Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe

In early 2007, after several years of internal discussions and consultations with Poland and the Czech Republic, the Bush Administration formally proposed to defend against an Iranian missile threat by deploying a ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) element in Europe as part of the global U.S. BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense System). The system would have included 10 interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar that would have been deployed in a country closer to Iran, to be completed by 2013 at a reported cost of at least $4 billion. The proposed European BMD capability raised a number of foreign policy challenges in Europe and with Russia. The United States negotiated and signed agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, but for a number of reasons those agreements were not ratified by the end of the Bush Administration.

On September 17, 2009, the Obama Administration announced it would cancel the Bush-proposed European BMD program. Instead, Defense Secretary Gates announced U.S. plans to develop and deploy a regional BMD capability in Europe that could be surged on relatively short notice during crises or as the situation may demand. Gates argued this new capability in the near-term would be based on expanding existing BMD sensors and interceptors. Gates argued this new Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) would be more responsive and adaptable to the pace and direction of Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missile proliferation. This capability would continue to evolve and expand over the next decade to include BMD capabilities against medium- and long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

The Polish and Romanian governments have signaled their willingness to host facilities for the new system. However, Russia, though initially positive over the abandonment of the Bush Administration’s BMD plan, soon found reasons to object to the Obama Administration’s alternative.

Although the terms of the debate over the Bush-proposed European BMD capability have changed significantly in the wake of President Obama’s decision, this report will be retained for historical purposes to include background information and analysis through the Obama Administration’s decision to cancel it. It will not be updated.

Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe

April 26, 2010 (RL34051)


In early 2007, after several years of internal discussions and consultations with Poland and the Czech Republic, the Bush Administration formally proposed to defend against an Iranian missile threat by deploying a ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) element in Europe as part of the global U.S. BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense System). The system would have included 10 interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar that would have been deployed in a country closer to Iran, to be completed by 2013 at a reported cost of at least $4 billion. The proposed European BMD capability raised a number of foreign policy challenges in Europe and with Russia. The United States negotiated and signed agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, but for a number of reasons those agreements were not ratified by the end of the Bush Administration.

On September 17, 2009, the Obama Administration announced it would cancel the Bush-proposed European BMD program. Instead, Defense Secretary Gates announced U.S. plans to develop and deploy a regional BMD capability in Europe that could be surged on relatively short notice during crises or as the situation may demand. Gates argued this new capability in the near-term would be based on expanding existing BMD sensors and interceptors. Gates argued this new Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) would be more responsive and adaptable to the pace and direction of Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missile proliferation. This capability would continue to evolve and expand over the next decade to include BMD capabilities against medium- and long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

The Polish and Romanian governments have signaled their willingness to host facilities for the new system. However, Russia, though initially positive over the abandonment of the Bush Administration's BMD plan, soon found reasons to object to the Obama Administration's alternative.

Although the terms of the debate over the Bush-proposed European BMD capability have changed significantly in the wake of President Obama's decision, this report will be retained for historical purposes to include background information and analysis through the Obama Administration's decision to cancel it. It will not be updated.

Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe

Recent Developments

In 2007, the Bush Administration requested about $310 million in the FY2008 defense budget to begin the design, construction, and deployment of a ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in Europe.1 This program followed several years of discussions between the United States and Poland and the Czech Republic. The proposed system would have included 10 silo-based interceptor missiles to be deployed in Poland, a fixed radar installation in the Czech Republic, and another transportable radar to be deployed in a country closer to Iran (which was never publicly identified). Deployment of the GMD European capability was scheduled to be completed by 2013 at an official estimated cost of at least $4 billion (including fielding and Operation and Support). The Bush proposal raised a number of issues within Europe and encountered strong opposition in Russia. The United States signed agreements with Poland and Czech Republic in summer 2008. Polish and Czech ratification of those agreements stalled for various reasons.

On September 17, 2009, the Obama Administration announced it would cancel the Bush Administration's proposed European 3rd site.2 Instead, Defense Secretary Gates announced U.S. plans to develop and deploy a regional BMD capability that could be surged on relatively short notice during crises or as the situation may demand called the PAA (Phased Adaptive Approach). Gates argued this new capability, based initially on expanding existing BMD sensors, communication systems, and interceptors into Europe, would be more responsive and adaptable to the growing threat from short- and medium-range Iranian ballistic missiles. This capability would continue to evolve and expand over the next decade. Eventually, this regional BMD capability could cover all of Europe, according to Secretary Gates, and defend against medium and prospective long-range Iranian ballistic missiles.

More specifically, the Obama Administration has described the PAA in four phases:

Phase 1 (2011 timeframe): Use existing/maturing BMD systems against short- and medium-range Iranian ballistic missile threats. Sea-based and other existing BMD capabilities will be used as necessary to defend parts of southern Europe, and a forward-based sensor would be deployed to Europe.

Phase 2 (2015 timeframe): Deploy enhanced BMD capabilities against short- and medium-range Iranian ballistic missile threats. This would include advanced sensors and an improved version of the Aegis BMD (SM-3 IB interceptor), including a combination of sea- and land-based configurations.

Phase 3 (2018 timeframe): Deploy improved area coverage in Europe against medium- and intermediate-range Iranian ballistic missile threats. This would include more capable Aegis BMD interceptors (SM-3 IIA) in a combination of sea- and land-based configurations.

Phase 4 (2020 timeframe): Deploy BMD capabilities against potential Iranian ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) threats. If an Iranian ICBM threat emerges, more advanced Aegis BMD capabilities might be deployed (SM-3 IIB) to provide some capability against a regional ICBM threat. Once proven and tested, this capability could be made available for deployment to NATO Europe.

Secretary Gates argued this new direction is needed to address growing concerns over the pace and direction of Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missile proliferation in a manner that can be deployed more quickly and effectively than the Bush-proposed European site. President Obama pointed out that his decision came after extensive consultations with U.S. allies in 2009.

Some critics argued the Obama Administration's decision was meant to appease Russia or garner Russian support for other issues because of its strong opposition to the Bush plan. They also said that the Obama Administration harmed relations with Poland and the Czech Republic by cancelling agreements reached with those two countries. Some critics also charged that the Obama Administration was ignoring the growing nuclear and ballistic missile threat from Iran.

The response throughout Europe appears to have been largely positive. The leaders of Germany, France, the UK, Austria, and Slovakia, for example, all praised the policy reversal. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that the decision was a "positive step" that would "not weaken the defense of any ally." The alliance chief suggested further that a joint NATO-U.S.-Russia missile defense system be taken into consideration.3

Reaction in Poland and the Czech Republic was mixed. Although Polish and Czech leaders were not publically critical of the Obama Administration's announcement, some Polish tabloids spoke of "betrayal," while former Polish President Lech Walesa and former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek criticized the Obama administration's policy toward the region.4

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk claimed that the shift "should not affect the security of Poland" and would not undermine relations with the United States. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski stated that, even though the interceptors would not be emplaced in Poland, the United States would still transfer a Patriot air- and missile defense battery with a complement of about 100 U.S. troops, as had been promised under an agreement the two governments signed in August 2008. In addition, the Obama Administration left open the door to the possibility of basing missile defense facilities on Czech and Polish soil in the future—possibly by date 2015. The Polish government subsequently stated its willingness to host more advanced SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) missile defenses.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus pronounced himself unsurprised by the announcement, and assured that he was "100 percent convinced that this decision ... does not signal a cooling of relations" between the two countries.5 However, a group of ruling party senators expressed concern over the "somersault in the U.S. foreign policy." In addition, Agence France Presse reported that Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout "called for the United States to 'fill the empty space' left by the scrapped missile plan 'with concrete projects.'"6

Some Polish and Czech elected officials are likely displeased with the decision because they believe that they needlessly expended considerable political capital in supporting the Bush Administration plan—which had significant popular opposition in both countries. U.S. analysts, however, counter that the Czechs and Poles have dragged their heels on agreeing to host the facilities. Although formal negotiations over the interceptor and radar bases began in January 2007, and discussions were initiated years before, final agreements were not struck until July and August of 2008, and parliamentary ratification of the accords—a U.S. congressional precondition for site construction and deployment of the missile defense complexes—was still pending at the time of the plan's cancellation.

In Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev initially called the decision "a responsible move," adding that "we value the responsible approach of the U.S. President to our agreement. I am ready to continue our dialogue."7 However, Moscow eventually found reason to object to the Obama Administration's PAA, and sought unsuccessfully to oppose the plan as a bargaining chip in arms treaty negotiations with the United States.

Most of this report that follows is designed to retain background information and analysis of the Bush-proposed European BMD initiative up to the Obama Administration's decision to cancel it. This report will be available primarily for historical purposes. It will not be updated.

Historical Background

When it first requested funding in 2007, the Bush Administration argued that the proposed GMD European capability would help defend U.S. forces stationed in Europe, U.S. friends and allies in the region, as well as to defend the United States against long-range ballistic missile threats from Iran. In its last budget request for FY2009, the Bush Administration requested $712 million for development, fielding, and military construction of the European GMD element. Some $618 million was available from the FY2009 defense budget for the European 3rd site, had Polish and Czech ratification gone forward. In its first budget request, the Obama Administration proposed an additional $50.5 million for FY2010, before announcing its decision to cancel the program in September 2009.

The prospect of a fixed, silo-based GMD capability based in Europe raised a number of significant international security and foreign policy questions. Central to the debate for many was how the proposed U.S. system might affect U.S.-European-Russian relations. In FY2008, Congress eliminated funding to start construction of the European site pending final approval of international agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic and receipt of an independent study of alternative missile defense options for Europe.8 Congress largely supported the Administration's request for FY2009, but restricted funding for site construction until after the Polish and Czech Parliaments ratified the agreements reached with the Bush Administration. Congress continued to withhold funding for deployment of the ground-based interceptor missiles themselves until after the Secretary of Defense certified to Congress that those interceptor missiles would work effectively. Congress also supported a relatively small request for the European 3rd site in FY2010.

The Obama Administration

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Obama said he supported the deployment of ballistic missile defenses that were operationally effective. In her January 2009 nomination hearings for Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy said the Obama Administration would review plans to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Europe.9 Flournoy said the plans should be reviewed as part of the QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review) and "in the broader security context of Europe, including our relations with Russia," noting that any final policy decision should consider it in the interest of the United States if Washington and Moscow could agree to cooperate on missile defense. Flournoy also said the final contours of any decision would require close consultations between the Administration and Congress. At his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee for Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn responded to a question suggesting he would support making the MDA's budgetary, acquisition, testing, and policy processes more open and similar to the military services. "I think that all our military programs should be managed through those regular processes," he said, and "that would include missile defense. I would think any exceptions should be rare and fully justified."10 Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), then head of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee, reportedly predicted such changes would be made in the new administration.11 On the White House website, the Obama Administration said it would "support missile defense, but ensure that it is developed in a way that is pragmatic and cost-effective; and, most importantly, does not divert resources from other national security priorities until we are positive the technology will protect the American public."12

In April 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a number of recommendations regarding the FY2010 defense budget. Although Secretary Gates provided some details about a number of BMD programs, little was said about the European 3rd site. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright only offered that there are "sufficient funds in '09 that can be carried forward to do all of the work that we need to do at a pace we'll determine as we go through the [BMD] program review, the Quadrennial Defense Review, and negotiations with those countries."

The President's Budget for FY2010 was released later in May 2009. It included $50.5 million for the European 3rd site because there remained about $618 million from FY2009 appropriated funds for the European 3rd site pending Polish and Czech ratification of the missile defense agreements signed in 2008. The Obama Administration conducted a major BMD Review and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) in summer 2009. After this review and extensive consultations with U.S. allies, the Obama Administration cancelled the proposed European 3rd site and announced a new European BMD initiative based largely expanding current capabilities and initiatives on Defense Secretary Gates's recommendation.

The Threat

The Bush Administration argued that North Korea and Iran constituted major strategic threats. North Korea claims to have tested a nuclear device and has a ballistic missile and satellite launch program. The Bush Administration argued that Iran continued to acquire and develop ballistic missiles of various ranges.13 Iran successfully launched a small satellite into orbit for the first time in early February 2009. The Bush Administration argued that Iran had an active nuclear weapons development program, but in November 2007, a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated that "in Fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program," and that Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons at some point. The Iranian nuclear weapons program reportedly also included developing a warhead that could fit atop an Iranian ballistic missile.14

The Bush Administration regarded both countries as unpredictable and dangerous, and did not believe they could be constrained by traditional forms of military deterrence, diplomacy, or arms control. On a trip to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in early December 2007, Secretary of State Rice told reporters: "I don't see that the NIE changes the course that we're on" to deploy a European missile defense system.15 Accompanying her on the trip, Undersecretary of State John Rood, lead U.S. negotiator for the European missile defense talks, added: "the missile threat from Iran continues to progress and to cause us to be very concerned.... Missile defense would be useful regardless of what kind of payload, whether that be conventional, chemical, biological, or nuclear."16

According to long-standing unclassified U.S. intelligence assessments, Iran may be able to test an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) or long-range ballistic missile capability by 2015 if it receives significant foreign assistance, such as from Russia or China. Many in Congress and elsewhere share this specific assessment, or that the potential threat may not emerge by 2015 but is sufficiently worrisome to address it now. Many therefore believe it was prudent to move forward with plans to deploy a long-range missile defense system in Europe to defend U.S. forward deployed forces in Europe, friends and allies, and the United States against long-range Iranian ballistic missile threats. Some in the larger international security policy and ballistic missile proliferation community argue that evidence of an Iranian ICBM program is scant and unpersuasive. Additionally, the Iranian government reports (which cannot be verified) that Iran only has a limited missile capability with a range of about 1,200 miles17 and that it has stopped development of ICBM range missiles. Nonetheless, Iran continues to test ballistic missiles, some of which are capable of reaching as far as NATO's Southern Flank (i.e., Turkey). Also, Iran successfully tested a short-range ballistic missile using solid rocket motors, a development many see as indicative of Iran's interest in building longer range ballistic missiles. This, and other developments, such as Iran's demonstrated ability to flight test a number of different ballistic missiles at the same time, was cited by the Obama Administration as part of the reason to address such Iranian threats with current BMD capabilities sooner than that of the Bush Administration.

Although some Europeans have expressed concern about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, some U.S. friends and allies in Europe continue to question assessments of Iran's potential ICBM threat or of Iran's threat to Europe itself. Hence, some questioned the need for a European 3rd site. In December 2008, the European Council of the European Union approved a two-year study of ballistic missile proliferation trends. In congressional testimony in 2009, MDA Director Gen. O'Reilly testified18 that MDA's projections of the threat from long-range ballistic missiles from rogue nations was off "by a factor of 10-20."

Secretary Gates and the Obama Administration determined that Iran in recent years had shifted to greater emphasis on developing, deploying, and testing short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in ways that made less sense to focus on deploying only 10 fixed, long-range interceptors in central Europe. Iran had demonstrated in the past couple years the ability to simultaneous test launch a number of short-range ballistic missiles, and had not made progress on developing a long-range ballistic missile. This apparently lead Secretary Gates and the Pentagon to conclude the need to expand current BMD capabilities into southern Europe to deal with the scope of the current Iranian ballistic missile threat, and develop a more flexible plan for a potential long-range Iranian threat over the next decade.

The Bush-Proposed System

The U.S. Department of Defense began deploying long-range missile interceptors in Alaska and California in late 2004 to address long-range missile threats, primarily from North Korea. Currently, the U.S. GMD element of the integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) includes more than two dozen silo-based interceptors in Alaska and several in California. As part of the BMDS capability, the United States also has a number of ground-based radars in operation around the world, space-based assets supporting the BMDS mission, command and control networks throughout the United States and the Pacific, as well as ground-mobile and sea-based systems for shorter-range BMD.

What remained necessary as part of the global BMDS, according to the Bush Administration, was an ability in the European theater to defend against intermediate-to-long-range ballistic missiles launched from Iran. The Department of Defense (DOD) argued it was important to U.S. national security interests to deploy a GMD capability in Europe to optimize defensive coverage of the United States and Europe against potential threats both into Europe and against the United States.

There have not been a large number of intercept flight tests of the deployed GMD element, and the flight test record has been mixed. Nonetheless, the Bush Administration and many U.S. military leaders expressed confidence in the deployed system.19 However, most agree there is the need for further operational testing. Some observers continue to question how much confidence there should be in the system's potential operational or combat effectiveness based on the types of tests conducted and the test results to date.

The current GMD program began flight tests in 2002. This effort was built on several earlier long-range BMD programs with decidedly mixed results themselves since the early 1980s. Since 2002, a number of GMD intercept flight tests have taken place with mixed results.20 In each of these tests, most all other flight test objectives were met. Some have argued the flight test results have demonstrated significant improvement in the system capabilities, but other technical experts have noted these tests are scripted to achieve those successes.

In 2002, the GMD moved to the operational booster and interceptor. The interceptor system flew two developmental tests in 2003 and 2004, and the GMD element of the BMDS was deployed in late 2004 in Alaska and California. Two planned intercept flight tests of the new configuration for December 2004 and February 2005 were not successful. After technical review, the interceptor successfully demonstrated a booster fly-out in 2005. In September 2006, a successful flight test exercise of the GMD element as deployed took place. (Although a missile intercept was not planned as the primary objective of this data collection test, an intercept opportunity occurred and the target warhead was successfully intercepted.) Additional intercept flight tests of the deployed element whose primary objectives were intercepts of long-range ballistic missile targets were originally scheduled for later in 2006, but then subsequently postponed. Then a May 2007 intercept test was scrubbed when the target missile failed to launch as planned. A follow-on attempt scheduled for summer 2007 was completed successfully on September 29, 2007. MDA reported a successful intercept in December 2008, but some were critical of this assessment as the test objective was for the intercept to occur amidst a field of decoys, which decoys failed to deploy from the test target. A January 2010 test against a representative long-range Iranian ballistic missile reportedly failed because of the sea-based X-Band radar.

Supporters and many military officials express confidence in the deployed system, but others continue to question the system's potential effectiveness based on the mixed intercept flight test record. Most observers agreed, however, that additional, successful flight testing remain necessary. Supporters add that a significant number of non-flight tests and activities are conducted that demonstrate with high confidence the ability of the GMD element to perform its intended mission.21

What would the European element of the BMDS have looked like? The Bush proposal was to deploy up to 10 Ground-based Interceptors (GBI) in silos at a former military base in Poland. It should be noted that the proposed GBI for the European GMD site were not identical to the GBIs deployed now in Alaska and California. Although there is significant commonality of hardware, there are some differences. For example, the European GBI would consist of two rocket stages in contrast to the three-stage GBI deployed today.22 This particular two-stage configuration was never tested and was a basis for additional questions about the proposed system's effectiveness. Proponents of the system would argue that the two-stage version is fundamentally the same as the three-stage system, however.23 In Europe, the GBI reportedly would not need the third stage to achieve the range needed to intercept its intended target.24

This issue raised the question for some observers at the time as to whether other U.S. systems designed for shorter or medium-range ballistic missile threats, such as Patriot, THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), or Aegis (sea-based BMD) might be more appropriate for addressing the current and prospective Iranian ballistic missile threat to Europe. DOD's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) argued during the tenure of the Bush Administration that those systems would not have been adequate to counter prospective Iranian ballistic missile threats over the mid-term and longer.

Deployment of the silos and interceptors in Poland was scheduled to begin in 2011 with completion in 2013. This timeline was not certain, however, given the delay in ratifying the BMD agreement. The interceptors were to have been deployed at Redzikowo, near the town of Slopsk in northern Poland. The field of the 10 interceptors itself would likely have comprised an area somewhat larger than a football field. The area of supporting infrastructure was likely to be similar to a small military installation.

In addition, a U.S. X-Band radar (a narrow-beam, midcourse tracking radar), that was being used in the Pacific missile test range, would have been refurbished and transported to a fixed site at a military training base in the Czech Republic. The site currently identified was in the heavily forested Brdy Military Training Area, about 150 kilometers southwest of Prague. The X-Band radar with its large, ball-shaped radome (radar dome) is several stories in height.

A second, transportable forward acquisition radar would have to have been deployed in a country never identified, but closer to Iran. Some European press accounts once mentioned the Caucasus region, but the Bush Administration never publicly indicated where this radar might be located. It remains uncertain how far discussions with any country may have advanced to deploy this radar.

Additionally, the proposed GMD European capability would have included a communications network and support infrastructure (e.g., power generation, security and force protection systems, etc.) A few hundred U.S. personnel would have been stationed there to secure and operate both the interceptor and radar sites. The Bush Administration intended for the United States to have full command authority over the system.

The initial request in FY2008 included $310.4 million for the proposed European GMD across several program elements of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) budget. The Bush Administration estimated the costs for the European site were about $4 billion (FY2007-FY2013), including Operation and Support costs through 2013. Although relatively small in U.S. defense budget terms, the FY2008 request represented a significant commitment to the proposed European system. The FY2009 request was for $712 million, most of which remained unspent because the agreements were not ratified in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Obama Administration's FY2010 request was for $50.5 million, taking into account unspent appropriations from previous years that awaited Polish and Czech ratification.

In 2007, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees asked for studies of alternatives to the Administration's proposed European GMD deployment (see "Congressional Actions"). This classified review was provided to Congress in August 2008. Some, such as Representative Ellen Tauscher, suggested the Administration consider instead a combination of sea-based (Aegis SM-3) and land-based systems (PAC-3, THAAD). Then MDA Director General Henry Obering argued that most of the current Aegis fleet would be required to defend Europe, and that the cost would be considerably greater than the current Bush Administration proposal.25 MDA's assessments, however, assumed the need for 24/7 coverage. Other assessments based on deployment on a contingency basis or crisis reduced significantly the estimated cost of such alternatives.

In May 2009, the U.S.-based EastWest Institute released a report critical of the ability of the European 3rd site to defeat Iranian ballistic missile threats.26 The report concluded that the threat from Iran was not imminent and that the proposed European 3rd site would not be effective against an Iranian ballistic missile threat. Most would agree, however that this report sparked a highly constructive technical debate in open-source literature about collaboration between Iranian and North Korean ballistic missile programs. Similarly, a fact sheet prepared by staff of the House Armed Service Committee said the proposed European 3rd site would not provide any capability against Iran's current ballistic missile inventory.27 Missile defense supporters took strong issue with the report's conclusions.

The Location

In 2002 the Bush Administration began informal talks with the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic over the possibility of establishing missile defense facilities on their territory. Discussion of a more concrete plan—placing radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor launchers in Poland—was reported in the summer of 2006. The issue was increasingly debated in both countries. In January 2007, the U.S. government requested that formal negotiations begin. Agreements were struck with both countries—the Czech Republic in spring 2008 and Poland in summer 2009. Neither country ratified their agreements before the Obama Administration cancelled the program.


Some analysts maintained that in Poland the notion of stationing American GMD facilities was more or less accepted early on in the discussions and that the main questions subsequently revolved around what the United States might provide Warsaw in return. Some Poles believed their country should receive additional security guarantees in exchange for assuming a larger risk of being targeted by rogue state missiles because of the presence of the U.S. launchers on their soil. In addition, many Poles were concerned about Russia's response. Both of the past two Polish governments reportedly requested that the United States provide batteries of Patriot missiles to shield Poland against short- and medium-range missiles.28

Formal negotiations on the base agreement, which required the approval of the Polish parliament, began in early 2007 under the populist-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. As talks began, Civic Alliance (PO), then the leading opposition party, posed questions about the system—particularly the command and control aspects—and urged the government to ensure that it be integrated into a future NATO missile defense program. The former ruling leftist party supported deployment of the missiles, but also called for greater transparency in the decision-making process. The smaller parties of the governing coalition expressed some skepticism, mainly for reasons of sovereignty, and indicated support for a public referendum.29

In snap elections held on October 21, 2007, Poles turned out PiS and replaced it with a center-right two-party coalition led by PO; its leader, Donald Tusk, became prime minister. During the campaign, Tusk indicated that his government would not be as compliant toward the United States as PiS, and that it would seek to bargain more actively on missile defense.

As he left office, former Prime Minister Kaczynski urged the incoming government to approve the missile defense proposal, arguing that an agreement would strengthen relations with the United States. In a post-election news conference, however, Tusk was cautious about the plan: "If we recognize that the anti-missile shield clearly enhances our security, then we will be open to negotiations.... If we recognize, jointly in talks with our partners from the European Union and NATO, that this is not an unambiguous project, then we will think it over." Two weeks later, however, newly minted Defense Minister Bogdan Klich stated that Poland should again "weigh the benefits and costs of this project for Poland. And if that balance results unfavorably, we should draw a conclusion from those results."30 Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski later indicated that the new government would discuss the project with Russia.

Talks between Warsaw and Washington resumed in early 2008. Some observers forecast that the new Polish government would strongly renew the argument for the United States to provide additional air and/or short-range missile defenses.31 On February 2, 2008, during a visit by Sikorski to Washington, DC, U.S. Secretary of State Rice voiced support for strengthening Poland's air defenses. Although there was said to be agreement "in principle" on the missile defense issue, an accord was not signed when Prime Minister Tusk visited the United States in the following month.32

The major sticking point in the negotiations was the question of U.S. assistance for Poland's military "modernization," mainly in the form of PAC-3 air and missile defense. During Prime Minister Tusk's visit to Washington, DC, in March 2008, however, President Bush declared, "Before my watch is over we will have assessed [Poland's] needs and come up with a modernization plan that's concrete and tangible." Nevertheless, the meeting of the two leaders did not result in a deal being struck. In addition, Poland was anxious that the two projects not be too explicitly linked, for fear of further alienating Russia. Concerning the likely future of the program, Polish Ambassador to the United States Robert Kupiecki in spring 2008 told a Polish parliamentary committee that "there are serious reasons to think that the project will be continued" by Bush's successor, no matter whom it might be. A Czech newspaper reported that MDA Director Obering "said [on April 2 that] the United States will be interested in stationing the radar in the Czech Republic even if it does not reach agreement with Poland."33 What this might have meant for the overall system without the interceptors sited in Poland was not clear. However, some suggested that the radar would be useful if used in conjunction with other medium-range BMD systems, such as Aegis, in the absence of GMD interceptors based in Poland. In addition, Bush Administration officials reportedly held discussions on the interceptor basing issue with the government of Lithuania.34 In early July, the Polish media reported that a meeting in Washington between Foreign Minister Sikorski and Secretary Rice failed to produce an agreement.35

In a surprise move on August 14, Polish and U.S. government officials initialed an agreement; the formal accord was signed six days later by Rice and Sikorski. Some observers believe that the negotiations, which had stalled in July, received impetus from concerns over Russia's military incursion into South Ossetia in early August. While some U.S. officials denied an explicit linkage between the two events, U.S. Defense Secretary Gates on August 15 commented that Russia's neighbors have "a higher incentive to stand with us now than they did before, now that they have seen what the Russians have done in Georgia."36 Under the agreement, Poland received from the United States enhanced security guarantees, which Minister Sikorski likened to a "kind of reinforcement of Article 5 [the NATO treaty's mutual defense clause]."37 The United States also pledged to help modernize Poland's armed forces, in part by providing a battery of Patriot air and missile defenses, which reportedly would be re-deployed from Germany and would initially be manned by about 100 U.S. military personnel.

Most public opinion surveys indicated that a majority of Poles disapproved of a missile defense base being established in their country. Most objections appear to have been based on concerns over sovereignty, as well as over the belief that the presence of the system would diminish rather than increase national security and might harm relations with neighboring states and Russia. However, the August 2008 Russian military action in Georgia and its repeated threats to place tactical missiles in Kaliningrad (see below) may have increased support in Poland for the missile shield—and for the battery of Patriot missiles.38

The Polish legislature did not immediately ratify the agreement. Parliamentary speaker Bronislaw Komorowski said that he would not "rush" the vote, and added that "it would be worth knowing if the election result in the U.S. would have an influence on the U.S. attitude towards this program." In an August 19 news conference, Prime Minister Tusk said that he had requested Foreign Minister Sikorski to discuss missile defense with "both candidates John McCain and Barack Obama—and both conversations, although less decisively in the second case, indicated support for the project."39 President Kaczynski's office criticized Prime Minister Tusk for postponing ratification until after elections. Despite the delay, U.S.-Polish negotiations on GMD continued. In addition, the Poles continued to hold high-level discussions with Moscow.40

Shortly after the U.S. elections, President-elect Obama spoke by phone with President Kaczynski; there was apparent confusion on the Polish side over whether or not Obama had made a commitment to continue with the GMD plan. During a meeting with residents of the village near which the interceptors would be based, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe reportedly said that the GMD project would likely be in suspension until such time as the Obama Administration had formulated its policies.41

In a mid-November 2008 interview, Foreign Minister Sikorski estimated the chances of the system's continuation at more than 50%. He added, however, that budgetary pressure might lead to the project being "put on hold"—a regrettable possibility, in his view. Sikorski has also noted that, "[t]here are clauses in the agreement that say it can be cancelled if there's no financing." During an address delivered in Washington in late November, Sikorski said that he hoped the GMD project would continue, as it was a sign of transatlantic cooperation. He also implied that hosting the interceptor base would bolster Poland's security, commenting that "everyone agrees that countries that have U.S. soldiers on their territory do not get invaded."42 Polish President Kacyznski and Foreign Minister Sikorski both have expressed hope publically that the Obama Administration will continue the program. 43

Some observers believed that Polish MPs, like their Czech counterparts, were reluctant to approve a treaty that might not be acted upon. Olaf Osica, a fellow at Warsaw's Natolin European Center, commented that "[o]ne of the worst scenarios for the Polish government would be if the agreement is ratified and then it turns out that Americans are no longer committed to it."44

On May 21, 2009, a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed that the U.S. government intended to proceed with the transference by year's end of a battery of 96 Patriot missiles to Poland, regardless of the status of the treaty regarding the missile defense interceptors. At that time, there was some debate over whether or not the Patriots would be permanently installed or temporarily, for training purposes, and whether they would be armed or unarmed. In October 2009, however, Foreign Minister Sikorski stated that, after cabinet-level discussions with Washington, it was his understanding that the Patriots would be armed. An announcement in January 2010 that the Patriots would be stationed near the border with Kaliningrad sparked protests by Russia (see below).45

In October 2009, during a visit to Warsaw by Vice President Biden, Polish President Donald Tusk announced that Poland would participate in the Obama Administration's new Phased Adaptive Approach BMD program by hosting SM-3 BMD systems.46

Czech Republic

In September 2002, the Czech defense minister, a member of the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), announced that he had "offered the United States the opportunity to deploy the missile defense system on Czech soil."47 In June 2006, inconclusive elections toppled the CSSD government and replaced it with a shaky coalition led by the center-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS). As with the outgoing government, the new one voiced support for GMD. However, the CSSD, now in opposition, began to backpedal on its support as polls showed increasing public skepticism, and by mid-2006 only the ODS was unambiguously backing deployment. When a relatively stable ODS-led government was finally formed in January 2007, the ODS apparently persuaded its coalition partners to support GMD (the Greens made their agreement contingent upon NATO approval). In January 2007, the United States requested that official negotiations be started, and in March the Czech government formally agreed to launch talks.

In October 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Prague to discuss several issues—including the planned radar installation—with Czech leaders. During the visit, he reportedly proposed that, in the interest of transparency, Russia be allowed to station personnel at the radar site. Czech Prime Minister Topolanek had no immediate comment but appeared to concur with Gates's observation that the presence of Russians on Czech territory would have to be approved by Czechs first. Gates also suggested that activation of the missile defense system could be delayed until such time as there was "definitive proof of the threat—in other words, Iranian missile testing and so on." On the same day, however, President Bush delivered a speech in which he called the need for the missile defense project "urgent." Some analysts argued that the U.S. proposal to include Russia might complicate Topolanek's efforts to secure approval for an eventual agreement with the United States.48 On March 19, 2008, a State Department official announced that the Czech Republic had agreed to join in proposing to Russia an agreement that would permit reciprocal inspections of missile defense radar facilities. However, during an April 7 interview, Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg said, "If Russians want to check something on our soil, they will have to speak with us first."49

On December 5, 2007, the Czech Foreign Ministry issued a statement asserting that the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 would not affect Prague's decision to host the radar facility, as the threat had the potential to re-emerge in the future.50 In late January 2008, Jiri Paroubek, leader of the opposition CSSD party, argued that, because of the high and increasing public resistance to the radar, the government should freeze negotiations until after the results of the November 2008 U.S. presidential elections were known. He also urged that Prime Minister Topolanek report on the substance of his upcoming talks on the issue with President Bush.51

During a visit to Washington in late February 2008, Topolanek said that the two sides were "three words" away from an agreement. On April 3, 2008, during the NATO summit in Bucharest, Czech media reported that Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg had announced that Prague and Washington had reached an accord over the terms of the proposed U.S. radar base, and that a treaty would be signed in May. The signing was postponed due to scheduling conflicts, and finally took place on July 8, during a visit by Secretary of State Rice. As part of the deal, the United States reportedly agreed to provide ballistic missile defense—from Aegis system-equipped U.S. Navy vessels—for the Czech Republic.52

The agreement then awaited ratification by the parliament, but approval was not a foregone conclusion. In April 2008, Schwarzenberg said that he thought "the conclusions of the NATO summit regarding US MD should be sufficient for the junior government Green party to vote in favor of the radar." However, a Czech newspaper stated that "[a]t the moment the government lacks at least five votes." Although the Green Party leadership reportedly called for its members to oppose the radar despite the NATO summit declaration, some members reportedly intended to support the project.53 On July 9, 2008, Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar expressed confidence that parliament would ratify the treaty by the end of the year or early in 2009, and added that "it is probable that the [ratification] vote will be after the election in the United States, however, that does not mean that it would be after the new (U.S.) President takes office."

At the end of October, nevertheless, the Czechs announced that ratification would take place after the inauguration of the next President. Prime Minister Topolanek explained that "We want a delay to make sure about the attitude of the new American administration." In mid-November, Miloslav Vlcek, chairman of the lower house of parliament—a member of the opposition CCSD—confirmed that a ratification vote would not be held until after Barack Obama had been inaugurated; in addition, he expressed doubts that the treaty would be approved, and also suggested that the radar deployment might face a constitutional challenge. Although the Czech Senate on November 26 ratified the agreement by a vote of 49-31, it still required approval in the chamber of deputies, where approval was less certain.54 A scheduled March 18, 2009, vote on the treaty was postponed—likely until after the Obama Administration had indicated whether or not it intended to proceed with the plan. Parties on both sides of the issue were hopeful that the new U.S. government would validate their position on missile defense.55

In addition to the changes in the U.S. government, the missile defense issue was being complicated by a crisis in Czech political life. On March 24, 2009, the Czech ruling coalition failed a narrow no-confidence vote, and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek offered his government's resignation. The turnaround came as a complete surprise to most observers, who had reasoned that the various factions and parties would make efforts to patch over their political differences during the time (January-June 2009) that Prague was holding the six-month revolving European Union (EU) presidency. On May 15, President Vaclav Klaus announced the installation of an interim government, intended to complete the Czech EU presidency and govern the country until new parliamentary elections can be held—now set for May 2010. In the meantime, Jan Fischer, head of the caretaker government, stated in a meeting with then-NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that the Czech decision over whether to proceed with the U.S. radar should be the responsibility of the next elected government. 56

The effort to form a new government may be hampered by disagreements within as well as between political parties. A March 2010 poll showed the opposition CSSD with a lead. The political crisis added some uncertainty to the future of the missile defense agreement, as the CSSD opposed the planned radar. Public opinion surveys consistently showed strong (60%-70%) opposition to the plan among Czechs, who shared many of their Polish neighbors' concerns. 57 With memories of the Nazi occupation and the 1968 Soviet crackdown still fresh in the minds of many Czechs, the public has been resistant to the notion of any foreign troops—unfriendly or allied—being stationed on their soil.

In September 2009, as noted above, the Obama Administration canceled the Bush Administration's missile defense proposal and announced its Phased Adaptive Approach. In October 2009, following a visit to Prague by Vice President Biden, Prime Minister Fischer expressed his government's "readiness as a NATO member to participate because the new architecture is going to be NATO-based and the Czech Republic is ready to participate." Discussions concerning what role the Czech Republic might play are ongoing and will not likely be resolved until after a new government is elected in May 2010.58

Policy Issues

U.S. proponents of the missile defense program note that the bases being planned would be part of a limited defensive system, not an offensive one. The missiles would not have explosive payloads, and would be launched only in the event that the United States or its friends or allies in Europe were under actual attack. Critics responded that Europe did not currently face a significant threat from Iran or its potential surrogates, but that Polish and Czech participation in the European GMD element would have created such a threat. If American GMD facilities were installed, they argued, both countries would likely have been targeted by terrorists, as well as by missiles from rogue states—and possibly from Russia—in the event of a future confrontation.

Debate in Poland and the Czech Republic

Some proponents of the proposed GMD European capability system asserted that cooperation would have helped consolidate bilateral relations with the United States. In Poland in particular there is a sense, based in part on historical experience, that the United States is the only major ally that can be relied upon. Therefore, some Poles argue, it would be beneficial to strengthen the relationship by becoming an important U.S. partner through joining the missile defense system. In addition, some Czechs and Poles believe that the missile defense sites would become a prestigious symbol of the two countries' enhanced role in defending Europe. Some would argue that the Czechs and the Poles see this formal U.S. military presence as an ultimate security guarantee against Russia; when asked shortly before Poland's October 21, 2007, parliamentary elections about the missile defense issue, former Prime Minister Kaczynski singled out Russia as a threat.59

Opponents, however, contend that this is not a valid reason for accepting missile defense facilities because the two countries, which joined NATO in 1999, already enjoy a security guarantee through the alliance's mutual defense clause. Polish missile defense skeptics also maintain that their country does not need to improve its bilateral security relationship with the United States because it has already shown its loyalty through its significant contributions to the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Polish and Czech political leaders reasoned that the United States would proceed with missile defense with or without them, so they might as well be on board. However, the radar and missile bases were unpopular among the Czech and Polish public, and any government that agreed to host such facilities might lose political support. In addition, some Czechs and Poles were likely speculating whether it would be worthwhile to expend political capital on the GMD bases, as the issue could become moot. One Polish observer asserted that if the project were discontinued, "Poland will become an international laughingstock."60 A Czech member of parliament noted that, if the U.S. Congress determines not to fund a European arm of missile defense, "[t]he USA will thus solve the problem for us."61

Some Czechs and Poles argued that the extra-territorial status of the proposed bases would impinge upon national sovereignty. However, the Czech government argued that the base "would be under the Czech Republic's jurisdiction."62 In addition, some policymakers raised questions over command and control—who would decide when to push the launch button and what would the notification system be? Polish and Czech government leaders reportedly acknowledged that the time between the detection of the launch of a missile by a hostile regime and the need to fire off an interceptor would be so brief as to preclude government-to-government consultations.

Opponents also cautioned that the interception of a nuclear-tipped missile over Polish or Czech territory could result in a rain of deadly debris. Supporters argue that an enemy missile would not be intercepted over Eastern Europe, and that even if it were, the tremendous kinetic energy of impact would cause both projectiles to be obliterated and any debris burnt upon atmospheric reentry. Skeptics point out, however, that testing of these systems is never performed over populated areas.

European/Russian Response

The proposed U.S. missile defense systems—of both the Bush and Obama Administrations—encountered resistance in some European countries and beyond. Critics claim that the program is another manifestation of American unilateralism. Supporters, however, counter that the establishment of a missile defense system would protect Europe as well as the United States.


Some European leaders have asserted that the Bush Administration did not consult sufficiently with European allies or with Russia on its GMD plans. Former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier faulted the Bush Administration for failing to adequately discuss the proposal with affected countries. Former French President Chirac cautioned against the creation of "new divisions in Europe." Bush Administration officials, however, maintained that these arguments were disingenuous, as they had held wide-ranging discussions on GMD with European governments, and with Russia, both bilaterally and in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council.63 In addition, critics charged that establishing a European GMD base to counter Iranian missiles implied a tacit assumption on the part of the Bush Administration that diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile aspirations were doomed to failure, and that Iran's future leaders would be undeterred by the prospect of nuclear annihilation. Finally, an analyst with the Swedish Transnational Foundation Research Center has argued that the U.S. missile defense system is being built in order to enable the use of a first strike.64

Europeans also have raised questions about the technical feasibility of the program as well as its cost-effectiveness. According to a wire service report, "Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called the U.S. [missile defense] plan an 'incomprehensible' waste of money."65

Other European leaders, however, including the former prime ministers of Denmark and Britain, indicated that they supported the missile defense project as a means to protect Europe from threats from rogue states. In addition, some European allies do not appear to be averse to the missile defense concept per se. Foreign Minister Steinmeier indicated that Germany and other countries were interested in building a comparable system, but lacked the technological know-how.66


NATO also has been deliberating strategic missile defenses. A feasibility study of such a program called for in the 2002 Prague Summit was completed in 2005. In the final communiqué of their 2006 Riga summit, NATO leaders stated that the alliance study had concluded that long-range BMD is "technically feasible within the limitations and assumptions of the study," and called for "continued work on the political and military implications of missile defence for the Alliance including an update on missile threat developments." Supporters contended that the U.S. facilities intended for placement in Eastern Europe would be a good fit—and therefore not inconsistent with—any future NATO missile defense. However, other policymakers recommended that the establishment of any anti-missile system in Europe should proceed solely under NATO auspices rather than on a bilateral basis with just two NATO partners. A Bush Administration official declared that "the more NATO is involved in [GMD], the better."67

Some observers have suggested that the Bush Administration chose not to work primarily through NATO because consensus agreement on the system was unlikely. However, in mid-June 2007, alliance defense ministers did agree to conduct a study of a complementary "bolt-on" anti-missile capability that would protect the southeastern part of alliance territory that would not be covered by the planned U.S. interceptors. Bush Administration officials interpreted the move as an implied endorsement of the U.S. GMD plan and an adaptation of NATO plans to fit the proposed U.S. system. In addition, former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated "The roadmap on missile defense is now clear.... It's practical, and it's agreed by all."68

The Bush Administration hoped that NATO would endorse missile defense at its 2008 summit meeting, held April 2-4 in Bucharest, Romania.69 The Summit Declaration stated that the alliance acknowledges that ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat. It further affirmed that missile defense is part of a "broader response," and that the proposed U.S. system would make a "substantial contribution" to the protection of the alliance. It declared that the alliance is "exploring ways to link [the U.S. assets] with current NATO efforts" to couple with "any future NATO-wide missile defense architecture." The declaration also directed the development, by the time of the 2009 summit, of "options" for anti-missile defense of any alliance territory that would not be covered by the planned U.S. installations. These options would be prepared "to inform any future political decision." In addition, the document declared support for ongoing efforts to "strengthen NATO-Russia missile defense cooperation," and announced readiness to look for ways to link "United States, NATO and Russian missile defense systems at an appropriate time." Finally, alliance members stated that they are "deeply concerned" over the "proliferation risks" implied by the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of Iran and North Korea, and called upon those countries to comply with pertinent UN Security Council resolutions.70

The Bush Administration interpreted the Summit Declaration as an endorsement of its missile defense project; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the statement as a "breakthrough document." Concerning the question of whether ballistic missiles from rogue states were a threat, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley declared, "I think that debate ended today."71 Representative Ellen Tauscher, then Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, welcomed "NATO's acknowledgment of the contribution that the long-range interceptor site could make to Alliance security" and to make "cooperation with NATO a cornerstone of its missile defense proposal."72

In the final communiqué of their December 3, 2008, meeting, the foreign ministers of NATO member states reiterated the language on missile defense that had been included in the Bucharest summit declaration, while also noting "as a relevant development the signature of agreements by the Czech Republic and the Republic of Poland with the United States regarding those assets." The communiqué also called upon Moscow "to refrain from confrontational statements, including assertions of a sphere of influence, and from threats to the security of Allies and Partners, such as the one concerning the possible deployment of short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region." (see below.) The latter statement was likely included at Warsaw's insistence.73

NATO's 2009 summit was held in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, in early April. The summit declaration "reaffirmed the conclusions of the Bucharest Summit about missile defence," but noted that there was more work to be done. Specifically, it recommended that "missile threats should be addressed in a prioritised manner" that addresses "the level of imminence of the threat and the level of acceptable risk." It tasked the Council in Permanent Session with studying and making recommendations on "architecture alternatives," including usage of the ongoing Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense program, which is currently intended to protect deployed NATO forces.74

In December 2009, NATO foreign ministers commented favorably on the Obama Administration's missile defense plan and reiterated the alliance's willingness to cooperate with Russia on the issue, stating that they reaffirmed "the Alliance's readiness to explore the potential for linking United States, NATO and Russian missile defence systems at an appropriate time. The United States' new approach provides enhanced possibilities to do this." The Russian media reported that NATO and Russia had formed a working group to study the issue. In a speech shortly thereafter, NATO Secretary General Ander Fogh Rasmussen said that he hoped the alliance and Russia would have a joint system by 2020. In March, Rasmussen touted missile defense as an "opportunity for Europe to demonstrate again to the United States that the allies are willing and able to invest in our common defense." Observers note, however, that some European leaders remain unconvinced of the necessity of an extensive missile defense system for the continent.75


The Bush Administration's proposed missile defense program in Europe significantly affected U.S.-Russian relations. At the February 2007 Wehrkunde security conference in Munich, then-Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly criticized the proposal, maintaining that it would lead to "an inevitable arms race." Russia threatened to abrogate the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and also announced that it had suspended compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. 76 Some U.S. and European officials dismissed Russia's alleged concerns and noted that Moscow had known of the Bush Administration's plan for years and had even been invited to participate.77 GMD proponents maintained that the interceptors were intended to take out launched Iranian missiles aimed at European or American targets and could not possibly act as a deterrent against Russia, which has hundreds of missiles and thousands of warheads. The chief of the Czech general staff noted that "by simple arithmetic, Russian generals can see that U.S. missile defenses cannot imperil Moscow's arsenal." Some Russians contended, however, that the modest GMD facilities planned for Eastern Europe were likely just the harbinger of a more ambitious program.

Russian officials have also argued that North Korean or Iranian missiles would not likely enter European airspace, and that the real reason for GMD is to emplace U.S. radar in eastern Europe to monitor Russian missile sites and naval operations. A Czech military officer dismissed the charge of electronic espionage as "absolute nonsense," arguing that "the radar monitors the already launched missiles, and it cannot monitor what is going on the ground"—a task that is already being performed by U.S. surveillance satellites.78

Some argued that Russia has other motives for raising alarms about the U.S. missile defense system: to foment discord among NATO member states, and to draw attention away from Russia's suppression of domestic dissent, its aggressive foreign policy actions, and its nuclear technology cooperation with Iran. Observers noted that Russia blustered about NATO expansion, too, and argued that Russia's veiled threats actually stiffened resolve in Prague and Warsaw. Some observers pointed out, however, that Russian acceptance of NATO expansion was conditioned on a tacit understanding that NATO or U.S. military expansion into the new member states would not occur. The European GMD in this regard is seen as unacceptable to Russia.

On June 7, 2007, during the G-8 meeting in Germany, Putin offered to partner with the United States on missile defense, and suggested that a Soviet-era radar facility in Azerbaijan be used to help track and target hostile missiles that might be launched from the Middle East. President Bush responded by calling the proposal an "interesting suggestion," and welcomed the apparent policy shift. The following day, Putin suggested that GMD interceptors be "placed in the south, in U.S. NATO allies such as Turkey, or even Iraq ... [or] on sea platforms." Military and political representatives from both countries met to discuss the proposal, but some experts pointed out that Azerbaijan is technically not the ideal place to locate the radar because it would be too close to potential Iranian launch sites; they also argued that the radar is outmoded.

In the meantime, Putin urged the United States not to deploy elements of GMD until his offer had been examined. One week later, however, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated that even if the United States were to accept Russia's offer to share use of the Azeri radar, that facility would be regarded as "an additional capability" to complement the proposed GMD sites planned for Europe.79 In late July 2007, MDA Director Obering said the United States was looking at the proposal very seriously. He said the Azeri radar could be useful for early detection of missile launches, but that it does not have the tracking ability to guide an interceptor missile to a target—which the proposed Czech radar would be able to do.

At a July 1-2, 2007, meeting in Kennebunkport, ME, Putin expanded on his counterproposal by recommending that missile defense be coordinated through offices in Brussels and Moscow. He also suggested the possible use of radar in south Russia and said that cooperation could be expanded to other European countries through the use of the NATO-Russia council—eliminating, he added, the need for facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. President Bush reportedly responded positively to Putin's new proposal, but insisted on the need for the Eastern European sites.80

Despite ongoing discussions over the issue, Russian criticism of the program continued, edged, at times, with sarcasm. During an October 2007 visit to Moscow by Secretaries Gates and Rice, President Putin remarked "of course we can sometime in the future decide that some anti-missile defense system should be established somewhere on the moon." Putin later likened the U.S. placement of the missile defense facilities in central Europe to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis—a comparison disputed by U.S. officials. In late November 2007, Russia rejected a written U.S. proposal on the project, arguing that it failed to include the points Secretary Gates had discussed a month earlier, including "joint assessment of threats, ... Russian experts' presence at missile shield's sites, [and] readiness to keep the system non-operational if there is no actual missile threat."81 In December, the chief of Russia's army suggested that the launching of U.S. missile defense interceptors against Iranian missiles might inadvertently provoke a counter launch of Russian ICBMs aimed at the United States. However, critics assert that a Russian counterstrike could not be prompted so easily and mistakenly. In February 2008, Putin reiterated earlier warnings that, if construction commenced on the missile defense facilities, Russia would re-target ICBMs toward the missile sites.82

During President Bush's post-Bucharest meeting with Putin at the Russian resort of Sochi, the two leaders reportedly sought to find common ground on missile defense; they agreed to introduce greater transparency in the project, and to explore possible confidence-building measures. In the meantime, Russia remains opposed to the proposed European bases. The two sides agreed to "intensify" their dialogue on missile defense cooperation. After the meeting, however, Iran's ambassador to Poland warned that if the missile defense system is installed, "the United States will acquire supremacy over Russian nuclear forces."83

Following the signing of the U.S.-Poland agreement in August 2008, Russia once more vociferously objected to the missile defense plan. On August 16, a highly placed Russian general officer stated that Poland's acceptance of the interceptors could make it a target for a nuclear attack. Later, newly inaugurated President Dmity Medvedev reiterated Russia's conviction that the planned interceptors constituted a threat, and added that Moscow "will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means." On August 20, it was also announced that the governments of Russia and Belarus had launched discussions on the establishment of a joint air defense system; the move was interpreted by ITAR-TASS as a "retaliatory measure" in response to the planned U.S. missile defense system.84

On November 5, 2008—the day after the U.S. presidential election—President Medvedev stated that Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missiles to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania, if the so-called "European Capability" (EC) were built. In late January 2009, however, the Russian media reported that Moscow had "suspended" plans to move short-range missiles to Kaliningrad because the Obama Administration was not "pushing ahead" with the EC deployment. However, there were reports that President Medvedev at the July 2009 G-8 (Group of eight highly industrialized nations) summit might have intimated that the Iskander deployment was still an option.

On February 7, 2009, at the annual Wehrkunde conference, Vice President Biden stated that "we will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability…. We will do so in consultation with our NATO allies and Russia."85 However, the Obama Administration also indicated that it was prepared to open talks with Tehran if it is willing to shelve its nuclear program and renounce support of terrorism. During a February 10 visit to Prague, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that any change in U.S. policy on missile defense would depend on Iran, but that "we are a long, long way from seeing such evidence of any behavior change" in Iran.86

In early March 2009, the media reported that President Obama had sent a letter to President Medvedev offering to stop the development of the EC if Russia cooperated to halt Iran's nuclear weapons and missile programs. President Obama denied such a quid pro quo, stating that "what I said in the letter was that, obviously, to the extent that we are lessening Iran's commitment to nuclear weapons, then that reduces the pressure for, or the need for a missile defense system. In no way does that diminish my commitment to [the security of ] Poland, the Czech Republic and other NATO members."87

In a joint statement issued at their "get acquainted" meeting on April 1, 2009, Presidents Obama and Medvedev acknowledged that differences remained in their views toward the placement of U.S. missile defenses in Europe, but pledged to examine "new possibilities for mutual international cooperation in the field of missile defense." Later that month, however, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov charged that "[U.S.] work in the missile defense has intensified, including in the NATO format." Shortly thereafter, in a Russian media interview, Ryabkov was asked to comment on U.S.-Russia-NATO cooperation on missile defense through the use of Russian radar installations. He explained that the Russian offer was predicated on the fulfillment of "certain preliminary stages," including the U.S. cancellation of the EC program, followed by a threat assessment, and then by political and economic measures to eliminate the threat.88

In early June 2009, a Russian official indicated that Moscow would not likely be willing to reduce its nuclear weapons arsenal unless the United States were to scrap plans to establish its missile defense site in Poland and the Czech Republic. However, the Russian government also stated that it still might deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad if the United States were to transfer Patriot missile batteries to Poland. 89

At the July 2009 U.S.-Russia summit, the two presidents declared in a joint statement that their governments "plan to continue the discussion concerning the establishment of cooperation in responding to the challenge of ballistic missile proliferation," and that both countries would task experts "to work together to analyze the ballistic missile challenges of the 21st century and to prepare appropriate recommendations, giving priority to the use of political and diplomatic methods." One day after the meeting, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that if the Obama administration decided to pursue missile defense unilaterally, Russia might be reluctant to reduce its nuclear arsenal.90

As noted above, in September 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new program for a European-based BMD. In Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev called the change "a responsible move," adding that "we value the responsible approach of the U.S. President to our agreement. I am ready to continue our dialogue."91 In addition, Moscow appeared to back away from its earlier signal that it might deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad. In November, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine quashed rumors that the United States had been discussing with Kiev deployment of missile defense facilities in Ukraine.

Some analysts on both sides of the Atlantic, however, argued that cancelling the Bush Administration's BMD plan could be viewed by Moscow as a climb-down resulting from Russia's incessant diplomatic pressure. 92 Further, some critics faulted the White House for not having gained anything from Moscow in exchange for its seeming walk-back on missile defense. However, Obama Administration supporters maintained that Russia likely would not wish to reveal an obvious quid pro quo immediately; Administration backers advised critics to wait and see what actions Russia takes, particularly with respect to cooperation with the United States on policy toward Iran.

Before long, however, Russia began to criticize the new U.S. plan for missile defense against Iran, reviving the argument that it would compromise Russia's nuclear forces. In late December 2009, Prime Minister Putin tied discussions over missile defense to the renegotiation of START. He asserted that Moscow would need to beef up its offensive nuclear weapons forces in order to "preserve a strategic balance" with the planned U.S. missile defense system. A State Department spokesperson acknowledged the relationship between offensive and defensive missile capabilities, but maintained that the two countries should discuss missile defense "in a separate venue." The Administration also reaffirmed that it "will continue to reject any negotiated restraints on U.S. ballistic missile defenses."93 Observers assert that Putin's intervention would not likely affect the disarmament talks. Regarding missile defense, in January 2010 Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia had "told the U.S. and NATO that it is necessary to start everything from scratch—to jointly analyze the origin and types of missile proliferation risks and threats."94

Also in January 2010, the United States and Poland announced that, under the terms of the August 2008 agreement between Warsaw and Washington, a battery of U.S. Patriot missiles—along with a crew of about 100 U.S. service personnel—would be rotated from Germany to Poland in June. The short-range air- and missile defense Patriots are to be stationed close to Poland's border with Kaliningrad. Foreign Minister Lavrov claimed that he "doesn't understand" the apparent need for Poland to defend itself from Russia. In response to the planned deployment of the Patriots, a Russian official indicated that Moscow might strengthen its Baltic fleet. In February 2010, a Polish official expressed doubts that the Patriots would be stationed permanently in Poland. 95

On February 4, 2010, the U.S. and Romanian governments announced that Bucharest had agreed to host U.S. short-to-medium-range interceptor missiles to extend missile defense into southern Europe as part of the PAA. The Romanians reportedly hope that the deployment will help cement bilateral ties, as well as protect Romanian territory—the Bush Administration's plan would have covered only the western part of the country from a possible Iranian missile launch. A State Department spokesperson and Romanian President Traian Basescu both stated that the system was not intended to guard against Russia.

Russian officials, including the Chief of Russia's General Staff, countered that the missile defense system was indeed directed at Russia, and that the proposed deployment likely would delay negotiations in arms talks between Russia and the United States. Moscow also expressed vexation over the possibility of U.S Aegis BMD ships patrolling the Black Sea. Nevertheless, commenting on Iran's stepped-up uranium enrichment activities, the head of Russia's National Security Council appeared to confirm international concerns about whether Iran's eventual goals are scientific or military; he stated that international doubts about Iran's intentions "are fairly well-grounded." Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's Ambassador to NATO, stated, "Maybe it is against Iran, but this system could be aimed against any other country, including against Russia's strategic nuclear potential." The Ambassador took a rather truculent attitude toward the planned deployment. Writing in Twitter, Rogozin, who reportedly has a reputation for being outspoken, responded to the Romanian announcement by stating "The Americans and their allies want to surround the cave of the Russian bear? ... How many times must they be reminded how dangerous this is!? The bear will come out and kick the ass of these pathetic hunters."96

Some analysts have argued, however, that the interceptors planned for Romania would not be able to intercept a Russian ICBM. A Russian military analyst, writing in RIA Novosti, conceded that the Obama-proposed SM-3 interceptors stationed anywhere in Europe would be incapable of downing Russian long-range ballistic missiles. He argued that Moscow's main objections were that (1) it had not been consulted on the decision, and (2) that the U.S. system might be subject to change. On the first point, a spokesperson for the Romanian Foreign Ministry maintained that Russia had been kept in the loop, stating that "information coming from our American partners indicate that in the time that followed the September 2009 announcement by the US president, the US had detailed consultations with Russia concerning their plans for the anti-missile defence system." Also, on February 16, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher stated that Russia had been told of the planned deployment to Romania. On the latter point, Russia is concerned that the SM-3 interceptors could eventually be upgraded to bring down ICBMs without Russia's knowledge, as the United States is not required to share information about its missile defense system.97

The decision to deploy SM-3 missiles to Romania touched off a flurry of reactions in the region. On February 12, Bulgaria's Prime Minister announced that he supported participation in the U.S. missile defense system; the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria confirmed that discussions on such a deployment were in their early stages with Bulgaria—and with other countries. Bulgaria's foreign minister noted that the missile shield would also protect Russia from the threat of Iranian missiles. Russia, however, professed that it had been caught unawares by the announcement; Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that "we have already questioned our US partners in Washington ... as to the meaning of this, and why we have this Bulgarian surprise after the Romanian surprise." Russian NATO Ambassador Rogozin tweeted that "Bulgarians are our brothers, but politically they are promiscuous." A few days later, Russia turned aside an apparent offer by Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova, to host Russian Iskander missiles. On February 23, the Moldovan government issued a statement in support of the U.S. plan to extend the missile shield to Romania.98

It has been argued that the new U.S. focus on southern Europe is likely viewed with less alarm by Russia than the former plan, which included Poland and the Czech Republic. However, a member of the Russian Duma claimed that the possible deployments do not square with the Obama administration's intention to improve relations with the Russian Federation. Konstantin Kosachyov, Chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, stated on February 16 that "the most regrettable thing is that these plans [to deploy missile defense facilities] do not fit the well known 'reset' program in Russian-American relations in any way."99

On February 18, it was reported that the Russian government would again seek to tie the missile defense issue to ongoing nuclear arms talks with the United States, contrary to the July 2009 agreement reached by Presidents Obama and Medvedev not to link the two. However, the United States refused to accede to the Russian position as it has since the 1980s on this point. On March 26, the two governments announced that they had concluded a new START treaty. The media report that the agreement acknowledges that there is a relationship between offensive and defensive systems, but does not place any limits on missile defense or on the expanded system that has been proposed by the Obama Administration.100

Congressional Actions

Fiscal Year 2010

The Obama Administration requested $50.5 million for the European 3rd site. This is in addition to some $618 million that remained available from FY2009 appropriations, pending Polish and Czech ratification of the missile defense agreements reached with the United States.

In June 2009, the House Armed Services Committee marked up H.R. 2647, the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The committee reserves $343.1 million from funds available for the MDA in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 to develop missile defenses in Europe for one of two purposes:

(1) either the Secretary of Defense continue with research, development, test and evaluation of the proposed radar and interceptor site in Poland and the Czech Republic pending Czech and Polish ratification, and certification by the Secretary of Defense that the proposed interceptors will be operationally effective, or

(2) the Secretary may pursue development, testing, procurement and deployment of an alternative integrated missile defense system to protect Europe from threats posed by all types of ballistic missiles. This option is conditional on certification from the Secretary of Defense that the alternative is consistent with NATO efforts to address ballistic missile defense threats, that any alternative addresses ballistic missile threats to Europe in a prioritized manner that includes the level of imminence of the threat and level of risk, and that any alternative be cost-effective, technically reliable and operationally available in protecting Europe and the United States.

The House approved the FY2010 defense authorization bill (H.R. 2647) on June 25, 2009, including the above provision on the European 3rd site.

The Senate Armed Services Committee marked up its version of the defense authorization bill in July 2009 (S. 1390). It included $50 million to fund the European 3rd site as requested. The Senate approved this amount in passing S. 1390 on July 23, 2009.

The FY2010 defense authorization bill was signed into law (P.L. 111-84) in October 2009. It included the $50.5 million requested by the Obama Administration for the European site.

The House Appropriations Committee provided $50.5 million as requested in the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), and rescinded $114.7 million previously appropriated for the European site. On July 30, the House passed its version of the defense appropriations bill, which included the committee recommendations. The Senate Appropriations Committee provided $50.5 million for the European BMD program in its version of H.R. 3326, which was approved on September 10, 2009.

The FY2010 defense appropriations bill was signed into law (P.L. 111-118) in December 2009 after President Obama's announced change to the Bush proposed European site. In a "joint explanatory statement" by House and Senate negotiators who drafted the final language of the bill, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was encouraged to spend at least $50 million in FY2010 funds to continue to develop the 2-stage GBI, and directed DOD to submit a plan to Congress for developing that GBI and how MDA would use that development to modernize the GMD system deployed in Alaska and California.

Fiscal Year 2009

For FY2009, the Bush Administration requested $712 million for the European GMD Element. The reported cost of the European element is $4 billion (FY2008-FY2013), according to the Administration, which includes fielding and Operation and Support costs.

On May 14, 2008, the House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY2009 defense authorization bill (H.R. 5658). The committee provided $341 million for the proposed European GMD site, reducing the total by $371 million ($231 million in R&D funding and $140 million in Military Construction). The committee expressed concerns about the slower-than-expected pace of the Iranian long-range missile program, the effectiveness of the GMD system based on program testing results, the ability to spend the proposed funds, and the lack of signed and ratified agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic.

On April 30, 2008, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY2009 defense authorization bill (S. 3001). The committee provided full funding for the European GMD Element, but noted that certain conditions have to be met before those funds could be expended: (1) military construction funds cannot be spent until the European governments give final approval (including parliamentary approval) of any deployment agreement, and 45 days have elapsed after Congress has received a required report that provides an independent analysis of the proposed European site and alternatives, and (2) acquisition and deployment funds, other than for long-lead procurement, cannot be expended until the Secretary of Defense (with input from the Dir., Operational Test and Operations) certifies to Congress that the proposed interceptor has demonstrated a high probability of accomplishing its mission in an operationally effective manner.

President Bush signed a continuing resolution into law on September 30, 2008 (P.L. 110-329), which incorporated defense appropriations and authorizing language for FY2009. According to a Press Release from the Senate Appropriations Committee dated September 24, 2008, Congress provided $467 million for the European BMD sites and development and testing of the two-stage interceptor. According to authorizing language,101 funding for the Czech radar and site will then be available only after the Czech Parliament has ratified the basing agreement reached with the United States and a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to allow for such deployment and stationing of U.S. troops is in place. Funding for the Polish interceptor site will only be available after both the Czech and Polish parliaments ratify the agreements reached with the United States, and a SOFA with Poland is also in place for the site. Additionally, deployment of operational GBIs is prohibited until after the Secretary of Defense (after receiving the views of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation) submits to Congress a report certifying that the proposed interceptor to be deployed "has demonstrated, through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, a high probability of working in an operationally effective manner and the ability to accomplish the mission."

Fiscal Year 2008

In its report on the FY2008 defense authorization bill, the House Armed Services Committee cited its concern from last year (FY2007) that investment in the European BMD site was premature.102 In part, the Committee's concerns focus on the need to complete scheduled integrated end-to-end testing of the system now deployed in Alaska and California. Additionally, the Committee notes its reluctance to fund the European site without formal agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic and without knowing the terms under which the estimated $4 billion program costs would be expended. Therefore, the Committee recommended that no funds be approved for FY2008 for construction of the European GMD site.103 The Committee did, however, recommend $42.7 million to continue procurement of ten additional GMD interceptors that could be deployed to the European site or for expanded inventory at the GMD site in Alaska (as noted in MDA budget documents). Also, the Committee expressed concern over the testing plan and risk reduction strategy for the proposed two-stage GMD interceptor for Europe. The Committee further directed that two studies be done: (1) the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State are to submit a report to Congress by January 31, 2008, to include how the Administration will obtain NATO's support for the European GMD proposal, and how other missile defense capabilities such as Aegis and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) could contribute to the missile defense protection of Europe; and (2) an independent assessment of European missile defense options should be done in a timely manner.

In the Senate defense authorization bill, the Armed Services Committee recommended limiting the availability of funding for the European GMD site until two conditions were met: (1) completion of bilateral agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic; and (2) 45 days have elapsed following the receipt by Congress of a report from an FFRDC (federally funded research and development center) to conduct an independent assessment of options for missile defense of Europe.104 The Committee recommended a reduction of $85 million for site activation and construction activities for the proposed European GMD deployment. The Committee also limited FY2008 funding for acquisition or deployment of operational interceptor missiles for the European system until the Secretary of Defense certified to Congress that the proposed interceptor to be deployed had demonstrated, through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, that it had a high probability of working in an operationally effective manner. The Committee noted that the proposed 2-stage version of the interceptor has not been developed and was not scheduled to be tested until 2010.105 Therefore, the Committee noted, it could be several years before it is known if the proposed interceptor will work in an operationally effective manner. The Committee indicated that it would not limit site surveys, studies, analysis, planning and design for the proposed European GMD site, but that construction and deployment could not take place prior to ratification of formal bilateral agreements, which MDA estimates would not take place before 2009. Finally, the Committee notes there were a number of near-term missile defense options to provide defense of Europe against short-range, medium-range and future intermediate-range ballistic missiles, such as the Patriot PAC-3, the Aegis BMD system, and THAAD.

In floor debate, the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Sessions (90-5) to the defense authorization bill stating that the policy of the United States is to develop and deploy an effective defense system against the threat of an Iranian nuclear missile attack against the United States and its European allies. Further debate and passage of the defense authorization bill was postponed at the time by the Majority Leader until after debate over Iraq war funding.

On November 13, 2007, President Bush signed into law the FY2008 Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 3222; P.L. 110-116). This bill eliminated the proposed $85 million for FY2008 for the European missile defense site construction, but permitted $225 million for studies, analyses, etc. of the proposed European GMD element.

The House passed the FY2008 National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1585) on May 17, 2007. The Senate passed its version on October 1, 2007. House and Senate negotiators filed the defense authorization report on December 6, 2007. The House adopted the report on December 12, 2007. The Conference Report contained a number of provisions pertaining to the proposed European GMD element. First, it cut the $85 million requested for site activation and construction activities. This left about $225 million to fund surveys, studies, analysis, etc. related to the European GMD element in FY2008. Second, the Conference Report required an independent assessment of the proposed deployment of long-range missile defense interceptors and associated radar in Europe and a second independent analysis of missile defense options in Europe before site construction and activation could begin. The conferees noted that if the Polish and Czech governments gave final approval to any successfully completed agreements during FY2008, the Department of Defense had the option of submitting a reprogramming request for those funds ($85 million) to begin site construction in Europe. Third, the conferees strongly supported the need to work closely and in coordination with NATO on missile defense issues. Finally, the defense authorization bill required that the Secretary of Defense certify that the proposed two-stage interceptor "has demonstrated, through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, a high probability of working in an operationally effective manner" before funds could be authorized for the acquisition or deployment of operational missiles for the European site.



Some were calling for such an effort in Europe before the Administration formally requested funding in early 2007. For instance, in October 2006, Sen. Sessions noted NATO steps in developing an Alliance-wide theater missile defense capability, and encouraged the deployment of a U.S. long-range missile defense system in Europe. See "U.S. Missile Defense Site in Europe Needed to Support Alliance Strategy," Space News, October 9, 2006, p. 19.


The other two GMD sites are in Alaska and California.


NATO Chief: US Missile Shift a 'Positive Step.' AP Newswire. September 17, 2009.


Czech, Polish Press Slam US Axing of Missile Shield. AFP. September 18, 2009. Eastern Europe Rues Diminished Ties To US After Missile Program Scrapped. The Canadian Press. September 17, 2009.


Withdrawal From Radar No Cooling of Czech-U.S. Relations – Klaus. CTK Daily News. September 17, 2009.


USA Making Its European Allies Uncertain – Czech ODS Senators. CTK Daily News. September 17, 2009. Ties unharmed by US decision on shield: Poland, Czech. September 17, 2009.


Obama Cancels Bush Plan For European Missile Shield That Had Soured Relations With Russia. AP Newswire. September 17, 2009. Medvedev Praises Obama's Move On Europe Missile Shield. RIA Novosti. September 17, 2009.


"Rep. Ellen Tauscher Applauds House Passage of Defense Authorization Bill," Press Release, Office of Rep. Ellen Tauscher, December 12, 2007.


Andrew Gray, "U.S. to Review Europe Missile Shield Under Obama," Reuters News, January 15, 2009.


Defense Daily, January 16, 2009.






CRS Report RS22758, Iran's Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview, by [author name scrubbed].


David Sanger and Steven Lee Meyers "Details in Military Notes Led to Shift on Iran, U.S. Says," New York Times, December 6, 2007


"Iran Report Won't Slow Missile Defense," CBS News, Brussels, Belgium, December 6, 2007.


"U.S.: Iran Still Poses Missile Threat," Associated Press, December 6, 2007.


 There are reports that Iran is developing other medium-range ballistic missiles with ranges greater than those now deployed, but short of what is considered ICBM range (i.e., more than 5,500 kilometers).


House Armed Services Committee, Missile Defense Fact Sheet, H.R. 2647, the FY10 NDAA, prepared by the HASC Staff, June 16, 2009, http://armedservices.house.gov/apps/list/press/armedsvc_dem/md061609.shtml .


For instance: (1) General Cartwright, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, said the July 4, 2006 North Korean missile tests spurred a limited operational activation of the BMD System. "We learned that the ballistic missile defense system, procedures, and personnel performed well, and demonstrated a credible operational missile defense capability for homeland defense." Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 21, 2007; (2) Admiral Mullen, on his nomination hearing to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he believes the U.S. "Has a viable initial operational capability and we are maturing the system toward a full operational capability." "Answers to Advanced Policy Questions," Senate Armed Services Committee, July 26, 2007; and (3) Dr. Charles McQueary, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, said: "I can state that the ballistic missile defense system has demonstrated a limited capability against a simple foreign threat. Coupled with the successes of other element-level testing and MDA's integrated ground tests, the BMD system is definitely maturing. My assessment is bolstered by the fact that the MDA is increasing the operational realism of each successive test." Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 11, 2007.


Two tests in March and October 2002 using an older interceptor successfully intercepted their intended targets. Three flight tests (IFT-10, IFT-13c and IFT-14) using the GBI in planned intercept attempts failed in those attempts for various reasons: (1) December 2002, the kill vehicle failed to deploy; (2) December 2004, the GBI launch aborted due to a software error in the interceptor; and (3) February 2005, the GBI did not launch due to problems with the test facility launch equipment. In the May 2007 flight test, the target missile second stage booster failed in flight, so the interceptor was not launched as planned. In September 2006 and 2007 successful intercepts were achieved.


The Bush Administration maintained that since 2002 it has fielded a long-range BMD capability where none existed previously. Furthermore, the United States now has operationally capable upgraded early warning radars, command, control and battle management systems, Navy cruisers and destroyers capable of conducting long-range ballistic missile search and track missions, and about 20 GBI fielded in Alaska and California. This element of the BMDS was transitioned to alert in July 2006 when North Korea launched several ballistic missiles, including a long-range ballistic missile.


Boost Vehicle Plus. Report to Congress. March 1, 2007. Missile Defense Agency. For Official Use Only.


The Orbital Boost Vehicle 2 (OBV/2) is a modification of the existing, tested OBV/3 achieved by removing the 3rd stage from the existing missile.


More accurately, according to MDA, two stages provide the enhanced performance and burnout velocity required for the mission.


See http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1539/how-many-aegis-ships-to-defend-nato.


Iran's Nuclear and Missile Potential: A Joint Threat Assessment by U.S. and Russian Technical Experts, EastWest Institute. See http://docs.ewi.info/JTA.pdf.


House Armed Services Committee, Missile Defense Fact Sheet, H.R. 2647, the FY10 NDAA, prepared by the HASC Staff, June 16, 2009, http://armedservices.house.gov/apps/list/press/armedsvc_dem/md061609.shtml.


U.S. Missiles in Poland—Risks and Benefits. Rzeczpospolita. In BBC European Monitoring. November 15, 2005. Sikorski Exit Is Bad For MD Bid. Oxford Analytica. February 8, 2007.


Polish Politician Weighs Up Pros and Cons Of US Radar Plan. Gazeta Wyborcza, February 5, 2007. In: BBC Monitoring European. February 6, 2007. See also: Don't Take Poland For Granted. Radek Sikorski [former Polish Defense Minister and current Foreign Minister]. Washington Post. March 21, 2007.


Poland's Likely Next Prime Minister Open To Talks On U.S. Missile Defense. Poland Business Newswire. November 6, 2007. Poland's New Defense Chief Wants To Reconsider U.S. Missile Defense Request. AP. November 19, 2007.


Poland Said Likely To Launch Tough Missile Defence Talks With USA. Gazeta Wyborcza [in: BBC Monitoring European.] December 5, 2007.


"Poland Says U.S. Shield a 'Foregone Conclusion.'" Reuters. July 16, 2007. Poland Signals Doubts About Planned U.S. Missile-Defense Bases On Its Territory. New York Times. January 7, 2008. No Poland-US Missile Deal Next Month: Defense Minister. AFP. February 2, 2008.


Bush, Poland's Tusk Discuss Missile Shield Plans. Agence France Presse. March 10, 2008. Game For US Shield Begins. Polish News Bulletin. March 14, 2008. Next U.S. Pres. Unlikely To Axe Proposed Central European Missile Defense Project—Polish Diplomat. Poland Business Newswire. April 2, 2008. Czech, USA Agree On Main Treaty On U.S. Radar On Czech Soil. CTK Daily News. April 3, 2008.


As Poles Balk, U.S. Eyes Lithuania As Site For Missile Shield. New York Times. June 19, 2008.


No Progress On Shield Talks. Polish News Bulletin. July 8, 2008. Date Of US-Poland Treaty On Missile Base Still Unknown. Poland This Week. July 11, 2008.


Russian Relations In Doubt, Gates Says. Washington Post. August 15, 2008.


US Missile Deal Gives Poland Patriots, Bolstered Defence Ties. AFP. August 20, 2008. Some analysts, however, have argued that the agreement's special security guarantee may be questioned by other NATO allies, especially in central Europe. See Implications of the U.S.-Polish Defense Pact. By William L. T. Schirano. Center for European Policy Analysis. August 29, 2008.


With Russia Rising, Poles Look West. New York Times. August 21, 2008.


Polish Lower House Speaker Refuses To Rush Ratification Of Polish-U.S. Missile Shield Deal. Poland Business Newswire. August 20, 2008. U.S. Presidential Candidates endorse Missile Shield Project, Obama Less Enthusiastic – Polish PM. Poland Business Newswire. August 19, 2008.


Czechs See Anti-missile radar Ratified By Year-end. Reuters. July 9, 2008.


U.S. Ambassador: Decision On Missile Shield Suspended. Polish News Bulletin. November 26, 2008.


Poland Won't Lobby Obama On Missile Defense. Washington Post. November 20, 2008. Sikorski: New US Administration May Put on Hold Anti-missile Shield Project. Polish News Bulletin. November 13, 2008.


Polish President Hopes Obama As U.S. President Will Treat Missile Shield As "Necessary." Polish Business Newswire. January 19, 2009.


Obama, Democrats Likely To Pare back Missile Defense Plans To Save Money. CQ Today. November 17, 2008.


US To Abide By Patriot Missile Deal With Poland. Agence France Presse. May 21, 2009. US Insists Patriots Be Unarmed. Polish News Bulletin. June 12, 2009. Sikorski: Poland Will Get Armed Patriots. Polish News Bulletin. September 18, 2009.


US/CEE: Biden Touts New Missile Plan In Central Europe. Oxford Analytica. October 22, 2009.


Czech Republic Seeks Joining Missile Defence Shield Project. BBC Monitoring European. September 17, 2002.


US May Delay Missile Defense System. AP. October 23, 2007. Administration Diverges On Missile Defense. Washington Post. October 24, 2007. Gates Causes Missile Defence Flap. Oxford Analytica. October 24, 2007.


US Offers Mutual MD Checks. Oxford Analytica. March 20, 2008.


Czechs Say Report On Iran Nuclear Program Not To Influence Missile Defense Talks. Associated Press. December 5, 2007.


Select Briefing Europe East. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Vol. 5, No. 3. February 1, 2008.


Czechs, USA Agree Radar Treaty To Be Signed In May. BBC Monitoring European. April 3, 2008. U.S. To Give Czechs Ballistic Missile Defense. Washington Post. July 16, 2008.


Czech Minister Sees 'Virtually No Opposition' in NATO, EU to US Missile Shield. BBC Monitoring European. April 7, 2008. US Set To Sign Main Czech Radar Deal: Embassy. AFP. April 7, 2008. Czech Senator To Vote For Radar Base Against Greens' Call. CTK Daily News. April 15, 2008.


Czech Govt Wants Vote On Missile Shield After US Election. Agence France Presse. October 29, 2008. US Base's Chance In Czech Parliament Diminishing – Vlcek in Russia. CTK Daily News. November 17, 2008. Czech MPs Delay U.S. Shield Deal Debate Until Obama's Inauguration. RIA Novosti. November 28, 2008. Missile Defense Deal With US Clears Czech Senate, Faces Tougher test In Lower Chamber. Associated Press Newswires. November 27, 2008.


Czech Politicians Disagree On U.S. Radar Plans Under Obama. CTK Daily News. January 20, 2009.


Czech Republic: Government Crisis Will Be Hard To Fix. Oxford Analytica. March 30, 2009. Czech Republic: Country Report. EIU. June, 2009. Czech Interim Fischer's Government Not To Decide On U.S. Radar. CTK Daily News. June 8, 2009.


Czech Poll Indicates Number Of Missile Defense Radar Opponents Declines. AP. September 26, 2007. But see also: Many Czechs Love U.S., But Say 'Hold the Radar.' New York Times. October 1, 2007. Poll: 70 Percent of Czechs Oppose U.S. Missile Defense Plan. Associated Press. January 8, 2008. Majority of Czechs Against U.S. Anti-missile Radar System. Poland Business Newswire. July 9, 2008.


Czechs Accept Modified Missile Shield Role. New York Times. October 24, 2009. Visiting US Diplomat Discusses Possible Czech Role In Missile Defense. BBC Monitoring European. January 2010.


Polish PM: Hosting U.S. Shield May Counter Russia. Reuters. October 18, 2007.


Polish Daily: US Missile Defence in Poland Means 'Local Arms Race' With Belarus. BBC Monitoring European. November 18, 2005.


USA Wants To Deploy Missile Defence Radar On Czech Territory—Foreign Minister. CTV [Czech news agency]. In: BBC Monitoring European. November 29, 2006.


That Missile Debate of Ours. Pravo. September 9, 2006. In: BBC Monitoring European. September 12, 2006. Any US Missile Base On Czech Territory Subject To Czech Laws—Czech Ministry. BBC Monitoring European. August 18, 2006. State Security Council Okays US Radar. Pravo. In: BBC European Monitoring. January 26, 2006. Czech Premier Reminds Opposition Its Cabinet Started Talks On US Radar Base. CTK Czech News Agency. In: BBC European Monitoring. February 1, 2007.


Where Does Germany Stand? Spiegel Online. March 26, 2007. US Build Pressure On Europe Over Bases. Financial Times. February 21, 2007. France Calls For Dialogue on US Anti-Missile System. Agence France Presse (AFP). February 21, 2007. U.S. Officials Brief On Missile Defense. February 23, 2007. U.S. Embassy Warsaw.


Swedish Expert Says US Missile Shield Meant To Allow Nuclear First Strike. BBC Monitoring. January 8, 20080.


NATO Stepping Up Talks On Missile Defense Amid Concerns Over US Plans. Associated Press. March 12, 2007.


Danish PM Supports US Anti-Missile Shield. AFP. March 7, 2007. Blair: We Need To Look At Missile Options. Press Association National Newswire. February 28, 2007. Europe Considers Missile Defense System: German Minister. AFP. February 19, 2007.


This program should be distinguished from the theater missile defense system intended to protect deployed forces, which the alliance has already approved. See Riga Summit Declaration. NATO web page. http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2006/p06-150e.htm Missile Defense and Europe. Foreign Press Briefing. U.S. Department of State. March 28, 2007.


NATO Considers Missile Defenses For Southeastern Flank In Tandem With U.S. Shield. Associated Press. June 14, 2007. U.S. Wins NATO Backing On Missile Defense. New York Times. June 15, 2007.


NATO Debates BMD Ahead Of April Bucharest Summit. WMD Insights. April, 2008.


NATO Summit Declaration. April 3, 20008 http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2008/p08-049e.html.


NATO Backs U.S. Missile Shield. Los Angeles Times. April 4, 2008. NATO Endorses Europe Missile Shield. New York Times. April 4, 2008.


Opening Statement, Chairman Ellen O. Tauscher, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Hearing on the FY2009 Budget Request for Missile Defense Programs, April 17, 2008.


Final communiqué. Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels. December 3, 2008. NATO website: http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2008/p08-153e.html Poland Wants NATO To Declare Russian Placement Threat As Unacceptable – Sikorski. Poland Business Newswire. December 3, 2008.


Strasbourg/Kehl Summit Declaration. April 4, 2009. NATO Web page. http://www.formin.fi/Public/Print.aspx?contentid=162749&nodeid=15145&culture=en-US&contentlan=2.


Final Statement. Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels. December 4, 2009. NATO website: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_59699.htm?mode=pressrelease. Russia, NATO Form Working Group On Missile Defence – Rogozin. RIA Novosti. December 5, 2009. Europe Promises U.S. More Substance. New York Times. March 30, 2010.


See CRS Report RL33865, Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements, by [author name scrubbed], Mary Beth Nikitin, and [author name scrubbed], section on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. NATO "Very Concerned" At Russia Treaty Pullout. Reuters. July 16, 2007.


Russia Sees Threat From US Plan For Missiles In Eastern Europe. AFP. January 22, 2007. Poland Government Leaders Meet On U.S. Missile Defense Proposal. Associated Press. February 12, 2007.


U.S. Radar Not To Threaten Russia, China - Czech Chief Of Staff. CTK Daily News. January 25, 2007.


Putin Wants Quick Answer On Alternative Antimissile Site. RFE/RL Newsline. June 11, 2007. Putin Surprises Bush With Plan On Missile Shield. New York Times. June 8, 2007. US Says Russia Offer Cannot Replace Missile Shield. Reuters. June 14, 2007.


Putin Expands On His Missile Defense Plan. New York Times. July 3, 2007/ Putin Proposes Broader Cooperation On Missile Defense. Washington Post. July 3, 2007.


Putin Dismisses US Missile Shield Plan. Financial Times. October 12, 2007. Russia Dismisses US Offer On Missile Defence. AFP. November 23, 2007. Russia Alleges U.S. "Rollback" On Anti-Missile Plan. Washington Post. December 6, 2007.


US Missile Could Trigger Russian Strike: Russian Army Chief. Agence Presse France. December 15, 2007. Putin Repeats Threat To Aim Russian Rockets At U.S. Missile Defenses. Associated Press Newswires. February 14, 20080.


Putin and Bush Narrow Some Differences. Oxford Analytica. April 7, 2008. U.S. To Gain Supremacy Over Russia With Central European Anti-missile Base—Iranian Ambassador. Poland Business Newswire. April 9, 2008. Fact Sheet: U.S.-Russia Strategic Framework Declaration. News Press. April 7, 2008.


Russian Says Shield Makes Poland Target. Washington Times. August 16, 2008. Medvedev Sees Military Response To U.S. Missile Shield. Reuters. August 26, 2008. Moscow, Minsk To Build Air Def In Response To Missiles In Europe. ITAR-TASS. August 20, 2008.


Vice President Joseph Biden's speech at the 45th Munich Security Conference, http://www.securityconference.de/konferenzen/rede.php?menu_2009=&menu_konferenzen=&sprache=en&id=238&


"Clinton Says Missile Shield Hinges in Part on Iran," Reuters, February 10, 2009; "Obama Seen Unlikely to Hedge on Missile Defense," Associated Press, February 13, 2009.


The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Remarks By President Obama and British Prime Minister [author name scrubbed] After Meeting, March 3, 2009.


"President Obama, Russian President Medvedev Commit To Reduce Nuclear Arms, Reset Relationship," US Fed News, April 11, 2009; "Russia Warns U.S. Stepping Up Shield Plans—Agency," Reuters, April 21, 2009; Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Interview of Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov on Disarmament Issues, April 23, 2009.


Russian General Links Arms Cuts To Missile Shield. Associated Press. June 5, 2009. Russian Source: Patriot Missiles To "Cloak" Strategic Effort. Interfax: Russia & CIS Military Newswire. May 22, 2009.


Joint Statement By Dmitry A. Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and Barack Obama, President of the United States, On Missile Defense Issues. Targeted News Service. July 6, 2009. Russia Warns US Over Missile Shield. AP. July 7, 2009.


Obama Cancels Bush Plan For European Missile Shield That Had Soured Relations With Russia. AP Newswire. September 17, 2009. Medvedev Praises Obama's Move On Europe Missile Shield. RIA Novosti. September 17, 2009.


Russia Could Scrap Baltic Missile Plans Following U.S. Move. RIA Novosti. September 18, 2009.


Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report, Pt. IV. U.S. Department of Defense. February 2010.


Putin Plays MD Card, Placates Hardliners. Oxford Analytica. December 29, 2009. Russia To Continue Offensive Arms To Balance U.S. – Putin. RIA Novosti. December 29, 2009. U.S. Missile Shield Holding Up Nuclear Deal – Putin. Reuters News. December 29, 2009. U.S. Rejects Russia Shield Concerns. BBC News. December 29, 2009.


CEE/Russia: CEE Attitudes To Russia become More Sober. Oxford Analytica. January 21, 2010. Polish Missile Base Re-ignites Tension With Russia. Deutsche Welle. January 22, 2009. USA May Renege On Patriot Missile Deployment Accord – Polish Daily. BBC Monitoring European. February 12, 2010.


Russia Says Concerned At Romania Hosting US Missiles. Reuters News. February 5, 2010. Russia: Disconnect Between MD Policy, Iran Persist. Romania Agrees to Host U.S. Anti-Missile System. IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis. February 5, 2010. Oxford Analytica. February 10, 2010. Russia Toughens Line On Iran Nuclear Ambitions. Agence France Presse. February 9, 2010. Twitter Diplomacy: Envoy Says Russia Will 'Kick Ass' of US. Agence France Presse. February 10, 2010.


Romania Says US Informed Russia On Anti-missile Shield Plan. BBC Monitoring European. February 10, 2010. U.S. Kept Russia Informed About Romania Missiles Plan – U.S. Diplomat. Interfax. February 16, 2010.U.S. and Romania: A New Alignment? RIA Novosti. February 9, 2010. Russia Cool To U.S. Plan For Missiles In Romania. New York Times. February 6, 2010.


Bulgaria Wants To Participate in US Missile Defence Shield: PM. Agence France Presse. February 12, 2010. Russia Wants Bulgaria To Explain favor Of US Missile Shield. Agence France Presse. February 14, 2010. Russia's NATO Envoy Quashes Trnasdniestr Missiles Bid – Report. Dow Jones International Press. February 16, 2010. US Missile Shield Not Targeting Russia, Bulgaria Says. Agence France Presse. February 17, 2010. Dmitry Rogozin Accuses Bulgarian Leadership Of 'Political Promiscuity.' WPS: Defense and Security. February 17, 2010.


U.S. New Missile Defense Plans Do Not Fit Logic of 'Reset' Policy – Russian MP. Interfax. February 16, 2010.


Stage Set For New Fight Over Missile Defense. Washington Post. February 18, 2010. Nuclear Pact Is a Modest Means To Bigger Ends. International Herald Tribune. March 27, 2010. Arms Treaty With Russia May Go To Hill In April; State Official Says Plans for Iran Missile Shield Would Not Be Affected. Washington Post. March 30, 2010. Analysts note that statements permitting unilateral withdrawal are a routine part of arms control treaties, and are rarely invoked.


Congressional Record – House, September 24, 2008, p. H9103.


National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Report of the House Armed Services Committee on H.R. 1585, May 11, 2007. House of Representatives. 110th Congress, 1st Session. H.Rept. 110-146, pp. 238-240.


To preserve the opportunity to move forward with the research and development components of the European interceptor and radar site, the Committee recommended that $150 million for FY2008 be available. Upon completion of bilateral agreements and if further engagement with NATO on the proposed site can be demonstrated, the Committee notes that the Department of Defense has the option of submitting a reprogramming request to Congress in FY2008 to fund site preparation activities.


National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. Report of the Senate Armed Services Committee on S. 1547, June 5, 2007. Committee on Armed Services. U.S. Senate. 110th Congress, 1st Session. Report 110-77, pp. 140-142.


See footnote 15.