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Arms Control and International Security: Missile Defense, Extended Deterrence, and the Future of America's Alliances


Thank you for that kind introduction, and thanks for having me here today. It’s always great to be back at the annual 3AF missile defense conference.

By way of introduction, while I am the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, my work at the State Department is focused on enhancing strategic stability around the world. Arms control, verification and compliance are some of the tools we use to enhance strategic stability and reassure our allies and partners that we will meet our various security commitments. Missile defense is another such tool.

At the State Department, we have used this tool to implement a wide range of activities in cooperation with our allies and partners around the world. Some of our efforts can be seen on this continent. For example, in my former capacity as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, I served as the lead U.S. negotiator for the missile defense bases in Romania, Turkey, and Poland.

The title of my speech today is “Missile Defense, Extended Deterrence, and America’s Alliances.” What I’d like to do in my remarks this morning is to provide you a better understanding of the vital role that missile defense plays in supporting the United States’ deterrence and assurance goals around the world. Specifically, I’ll address: 1) how missile defense fits into our overall defense policy and strategic framework; 2) the critical role that U.S. homeland missile defense capabilities play in supporting our alliances around the world; 3) how our regional missile defense capabilities support these goals; and 4) conclude with a discussion on how the United States works with its allies and partners to improve their capabilities to defend against ballistic missile attacks.

U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Framework

In addition to my work as the negotiator of the missile defense basing agreements, I also led the State Department’s efforts contributing to the Obama Administration’s Ballistic Missile Defense Review (or BMDR). This policy document aligns our missile defense posture with the near-term regional ballistic missile threat while sustaining and enhancing the U.S. ability to defend the homeland against a limited long-range attack. It is intended to match U.S. strategies, policies, and capabilities to the requirements of the 21st-century threats facing the nation now and in the decades to come.

The BMDR also lays out the policy foundation for how missile defenses support our extended deterrence and assurance goals. These goals include enhancing regional security architectures through the use of effective missile defenses, counter-weapons of mass destruction capabilities, conventional power-projection capabilities, and integrated command and control – all underwritten by strong political commitments. The goal is to ensure that if states attempt to attack U.S. forces or our allies and partners, their attacks will be blunted and their aims denied by an enhanced set of capabilities. This deters adversaries as they conclude that the benefits of threatening or carrying out an attack will be dwarfed by its costs.

Missile defenses support political and diplomatic activities that enhance regional stability as well as assure leaders and populations under threat that they have a defense against attack. Ballistic missile defense (BMD) also complicates an adversary’s calculus, denies them the certainty of a successful attack, and signals determination to resist intimidation.

In these ways, missile defenses strengthen U.S. goals of deterrence, extended deterrence, and assurance. In so doing, they also contribute to international peace and stability and reinforce the global nonproliferation regime.

U.S. Homeland Defenses

As part of BMDR implementation, the Obama Administration has continued the efforts to defend the United States homeland against potential limited intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) attacks from states like North Korea and Iran. As part of this effort, in March 2013, the Administration announced it would deploy an additional 14 Ground-Based Interceptors (or GBIs), increasing the total number to 44 by 2017. This deployment will ensure that we stay ahead of the new road-mobile ICBM threat from North Korea and make clear to it that such threats will not deter the United States from meeting its security commitments in the East-Asia Pacific.

We are also continuing to strengthen our homeland defense posture and invest in technologies that better enable us to address emerging threats in the next decade. For example, the United States is developing a new radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against the North Korean threat. We are also redesigning the kill vehicle for the Ground-Based Interceptor.

At the same time, we have made clear both in our policy and in the capabilities we have deployed that our homeland defense is not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia and China.

Regional Missile Defenses

The United States is also continuing to deploy regional missile defenses that are tailored to the security circumstances in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific. Such deployments must be tailored to the unique deterrence and defense requirements of each region.

In Europe, as you are all aware, we are implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), which will serve as the U.S. national contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) missile defense systems. We announced this phased approach in 2009 and have been working hard to implement it. Starting in 2011 with Phase 1, we deployed a missile defense radar in Turkey and began the sustained deployment of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-capable ships in the Mediterranean. With NATO’s declaration of Interim BMD Capability in 2012, the radar in Turkey transitioned to NATO operational control. Additionally, we have been working with Spain to deploy four U.S. Aegis BMD-capable ships at the naval facility at Rota which will allow us to increase our rotational presence in the region and respond to potential crises.

We are on track to complete the deployment of an Aegis Ashore site in Romania as part of Phase 2 of the EPAA later this year. When operational, this site, combined with BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean, will enhance coverage of NATO from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.

Finally, Phase 3 will involve the construction of an Aegis Ashore site in Poland equipped with the new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. President Obama’s FY16 budget request designates approximately $200 million for the establishment of the site, including construction which will begin next year, allowing us to remain on schedule to complete this site by 2018. The Phase 3 site in Poland, when combined with other EPAA assets, will provide ballistic missile defense coverage of all NATO European territory.

The United States also has deployed missile defense assets to defend our deployed forces, allies and partners in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. We have deployed Patriot PAC-3 systems and Aegis BMD ships in both regions to address the threat from Iranian and North Korea ballistic missiles. We have also deployed AN/TPY-2 radars to Israel and Japan to provide early warning of any missile threats.

Working with Allies and Partners

As threats have advanced and technical solutions have matured, it is increasingly important to think strategically about the deployment of low-density, high-demand missile defense assets in a regional context. Our capabilities are modest relative to the expanding regional missile threat. That is why we are working closely with our Allies and partners around the world to encourage strong, cooperative relationships that include appropriate burden-sharing. Strengthening cooperation with allies and partners to develop and field robust, pragmatic, and cost-effective capabilities is an important priority.

In the Middle East, we are already cooperating with our key partners bilaterally and multilaterally through fora such as the recently established U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (or GCC) Strategic Cooperation Forum (or SCF). Our partners in the region are acquiring tremendous interoperable BMD capabilities that complement and supplement U.S. systems. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has contracted to buy two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (or THAAD) batteries and has taken delivery of its Patriot PAC-3 batteries, which provide a lower-tier, point defense of critical national assets. We also strengthened this cooperation when we met in Washington, D.C. this past April for the first ever U.S.-GCC Ballistic Missile Defense Seminar.

At last month’s U.S.-GCC meetings at Camp David hosted by President Obama, the United States and GCC member states committed to a number of initiatives aimed at developing a region-wide BMD capability. The GCC member states agreed to develop a region-wide ballistic missile defense capability, including through the development of a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. The United States committed to help conduct a study of GCC ballistic missile defense architecture and offered technical assistance in the development of a GCC-wide Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. Finally, the group agreed to develop an enhanced understanding of how cooperation would look through a senior leader tabletop exercise to examine improved regional ballistic missile defense cooperation.

I came here yesterday from the Gulf region because I am in the middle of a trip to conduct follow-up discussions on implementing these decisions. I will be returning to the region tomorrow to complete my visit to each of the six GCC states.

Additionally and separately, the United States maintains a strong defense relationship with Israel, and our cooperation on missile defense has resulted in a comprehensive missile defense architecture for Israel. Israeli programs such as Iron Dome, the David’s Sling Weapon System, and the Arrow Weapon System, in conjunction with operational cooperation with the United States, create a multilayered architecture designed to protect the Israeli people from varying types of missile threats.

I would also like to highlight the efforts of our NATO Allies to develop and deploy their own national contributions for missile defense. A great example is that today, Patriot batteries from three NATO countries are deployed in Turkey under NATO command and control to augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities in response to the crisis on Turkey’s south-eastern border. Another example is the recent decision by the Netherlands to upgrade the radar on its four air-defense frigates with extended long-range missile defense early-warning radars as its national contribution to NATO's ballistic missile defense. Several Allies already offered their contributions or are undertaking development or acquisition of further BMD assets such as upgraded ships with ballistic missile-defense capable radars, ground-based Air and Missile Defense systems or advanced detection and alert capabilities. Finally, several Allies, such as Turkey, Romania, Poland, and Spain, have provided essential basing support. All of these initiatives will help strengthen the Alliance’s ability to deter ballistic missile threats.

In the Asia-Pacific, we are continuing missile defense cooperation through our bilateral alliances and key partnerships. For example, the United States and Japan are working closely together to develop the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, which will make a key contribution to the EPAA as well as ship-based deployments in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere around the world. We also recently deployed a second AN/TPY-2 radar to Japan, which will enhance the defense of both the United States and Japan. We engage with Japan on missile defenses issues quite regularly, including at our bilateral Extended Deterrence Dialogues. And finally, we are continuing to work on enhancing interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces, which will be aided by the recent changes to the updated U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines. The inclusion of missile defense in these guidelines reflects the valuable contribution of BMD to our collective self-defense.

We also work closely with the Republic of Korea on missile defense issues. In 2013, we agreed to develop a comprehensive alliance counter-missile strategy to detect, defend, disrupt, and destroy North Korean WMD and missile threats. Another important component of our cooperation is the Deterrence Strategy Committee, which looks at not only U.S. extended deterrence efforts, but also areas—such as missile defense—where we can work together to deter North Korea and defend against attacks. In his visit to Seoul last month, Secretary Kerry affirmed that “The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance has literally never been stronger…we are united firmly in our determination to stand up against any threats from the DPRK.”

Having led bilateral consultations with our Japanese and Republic of Korea partners, I can attest to the value of having candid, whole-of-government dialogues and the important contributions such cooperation has in strengthening our already sturdy bilateral alliances.

Finally, let me say a few things about missile defense and Russia. Prior to the suspension of our dialogue as a result of Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, Russia continued to demand that the United States provide Russia with “legally binding” guarantees that U.S. missile defenses will not harm or diminish Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent. These guarantees would have been based on criteria that would have limited our missile defenses and undermined our ability to stay ahead of the ballistic missile threat. The Ballistic Missile Defense Review is quite clear on our policy: U.S. missile defense is neither designed nor directed against Russia’s and China’s strategic nuclear forces. However, at the same time, we have also made it clear that we cannot and will not accept legally-binding or other constraints that would limit our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners. The United States will continue to insist on having the flexibility to respond to evolving ballistic missile threats.


Let me conclude by saying that over the past several years we have continued to make important progress on missile defense cooperation with allies and partners around the world—this was a key goal of the 2010 BMDR.

As long as our allies and partners live in the shadow of missile threats, the United States will stand with them to develop the tools that will deter any possible adversary. Defense of our allies and partners through assistance on missile defense cooperation is and will remain a key priority of the U.S. Government.

I want to reiterate that as we move forward:

  • The United States will continue to defend the homeland against the threat of limited ballistic missile attack, and we will improve those capabilities as the threat evolves.
  • The United States will continue to defend against regional missile threats to U.S. forces, while protecting allies and partners and enabling them to defend themselves.
  • The United States appreciates the growing interest in missile defense cooperation from our allies and partners, and we encourage the continuation of this effort for all of our mutual benefits.

And of course, the defense of the U.S. homeland and defense of allies and partners are closely linked. The forward basing of U.S. assets that defend both the U.S. homeland and our forces deployed around the world enhances our ability to meet our various security commitments to our allies and partners around the world. Indeed, missile defense – both homeland and regional capabilities – plays a vital role in supporting the United States’ deterrence and defense goals around the world.

Thank you very much and I look forward to your questions.