their diplomatic objectives, and sometimes to intimidate or coerce their regional neighbors. By offering missile defense as a means of regional protection, we enhance the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence commitments for our allies and friends. This, in turn, enables us to build coalitions for accomplishing shared objectives. For example, our friends and allies are therefore free to respond diplomatically to these threats because they have confidence that an effective missile defense strategy is in place.

The presence of missile defense also provides more options for the peaceful resolution of disputes, thereby enhancing regional stability and extended deterrence. Finally, missile defense also provides us the ability and time to pursue diplomatic solutions to crises that we do not want to allow to escalate.

With that as background, let me next discuss the new U.S. approach to missile defense and how it was developed. This new U.S. approach was largely driven by two factors: growth in the regional ballistic missile threat, and new technology opportunities offered by increasingly capable missile defense systems.

The overwhelming ballistic missile threat to deployed U.S. forces and our friends and allies around the world comes from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Current global trends indicate that ballistic missile systems are becoming more flexible, mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate, while also increasing in range. A number of states are working to increase the protection of their ballistic missiles from pre-launch attack and to increase their effectiveness in penetrating missile defenses. Several states are also developing missiles suitable for delivering nuclear, chemical, and/or biological payloads.

States like Iran and North Korea also continue to pursue technologies to support long-range missile development, such as space launch vehicles, but there remains uncertainty about when a missile threat to the U.S. homeland will mature. As a result of these two key factors, the United States has rebalanced the missile defense program to focus greater attention on countering the current threat to U.S. forces, Allies, and partners while maintaining our ability to defend the homeland.

This rebalancing of the missile defense program began in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. In that budget, funding for regional missile defense systems, such as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems, was increased by almost $1 billion. This trend toward increased funding for regional missile defense systems has continued in the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The Administration also made a number of other adjustments to the program, including capping the number of long-range interceptors based in Alaska and California at 30. In the FY11 budget, the United States is maintaining and improving our effective capability against long-range threats to the United States by continuing to invest and ensure that the system is well-tested and operationally effective.

This approach was crystallized in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, or BMDR, which was submitted to Congress in February of this year. The BMDR comprehensively considered U.S. ballistic missile defense policy, strategy, plans, and programs. The BMDR endorses aligning the missile defense posture with the near-term regional threat while sustaining and technically enhancing our ability to defend the U.S. homeland against a limited long-range attack.

The BMDR established certain policy priorities based on Presidential guidance. They are:

  1. The United States will continue to defend the homeland against the threat of limited ballistic missile attack.
  2. The United States will defend against regional missile threats to U.S. forces, while protecting our allies and partners and enabling them to defend themselves.
  3. Before new capabilities are deployed, they must undergo testing that enables assessment under realistic operational conditions.
  4. The commitment to new capabilities must be fiscally sustainable over the long term.
  5. U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities must be flexible enough to adapt as threats change.
  6. The United States will lead expanded international efforts for missile defense.

Let me expand on this last priority, international cooperation on missile defense.

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, deterrence is enhanced. It is clear that regional differences in geography, history, and relationships influence the scope and focus of missile defense cooperation activities. The BMDR acknowledged the unique deterrence and defense requirements for each region. It recommended pursuing region-by-region approaches based on the following three principles:

  • First, the United States will strengthen regional deterrence architectures by building them on a solid foundation of strong cooperative relationships and appropriate burden sharing with our allies.

  • Second, the United States will pursue a Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) within each region 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. By “phased” and “adaptive” we mean implementing the best available technology to meet existing and evolving threats. If the threat evolves differently or in an unforeseen manner, we can review and adapt the architecture as necessary. As more capable interceptor technology is tested, proven, and available, we will phase that technology in to counter the increasing range and complexity of missile threats that we, our allies, and partners face.

  • Third, as demand for missile defense assets within each region is expected to exceed supply, the United States will develop capabilities that are mobile and can be relocated in times of crisis. This should help deter would-be adversaries in all regions from thinking they can gain some long-term advantage.


The United States is working bilaterally and multilaterally with our allies and friends throughout the world to develop and deploy missile defense. I’d like to give you a brief rundown of our efforts. In Europe, the Administration is committed to implementing the PAA within a NATO context. The PAA provides greater capability for defending our allies and deployed U.S. troops sooner from the growing threat posed by short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. It can also incorporate new technologies quickly to adapt as the threat emerges and our technologies continue to mature. The new approach will be deployed in four phases, from 2011 to about 2020, to respond as ballistic missile threats develop. The European PAA (EPAA) is representative of how we plan to apply in practice the policy priorities that I described earlier. Poland and Romania have agreed to participate in the EPAA, and NATO Allies have welcomed EPAA as playing an important role for the Alliance as part of a broader response to counter ballistic missile threats.

Also in Europe, we have collaborated with the United Kingdom and Denmark to upgrade the Fylingdales and Thule early warning radars, and are continuing the co-development of the Medium Extended Air Defense System with our partners, Germany and Italy.

In East Asia, the United States is taking a bilateral approach to missile defense cooperation with our friends and allies. We have made considerable strides in BMD cooperation and interoperability with Japan. Japan has acquired a layered integrated missile defense system that includes Aegis BMD ships, PAC-3 fire units, early warning radars, and a command and control system. One of our most significant cooperative efforts is the co-development of a next-generation SM-3 interceptor, called the Block IIA. We also worked cooperatively to deploy a forward-based X-band radar in Japan.

In the Middle East, in addition to our missile defense cooperation with Israel (which you will hear more about shortly), we are working with our partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Furthermore, as we have made clear numerous times, we also seek to cooperate with Russia. As Secretary Clinton said in January, the United States and Russia face similar threats from the proliferation of ballistic missiles, and so the United States would welcome the opportunity to cooperate with Russia on missile defense. I would also note the U.S. missile defense capabilities are not directed at Russia and represent no threat to Russia’s strategic deterrent.


Of immediate interest to this audience is U.S. missile defense cooperation with Israel, which is central to our efforts to defend against ballistic missile threats emanating from the Middle East. Let me start off by discussing the threat, starting with Iran.

  • Iran has developed and acquired ballistic missiles capable of striking deployed forces, allies, and partners in the Middle East and Southern Europe. It is fielding increased numbers of mobile regional ballistic missiles and claims to have incorporated anti-missile-defense tactics and capabilities into its ballistic missile forces. Iran has also flight-tested a solid-propellant medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a claimed range of 2,000 km. It is likely working to improve the accuracy of its short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs).

  • Syria possesses hundreds of mobile SCUD-class and short-range ballistic missiles. These weapons are capable of reaching much of Israel and other states in the region. We are very concerned by reports that Syria has transferred SCUD missiles to Lebanese Hizballah. All states have an obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to prevent the importation of any weapons into Lebanon except as authorized by the Lebanese Government.

  • 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.

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: In addition to conducting the Biannual Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise with Israel in November 2009, the U.S. and Israel continue to meet regularly and coordinate extensively on a wide range of missile defense issues.

  • Arrow Weapons System: The Arrow System provides Israel with an indigenous capability to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The United States and Israel are co-producing the Arrow-2 missile defense system and engaged in additional BMD research and development activities. We are also working closely together on an improved version of the Arrow missile – the Arrow-3 – that will allow the system to engage threat missiles at greater ranges.

  • X-band Radar: In September 2008, the United States and Israel worked together closely to deploy an X-band radar to Israel intended to enhance Israel’s defense.

  • 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.

All of these activities provide numerous benefits to Israeli security. They are built on a strong foundation of partnership that enables Israel and the United States to meet emerging security challenges, to focus on real threats, and to rely on proven system and technical solutions to those threats. Regional deterrence will be improved as missile-armed adversaries will find it difficult to threaten and coerce their neighbors in the Middle East and beyond.

However, the growing proliferation of missile threats, especially those with ranges of less than 1,000 kilometers, mean that regional demand for U.S. BMD assets is likely to exceed supply for some years to come. This places a premium on developing flexible, adaptable, and relocatable defense capabilities and in encouraging the development of missile defense capabilities by our regional partners.

This is why our collaborative missile defense efforts are so important. Together we can work to protect what we value and what our adversaries will seek to put at risk, both now and in the future. The combination of U.S-Israeli cooperation on BMD research and development, deployment of proven technologies and weapon systems such as the Arrow, and plans and operational experience through joint exercises and training, will go far in enhancing Israeli security and our mutual interests.


Let me conclude with a few thoughts.

First, missile defenses offer numerous advantages, including the opportunity to enhance the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence commitments for our allies and friends. Missile defenses also provide more options for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Second, the new U.S. approach to missile defense outlined in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review is beneficial for Israel as well as our other regional allies, and builds on the strong foundation of U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation.

Finally, the United States remains committed to working closely with our friends, allies, and partners around the world, including Israel, to defend against the mutual threats we face, and we believe that our new approach allows us to more effectively accomplish this goal.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I look forward to your questions.

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