Missile Defense Conference

Ellen Tauscher
Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense 
2012 RUSI Missile Defense Conference
London, United Kingdom
May 30, 2012

Thank you, Michael, for that kind introduction.

I am honored to be back here, at RUSI, speaking about my favorite topic, missile defense. I particularly appreciate this year’s program where I get to speak first.

Last year, as many of you may recall, I was the last speaker, which is tough when you follow so many renowned experts in the field. Going first is much easier, so thank you.

Let me acknowledge some of my colleagues that are in attendance today. Without their support and cooperation, much of the progress we have made on these issues would not have been possible.

I want to acknowledge Bogdan Aurescu, who will speak to this group a little later. It was a tremendous honor to work with him so closely in Romania.

I also want to mention Ambassador Daalder and Madelyn Creedon.

Madelyn and I did a similar routine at the Moscow missile defense conference earlier this month.

This conference is particularly well timed, coming just one week after the NATO Summit in Chicago. Instead of just giving my typical Monday, Wednesday, Friday missile defense speech, I would like to discuss some of the areas where we still need to make progress on missile defense.

Let me start with the recent announcement at Chicago of an “interim missile defense capability.”

The progress on missile defense is remarkable given that NATO only made its decision to develop a territorial ballistic missile defense capability 18 months ago. In that year-and-a-half period, the United States and our NATO Allies have achieved an operationally significant peacetime ballistic missile defense capability.

That means that NATO now has its first missile defense radar, its first interceptors, a single commander, and a NATO command and control system for ballistic missile defense.

This progress was only possible because our NATO Allies embraced President Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), which is focused on protecting our European allies and deployed U.S. forces against the existing ballistic missile threats.

It has been a great privilege for me to have worked so closely with all of our Allies over the last couple of years to reach this point, especially my colleagues in Poland, Romania, Spain, and Turkey.

Because of their support and leadership, for which we are incredibly grateful, we were able to reach agreement on the basing of our missile defense assets in Europe.

As you know, last September, we made three big announcements.

First, Turkey agreed to host the Phase 1 ANTPY-2 radar.

Second, we signed the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement with Romania to host the Phase 2 land-based SM-3 site.

Third, the U.S.-Poland agreement for the Phase 3 land-based site entered into force as well.

And then a few weeks later in early October, Spain agreed to serve as a home port for four Aegis destroyers.

As we like to say in the United States, that’s not bad for government work.

We also appreciate the other contributions by our NATO Allies to this effort. Our NATO Allies will contribute more than $1 billion dollars in NATO Common Funding to the ALTBMD command and control system. The Netherlands has indicated that it will spend close to 250 million Euros to modify the radars on its frigates to detect and track ballistic missiles at long ranges and contribute its Patriot missiles to NATO missile defense.

Germany is also exploring developing an airborne infrared sensor. France has proposed a concept for a shared early warning satellite. There is much that our allies can contribute to NATO’s developing missile defense system.

Of course, the announcement in Chicago is just an initial but important step in implementing NATO’s territorial ballistic missile defense capability.

The Obama Administration is committed to working with NATO on these efforts and deploying all four phases of the EPAA as our voluntary national contribution.

For our part, much work remains to be done on the systems that the United States will deploy as potential contributions to NATO missile defense, but considerable work has already begun.

Just look at the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2013.

Even in a constrained budget environment, the United States has protected the funding for the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

These actions are a clear demonstration of the United States’ continued commitment to European security and our Article 5 obligations.

At the same time as we are working with our NATO Allies, there is a tremendous opportunity to develop a meaningful strategic partnership with Russia in the area of missile defense cooperation.

Missile defense cooperation can achieve two very important objectives. First, it would allow Russia to see with its own eyes what we are doing on missile defense and it will give us time to demonstrate how our systems operate.

It will allow Russia to see that the European Phased Adaptive Approach is not directed against Russia, but limited regional threats from outside of Europe… not Russia.

Second, it could give the United States, NATO, and Russia the opportunity to forge a true strategic partnership that enhances security for all.

I realize it takes time to build confidence. But, we have that time.

There are six years before we deploy Phase 3 in the 2018 timeframe. We should use that time positively on cooperation and not confrontation.

Russia should come inside the missile defense cooperation tent and see what we are doing.

During that time, we will be testing an Aegis BMD site in Hawaii. We will be developing and testing the SM-3 Block IIA interceptors.

Russia has also observed our intercept tests in the past and the invitation to observe a future test still stands.

We will also be working with our NATO Allies to ensure how to best protect NATO European populations and territory.

At the same time, the U.S., NATO and Russia can work together on a broad range of cooperation: Sharing sensor data, working on developing common pre-planned responses, conducting a joint analysis of missile defense systems, and working together on missile defense exercises.

The United States and NATO have been transparent about our missile defense programs.

We have provided Russia with a number of ideas and approaches for transparency and we are also committed to discussing other approaches to building confidence between our two countries.

At Chicago, NATO Allies made a very clear statement of our intent. NATO declared in the Chicago Summit Declaration “…the NATO missile defense in Europe will not undermine strategic stability. NATO missile defense is not directed against Russia and will not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.”

And, as I have told my Russian colleagues, if Russia doesn’t like what it has learned throughout this period of cooperation, then it can terminate cooperation at any point.

But that means getting Russia inside the missile defense tent now, working alongside the U.S. and NATO, while we are in the initial phases of deploying this capability. It will take time and effort to build the trust that is currently lacking on this issue.

But let me be clear. While we can work cooperatively together, we cannot agree to the pre-conditions outlined by the Russian Government.

We are committed to deploying effective missile defenses to protect the U.S. homeland and our Allies and partners around the world from the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

We will not agree to limitations on the capabilities and numbers of our missile defense systems.

We cannot agree to any “criteria,” that would, in effect, limit our ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems that will protect us against regional threats such as Iran and North Korea.

If we can work together on European missile defense, and make this a subject for cooperation rather than competition, that would be a game-changer for our security relationship.

We understand that there are risks involved, and it takes courage to move away from decades long default positions and long-held positions. We believe those risks are manageable.

The alternative is competition, something none of us can afford or want.

So we will keep working to see if we can come up with a plan for cooperation.

We will continue to press in the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Joint Staff channels. We will keep moving forward in the run up to the June G-20 meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin, and we will keep going long after that.

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak here at this impressive gathering of experts. I look forward to answering any questions you might have.