Thank you for that kind introduction. It’s great to be back in Germany and I am particularly honored to address the 3AF Missile Defense Conference again this year.
In my remarks this morning, I would like to discuss three key issues:
The U.S. Missile Defense Budget
It is no secret that governments around the world, including the United States, are working very hard to do more with less. This, of course, includes our investments in our national security. Despite these challenges, you will see—and the proof is in the numbers—that the United States is continuing to ensure that our missile defense priorities are funded, on track and on budget.
In March of this year, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2015 budget submission that aligns defense program priorities and resources with the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). I would like to highlight for you a few of the missile defense aspects of the President’s request.
Overall, the budget request provides $8.5 billion for our missile defense programs, including $7.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency. With regard to U.S. homeland defense, the budget request provides funding to increase the number of long-range missile defense interceptors deployed in Alaska and California from 30 to 44 by 2017. The request also funds a number of other programs to enhance the long-range BMD system such as a new kill vehicle and a new long-range discrimination radar. With regard to regional missile defense, the budget continues to provide adequate funding to complete work on the missile defense base at Devesulu, Romania and provides additional funding of $225.7 million for the missile defense base at Slupsk in Poland. The request also includes $435.4 million for the procurement of SM-3 Block IB interceptors and $263.9 for continued development of the longer-range SM-3 Block IIA interceptor.
As you can see from these numbers, the United States continues to devote significant resources to our missile defense programs. These programs are an important part of ensuring the national security of the United States, as well as our allies and partners. With regard to the EPAA, this budget request clearly signals the importance the U.S. places on the program. We believe that the resources we are allocating to our missile defense programs demonstrate our commitment to establish ever more capable missile defenses, both in Europe and other regions, to address growing ballistic missile threats. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel noted in March 2013, the U.S. commitment to NATO missile defense and to the sites in Romania and Poland remains “ironclad.”
European Phased Adaptive Approach
Moving on, I would like to take a few moments to discuss the implementation of the President’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense. In 2009, when the President announced the EPAA, he noted that the EPAA will “provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America's Allies,” while relying on “capabilities that are proven and cost-effective.” And since then, we have been working hard to implement his vision—and we have made great progress in doing so. Earlier this month, President Obama noted in Poland that we are “on track” with the EPAA.
Phase 1 of the EPAA gained its first operational elements in 2011 with the start of a sustained deployment of an Aegis BMD-capable multi-role ship to the Mediterranean and the deployment of an AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey. With the declaration of Interim BMD Capability at the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, this radar transitioned to NATO operational control. As part of Phase 1, Spain agreed in 2011 to host four U.S. Aegis BMD-capable ships at the existing naval facility at Rota as a Spanish contribution to NATO missile defense, demonstrating its commitment to NATO’s collective defense. In February 2014, the first of four of these ships, USS Donald Cook, arrived in Rota. The next ship, USS Ross, is on its way now. The remaining two will deploy to Rota next year. In addition to their roles in NATO BMD, these ships will conduct maritime security operations, humanitarian missions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral training exercises, and they will support U.S. and NATO operations. By stationing these naval assets in Spain, we are placing them in a position to maximize their operational flexibility for missions in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
With regard to Phase 2, we have an agreement in force with Romania to host a U.S. Aegis Ashore site beginning in 2015. Last October, I had the honor of attending the ground-breaking ceremony at Deveselu Air Base to commemorate the start of construction for this site. When this site is operational, and combined with BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean, NATO will gain enhanced coverage from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East. I also had the opportunity last year to visit the Lockheed-Martin facility in Moorestown, New Jersey where they built the Aegis Ashore deck house and components destined for Romania. The deck house has been disassembled and is currently in transit to Romania.
In furtherance of Phase 2, on May 21, the United States successfully conducted the first flight test involving components of the Aegis Ashore system, including the SM-3 IB interceptor. During the test, a simulated ballistic missile target was acquired, tracked, and engaged by the Aegis Weapon System. A live target missile launch was not planned for this flight test.
Before moving on to Phase 3, I would like to stress that we remain on schedule for deploying the system to Romania, with the site becoming operational in 2015.
And finally there is Phase 3. Phase 3 includes an Aegis Ashore site in Poland equipped with the new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, per the Ballistic Missile Defense agreement between the United States and Poland which entered into force in September 2011. This site is on schedule to be operational in 2018. The interceptor site in Poland is key to the EPAA. When combined with other EPAA assets, Phase 3, which begins in the 2018 timeframe, will provide the necessary capabilities to provide ballistic missile defense coverage of all NATO European territory. So, as you can see; we are continuing to successfully implement the President’s vision for stronger, smarter and swifter missile defenses going forward.
In addition to the support and burden sharing as part of the EPAA undertaken by Spain, Turkey, Poland and Romania, NATO Heads of State and Government noted at the Chicago Summit that there were potential opportunities for using synergies in planning, development, procurement, and deployment of NATO missile defense.
In our view, with this in mind, there are three approaches Allies can take to make valuable contributions to NATO BMD.
In all of these approaches, however, the most critical requirement is NATO interoperability. While acquiring a BMD capability is, of course, good in and of itself, without interoperability, its value as a contribution to Alliance deterrence and defense is significantly diminished. It is only through interoperability that the Alliance can gain the synergistic effects from BMD cooperation that enhance the effectiveness of NATO BMD, as well as the security of all NATO members through shared battle-space awareness and reduced interceptor wastage. Given the budget challenges many allies face today, this becomes even more imperative. Looking ahead, we are hopeful that missile defense will be a key deliverable at the Alliance’s Summit later this year in Wales.
Missile Defense Developments in Other Regions
Outside the NATO context, the United States is continuing to increase and deepen its cooperation with partners and allies around the world to protect people, forces, and assets from the growing ballistic missile threats that we face. As in Europe, we are tailoring our approaches to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific so that they reflect the unique deterrence and defense requirements of each region.
In the Middle East, we are already cooperating with our key partners bilaterally and multilaterally through venues such as the recently established U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Strategic Cooperation Forum. At the September 26, 2013, Strategic Cooperation Forum (SCF), Secretary Kerry and his Foreign Ministry counterparts reaffirmed their intent, first stated at the September 28, 2012 SCF, to “work towards enhanced U.S.-GCC coordination on Ballistic Missile Defense.”
As you know, this is a time of profound change in that region and we are acutely aware of the daily threats and anxieties felt throughout the Gulf. Security cooperation has long stood at the core of the U.S.-Gulf partnership. The United States is not only committed to enhancing U.S.-GCC missile defense cooperation – we see it as a strategic imperative.
As stated in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, a key objective of U.S. strategy is to expand international efforts and cooperation on ballistic missile defense. BMD cooperation contributes to regional stability by deterring regional actors, principally by eliminating their confidence in the effectiveness of their ballistic missiles, and assuring allies and partners of U.S. defense commitments while enhancing their ability to defend against these threats.
Less than two months ago I travelled to the Gulf to work toward enhanced U.S.—GCC coordination on ballistic missile defense. The message I delivered in the region was clear: the United States remains firmly committed to developing and deploying advanced missile defense capabilities around the world to protect our homeland, our deployed forces, as well as our friends and allies.
Several of our partners in the region have already expressed an interest in buying missile defense systems, and some have already done so. For example, the UAE has contracted to buy two THAAD batteries that, when operational, will enhance the UAE’s security as well as regional stability. The UAE also has taken delivery of its Patriot PAC-3 batteries, which provide a lower-tier, point defense of critical national assets. We look forward to advancing cooperation and interoperability with our GCC partners in the years ahead.
Additionally and separately, we are continuing our long-standing and robust cooperation with Israel on missile defense on key systems such as Arrow 3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome.
In the Asia-Pacific, we are continuing to cooperate through our bilateral alliances. For example, the United States and Japan already are working closely to develop jointly an advanced interceptor known as the SM-3 Block IIA along with deployment of a second AN/TPY-2 radar to Japan, while continuing to work on enhancing interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces. With the Republic of Korea, we are continuing to consult closely as it develops the Korean Air and Missile Defense system, which is designed to defend the ROK against air and missile threats from North Korea.
Before I conclude, let me speak about missile defense and Russia. Russia continues to demand that the United States provide it with “legally-binding” guarantees that our missile defenses will not negatively impact its strategic nuclear deterrent. What the Russians really mean is that they want legally-binding limitations or constraints on U.S. missile defenses—defenses we and our partners and allies believe must be flexible and unconstrained in order to adequately protect ourselves from emerging ballistic missile threats. Such “legally binding guarantees” would create limitations on our ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems against regional ballistic missile threats such as those we see evolving in the Middle East and North Korea. We have repeatedly made clear to the Russian government that the United States cannot and will not accept any obligations that limit our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners, including where we deploy our BMD-capable Aegis ships.
As far as where things stand today regarding our discussions with Russia on missile defense, Russia’s intervention into the crisis in Ukraine, in violation of international law, has led to the suspension of our military-to-military dialogue and we are not currently engaging Russia on the topic of missile defense.
Let me conclude by saying that we have made a great deal of progress on missile defense over the past several years.
Thanks to the important work of our NATO Allies, implementation of the EPAA and NATO missile defense is going well. We are continuing to engage productively with our partners and allies in the Middle East and East Asia. And, as I noted earlier, Congress has continued to provide sufficient funding for missile defense programs, even in these times of tight budgets.
For our part, we look forward to continuing these successes and working with our allies and friends around the world to deepen our cooperation, both diplomatic and military, in pursuit of ensuring that missile defense remains a key part of deterring and defending against ballistic missile threats.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions.