By Ellen Tauscher, US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Thank you, Fred, for that kind introduction and for inviting me to participate in this conference. I want to particularly thank you for your leadership and the important efforts of the Atlantic Council around the world. I appreciate the opportunity to be back at the Atlantic Council to share some insights on the progress that we have made on missile defense in Europe.
Let me also acknowledge my good friend General O’Reilly. I cannot say enough about his hard work and dedication to the Missile Defense Agency. We have been making frequent trips together to Europe. His support has been essential to our efforts to protect our homeland and our NATO Allies from the growing threat from ballistic missile proliferation.
When I was last here in October 2009, President Obama had just announced his decision to shift from the deployment of 10 Ground-Based Interceptors in Europe to a system using land- and sea-based SM-3 interceptors to provide protection of the United States homeland and our NATO European Allies.
During those remarks, I explained why the Obama Administration’s approach provided more protection sooner against the existing threat, using proven systems, and at a lower cost than the previous proposal.
Moreover, the Obama Administration’s approach has the added advantage of protecting our European Allies against the existing threat. That focus on the “now” distinguishes our approach from the previously proposed system, which was focused on a long-range missile threat that has been slower to develop than previously anticipated.
At the same time, there were many questions about the impact of that change.
Questions about the reaction of our Allies.
Questions about whether NATO would spend limited resources on a European missile defense system.
Questions about how Russia would react.
Some press reports even declared that the Obama Administration had decided to shelve missile defense in Europe.
Now, two years later, we have made tremendous progress. We already have begun implementing Phase 1 of what is known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), and we have put in place the arrangements necessary to implement the three follow-on phases.
Let me run through some of the achievements of the last two years.
First, in November 2010, NATO made the landmark decision to develop a missile defense capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territories, and forces against the increasing threats posed by ballistic missiles.
The Alliance also agreed to use NATO Common Funding to enhance the capabilities of the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system (or ALTBMD) to give it the ability to provide command and control for this expanded system. Finally, Allies at Lisbon welcomed the EPAA as the U.S. national contribution to NATO’s missile defense capability.
In March of this year, the USS Monterey became the first U.S. ballistic missile defense asset deployed to Europe for the defense of NATO. This initial step in implementation of Phase 1 of the EPAA provides protection to Southern Europe against exiting threats.
The USS Monterey is the first ship of a continuous deployment to Europe as part of the EPAA. As part of that commitment, the USS Monterey will be replaced shortly by the USS The Sullivans.
Then in September, just a few days shy of the two-year anniversary of the EPAA announcement, we rolled out three missile defense agreements that put the final pieces in place for the EPAA.
I will discuss these developments in a phased order, rather than chronological order.
On September 14, we announced that Turkey agreed to host the AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar as part of Phase 1 of the EPAA. This is a vital contribution by Turkey to NATO missile defense.
Basing the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey will significantly increase the size of the area that can be defended by the deployed Aegis systems. We plan to have the radar in place by the end of this year.
On September 13, Secretary Clinton and Romanian Foreign Minister Baconschi (Ba-con-ski) signed a Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement for Phase 2. Once ratified by the Romanian Parliament, this agreement will allow the United States to build a land-based SM-3 interceptor site at Deveselu (Dev-e-sell-oo) Air Base in Romania.
This will be the first operational deployment of a land-based SM-3 site. Once operational in the 2015 timeframe, the site will provide additional missile defense protection for Southern Europe.
On September 15, our Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement with Poland entered into force for Phase 3. It is the first such agreement that reached entry into force and we greatly appreciate all of the effort and support we have received from Poland.
Following the September 2009 announcement of the EPAA, we were able to work quickly with our Polish allies to modify the Bush Administration’s BMD Agreement to allow for the deployment of the land-based SM-3 site instead of the GBIs. As a result of the strong NATO support for the EPAA, we were able to sign that agreement in July 2010.
We are working with our Polish colleagues on next steps in order for the deployment to proceed in the 2018 timeframe. When Phase 3 is fully implemented, the system will provide coverage to all of our European NATO Allies.
Most recently, Spain agreed in October to serve as a home port for four Aegis ships to support future deployments to Europe. This contribution by Spain supports the commitment made by NATO to missile defense.
Home-porting these ships in Europe will allow the United States to respond more rapidly to a crisis in the region by reducing transit times. Another advantage is that the overall wear and tear on these vessels that comes with crossing the Atlantic will be reduced.
Throughout this process, NATO allies have responded with a tremendous amount of cooperation and support. Together, we have worked hard to make NATO’s landmark Lisbon decision to protect all NATO European members’ territories, populations, and forces with missile defense a reality.
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.
We also are grateful for the other national contributions by our NATO Allies to this effort, including the recent announcement by the Netherlands 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.
Over the coming months, we will continue these efforts with our NATO Allies. As we said from the start, we want our missile defense deployments to be part of a NATO missile defense effort, where our system will be the U.S. contribution. NATO is working hard on developing the necessary command and control arrangements for this system.
It is NATO’s goal and our desire that enough of this work be completed by the May 2012 Summit in Chicago to declare an initial NATO missile defense capability.
Finally, let me reiterate that the Obama Administration is fully committed to implementing all phases of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to counter the threat of ballistic missiles from outside Europe.
As President Obama stated in his December 2010 letter to the Senate,
“My Administration plans to deploy all four phases of the EPAA. While advances of technology or future changes in the threat could modify the details or timing of the later phases of the EPAA – one reason this approach is called “adaptive” – I will take every action available to me to support the deployment of all four phases.”
In addition to full implementation of the EPAA, we are committed to the deployment of the Ground Based Interceptors in Alaska and California to provide the United States with a defense against a limited ICBM strike from countries such as North Korea or Iran.
At the same time, we must continue our efforts to develop missile defense cooperation with Russia. I was in Russia last week meeting with my Russian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov.
This is an historic opportunity for the United States, NATO, and Russia. We are continuing work to establish a political framework that would open the way for practical cooperation on missile defense, including a center that would coordinate radar data and another center that would coordinate operations.
The missile defense system we are establishing in Europe is not directed against Russia. We have said that publicly and privately, at many levels. We are prepared to put it in writing.
As full partners in missile defense, we would partner to counter threats originating outside Europe, not each other. Our NATO European missile defense system is not and will not be directed at Russia, and Russia would continue to be able to confirm that the system is directed against launches originating outside Europe and not from Russia.
The EPAA does not possess the technical capability to undermine Russia’s strategic nuclear forces nor do we seek to develop a system that could. The mission of our missile defenses in Europe is to counter launches from the Middle East, which would be few in number and at an early stage of technology.
To perform this mission, engineering choices have been made: the system is and will continue to be capable of countering small numbers of launches of modest sophistication from the south. It has no capability to counter Russian strategic forces, given their location, numbers, and advanced technology.
This is true of phases 3 and 4, as well as 1 and 2.
We welcome an opportunity to continue and expand the sharing of technical information on the EPAA with Russian experts on an interagency basis, to demonstrate what it can and cannot do.
We cannot provide legally binding commitments, nor can we agree to limitations on missile defenses, which must necessarily keep pace with the evolution of the threat. But through cooperation we can demonstrate the inherent characteristics of the system and its inability to undermine Russian deterrent forces or strategic stability.
Only through cooperation, by working side-by-side and using their own eyes and ears, will Russians gain assurance on our capabilities and intentions.
Absent cooperation on missile defense, there could be more mistrust and opportunities for miscalculation. Such a path would not serve the interest of the United States or Russia or of strategic stability, and distract us from the 21st century threats we both face.
One such threat concerns the proliferation of ballistic missiles. We are cooperating with Russia, our NATO allies, and countries around the world to stem ballistic missile proliferation. As we all know, the least enviable time to defend against ballistic missiles is after they have been launched.
Chief among our missile nonproliferation tools is the Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR. Working with the other 33 MTCR Partners, we have created the global standard for controlling the transfer of equipment, software, and technology that could contribute to missile developments.
In fact, because of the imposition of UN Security Council Resolutions on Iran and North Korea, all countries are now required, regardless of end-use, to prevent the transfer of items listed in the MTCR Annex to Iran and North Korea.
We also are working to support the efforts of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, which includes over 130 subscribing states and consists of a set of general principles, commitments, and confidence building measures to bolster efforts to curb ballistic missile proliferation.
In addition, we are joining with our partners to interdict shipments of WMD and missile-related items, including through the Proliferation Security Initiative or PSI, which focuses on improving a country’s ability to stop shipments of proliferation concern.
Beyond missile defense and preventing missile proliferation, the Obama Administration has achieved a number of significant accomplishments that put us on the path toward the President’s vision of seeking a more secure and safer world without nuclear weapons.
The New START Treaty with Russia, which lowers limits on deployed strategic nuclear weapons possessed by both countries, has been in force for eight months now and implementation is going smoothly. We have completed the Nuclear Posture Review, which took specific and concrete steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.
At the State Department we have conducted a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, known as the QDDR, which examined how we can use our civilian power to better advance our national security issues. We also have strengthened efforts to secure nuclear materials and other weapons of mass destruction, enhanced our international efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD, and placed tougher sanctions on proliferators.
The list of these essential national security efforts is much, much longer than I could ever possibly sum up here.
Summing up all the benefits to our national security provided by the State Department is truly remarkable when you realize that it is all accomplished on one percent of the federal budget. That one percent includes every penny spent on foreign assistance, security assistance, and operation of our embassies and consulates abroad.
That’s a tremendous bargain for the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, many of them think up to 25 percent of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid. That misunderstanding helps create a climate where some in Congress see the State Department budget as a place to find savings without any cost to our national security.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the diplomacy and development work conducted by the State Department that helps prevent wars, contain conflicts, counter extremism, secure borders, and reduce global weapons threats, including ballistic missiles.
As my remarks demonstrate, the work we do at the State Department with the Pentagon and the Missile Defense Agency advances our efforts in Europe and around the world to protect our Allies, our citizens, and our forces from the dangers posed by ballistic missile proliferation.
Let me once again thank Fred for inviting me to speak here today. I want to also congratulate him on his latest book, Berlin 1961.
It is a reminder of an era and tensions in Europe that we do not want to replicate, which is why the United States and NATO want to cooperate with Russia on missile defenses against common threats. We do not want to return to the divisive policies and military competition of the past. Cooperation is in all our interests.
Thanks to all of you for your time and for participating in this important conference. I am happy to answer a few questions.
Speech at Atlantic Council Missile Defense Conference, Washington, DC, October 18, 2011