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Next Steps in Arms Control: Third Panel Transcript - Missile Defense and NATO
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Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

TOM COLLINA:  Thank you, again, Rose Gottemoeller.

If we could get all our panelists coming up for our final panel of the day on missile defense – if folks could wrap up their side conversations and have a seat, we will get right into it because we don't really have any break time planned for this next session.

This last panel of the day is on missile defense, as you can all see from your programs.  And this really brings together issues that have been discussed in both previous panels today, both the context of U.S.-Russian strategic reductions and the role missile defense will play in that going forward, and also in the NATO strategic concept coming up at the Lisbon summit.

Because as many of you may have noticed, as members of the U.S. administration as well as NATO officials talk less and less about prospects for breakthroughs on tactical nuclear weapons in Lisbon, more and more has been said about the prospects for breakthroughs on missile defense.  And in fact, that's one of now the main things that we're led to expect from the Lisbon summit, is an agreement on U.S.-NATO agreement to expand the NATO mission into territorial missile defense.  

That would essentially, you know, bring together NATO missile defense that has been going on in a troop deployment sense, and merging it with the U.S. phased adaptive approach that will be the first phase of it, which will be initiated next year.

But just to back up for a second, I'm sure you all remember, the phased adaptive approach by the Obama administration replaces a system first proposed by the Bush administration, which would have placed long-range interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic.  And when the Obama administration came in, those plans were modified to what is called the phased adaptive approach which sees placing a phased system, the initial phases starting next year, with shorter-range interceptors placed at sea, as well as land-based interceptors in Poland and Romania and an X-band radar possibly in Turkey, which is one of the issues I'm sure we'll get to.

And there's a fact sheet in your blue packets, as well as an article from the current issue of Arms Control Today that goes through some of these details and the timing of the four phases to the phased adaptive approach.

Both systems were or are intended to protect the United States and NATO from Iranian missiles.  But as we'll hear, I'm sure, Turkey has been concerned about naming Iran as the target of common U.S.-NATO approaches to missile defense.

NATO members so far seem fine with the plan of expanding the missile-defense mission in Lisbon as long as they don't have to pay too much for it.  And I'm sure we'll hear more about that.

But as I said, then there's the question of Turkey and how they feel about naming names as to who exactly is the threat.

Russia has responded rather cautiously to invitations to cooperate with the missile-defense system in NATO, which is another one of the things we're expecting to come out of the Lisbon summit, that not only will NATO agree to a broader missile-defense mission, but it will invite Russia to take part.  And in fact, President Medvedev has already said that he would come to the Lisbon summit to be part of the NATO-Russia Council.

So this all raises a lot of interesting questions, including and certainly not limited to, how U.S. missile-defense interceptor deployments in Europe will affect U.S.-NATO relations.

It was discussed earlier today in the NATO panel that there is a possibility that missile defense will become the new trans-Atlantic glue that binds the U.S. to European NATO members and holds the Alliance together.  Is that what this is all about?

How far really can NATO-Russian cooperation on missile defense go?  If there's no common agreement on common threats, which there's a sense [that] there is not, how far can agreement go on common responses?

And finally, how can we prevent the last phase of the phased adaptive approach, which, according to the U.S., will include capability against long-range ballistic missiles?  How will we prevent that possibility for causing problems or possibly derailing the next phase of U.S.-Russian arms reductions if, of course, we get that far with ratification of New START?

So a lot of information to chew on in this panel.  And to help us do that, we have a great panel of experts to talk about this with.

First up is going to Eric Desautels,‏ did I get that right?  And my apologies that his name is spelled wrong in the program.  But we'll try to fix that.  And he has graciously agreed to sit in for Frank Rose who could not be here, on short notice.  But Eric is senior adviser to the undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, with primary responsibility for missile defense, space, counterproliferation and sanctions.

Next up will be Jiri Sedivy who, until recently, was the assistant secretary-general for defense policy and planning at NATO.  And he has served as the Czech Republic's minister of Defense as well as the deputy minister of European Affairs.  And he's now back with the Czech Ministry of Defense.  And he'll tell us exactly what capacity that is.

And then last but not least, we have Greg Thielmann who is a senior fellow at ACA.  And he has also served as senior professional staff on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  And he was also a U.S. Foreign Service officer for 25 years, last serving as director of the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

So an excellent panel for us to have this conversation on missile defense.

And Eric, the floor is yours.

ERIC DESAUTELS:  Thank you, Tom, for that introduction.  My name, as he said, is Eric Desautels.  When you have a last name like mine, you're used to having it misspelled and mispronounced all the time.  So it's not that big a concern.

Let me start by thanking the Arms Control Association for holding this conference and providing an opportunity to discuss the Obama administration's plans for European missile defense.

Tom has asked me to address three specific topics today.  First, the U.S. plans for missile defense in Europe.  Second, our plans and hopes for the NATO Lisbon summit.  And finally, our plans for the NATO-Russia Council summit, both of which will occur in a little over a week and a half.

Let me start by discussing the Obama administration's plans for missile defense in Europe, known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA.

As its title suggests, this new approach focuses on deploying defenses in phases and is designed to be adaptive as the threat evolves.  An important point about this new system is that when it is completed it will provide protection for all of our European allies, which is consistent with the concept of indivisibility of Alliance security.

The previous system was not designed to provide protection for all of our allies, especially against certain short and medium-range ballistic missile threats.

The EPAA instead will focus first on protecting our most vulnerable allies from that existing threat, and then expand as that threat evolves.

Let me quickly walk through the four phases of this system.  Normally at this point, my Defense colleagues would hold up some very fancy slides that would help you follow along.  But since I'm from the State Department, you're just going to have to use your imagination.  (Laughter.)

For the first phase in the 2011 time frame, we will deploy Aegis ships in the Mediterranean equipped with the SM-3 Block IA interceptor and an AN/TPY-2 radar to provide protection for our southern European allies against the existing missile threat.

Then for phase two in the 2015 time frame, our first land-based SM-3 interceptor site will be deployed to Romania.  We will also deploy the more advanced Bock IB interceptors at this site and on our Aegis ships, thereby expanding the protection of our southern European NATO allies.

Next, for phase three in 2018, we will deploy a land-based site in Poland.  At the same time, we will start deploying the more capable SM-3 Block IIA interceptors, both at sea and on land.  The addition of this site and the new interceptors will expand coverage to all of our NATO allies.

Finally, the plan for phase four calls for the deployment in 2020 of the even more capable SM-3 Block IIB interceptor, which will improve our European defense capabilities as well as supplement our existing capability to defend the United States against long-range regional missile threats.

That covers the phased nature of the approach, so let me briefly discuss the adaptive nature of the approach.

The EPAA is designed to be responsive to the current threat, but through the course of its four phases could also incorporate other technologies quickly in order to adapt to that threat.  Further advances in technology or further changes in the threat could result in the United States modifying details or the timing of later phases of the EPAA.

In addition, the emphasis on this approach is on deploying relocatable missile-defense assets instead of large silo-based systems.  This provides the flexibility to surge more capabilities to theaters around the world when and where they are needed.

Let me also highlight one final important element of this new approach.  This approach focuses on deploying existing and proving missile-defense systems.  The Missile Defense Agency, working with the Department of Defense's independent testing organization, has developed a plan to test all of these capabilities to ensure they are operationally effective before we deploy them.

For example, MDA will install land-based SM-3s for testing at the Pacific Missile Range facility.  While the SM-3 has a proven test record, this test facility will allow the United States to ensure that the entire system we deploy to Europe has met the fly-before-you-buy criteria.

That's the system.  Now let me turn to what we are doing with NATO in the run-up to Lisbon.

First, since we've announced this new approach, we have received tremendous support from our NATO allies.  This support is evident in the statements made by NATO Secretary General Rasmussen, by Madeleine Albright's group of experts and in the NATO ministerial communiqués that have been released since September of last year.

Since the beginning, one of our main goals was to put this new approach to missile defense squarely in a NATO context.  As such, we want there to be political buy-in and burden sharing from our allies on this issue.  We will do this by seeking allied agreement at the Lisbon summit to pursue a NATO missile-defense capability for the protection of our European allies' territory, populations and forces.  The EPAA will then become the U.S. contribution to this NATO capability.  

By getting a NATO political decision, we will enable NATO military and political authorities to develop the structure and procedures to be able to execute this as a NATO mission, including developing the rules of engagement and pre-planned responses.

We also want NATO to expand its existing command and control system known as the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense, or ALT-BMD, system to support this territorial missile-defense mission.

By expanding the capability of this command and control system to provide the full range of missile-defense coverage, we will be able to plug both U.S. assets and allied assets into the overall NATO missile-defense effort.

Finally, let me turn to the NATO-Russia Council summit which will occur immediately following the NATO summit.  We believe that the NRC summit is just as important for our European missile-defense efforts as the NATO summit.  The Obama administration is committed to cooperating with Russia on missile defense, both bilaterally and in the NATO-Russia Council.

As part of those efforts, we are committed to being transparent with Russia about our missile-defense plans and will continue to reassure Russia that our missile-defense deployments are not a threat to Russia's strategic forces.

We strongly believe that cooperation with Russia, both bilaterally and in the NRC, is in our national security interests as well as Russia's interests.  Such cooperation is also good for international and regional security.

Our goal for the upcoming NATO-Russia Council summit is to get a political commitment from the heads of state in government to move forward on missile-defense cooperation and other issues critical to our mutual security.  We have already begun some missile-defense cooperation in the NRC.

One important area of cooperation would be to resume the missile-defense exercises that were conducted in the NRC between 2002 and 2008.  We are also conducting a joint analysis of 21st century threats, and have developed an NRC Missile Defense Working Group.

Implementing this cooperation would provide a strong basis for exploring further opportunities for missile-defense cooperation.  And we hope that this step-by-step approach with Russia will lead to increased cooperation across-the-board within the NRC.

Let me stop there.  And when it comes time, I'll be happy to answer any questions.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

JIRI SEDIVY:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

And indeed, I would like first of all thank to the association for inviting me to speak at this meeting.

Now, I've been working for NATO for three years.  I finished actually about three weeks ago on the 15th of October, which was the day after so-called “jumbo” ministers meeting where ministers of defense and ministers of foreign affairs were fine-tuning or tuning-up perhaps the Alliance for Lisbon.

And missile defense was discussed quite extensively, perhaps more than we expected.  But before that for three years, I had been chairing, among other things, I had been chairing the working group which served as a sort of hub into which various military technical resources and other aspects of missile-defense projects were coming.

And we were trying to transform it into a political military assessment.  And indeed, our reports were informing the decisions, or rather nondecisions, at summits in Bucharest and Strasbourg Kehl.  So [I] spent hours and perhaps days chairing those discussions, and sometimes it was really excruciating when, after many known debates, just changing a comma into a semicolon actually helped to diffuse a problem.

Now, it's difficult to add anything more to what has been said already and also to the excellent article that I read, that Tom actually published in the recent issue of the Arms Control Today.  It's a very good picture of where more or less we are at NATO.

But anyway, let me say first a few words about what we can expect from Lisbon summit and why I am relatively optimistic concerning the ambitions in terms of missile defense, ambitions of allies and of the U.S. government for Lisbon.  I will also mention a few issues that are still on the discussion.  I wouldn't use the notion of problems, but issues that are being and will be discussed.  And last but not least, a few words about Russia.

Now, what we may expect is that missile defense will be open until the very last minutes of the summit.  And this might not be, and we will see, but this might not be actually the function of the very missile-defense debate.  It could be a function of a very intricate or sophisticated architecture of hostages, which is already being built.  And this is something very common in NATO when various nations are keeping hostage, various reports or parts of reports or agendas in order to achieve their goals.

And I remember from Strasbourg Kehl when actually [the] missile-defense report was taken hostage by Turkey and France.  For France, actually it was related or linked to the language in the communiqué concerning the comprehensive approach, which is something completely different.  And for Turkey, this was related to the language in the final communiqué on European Union.

Nevertheless, I believe that those two ambitions, first one declaring missile defense as a mission or capability for NATO, is a part of the collective defense.  And this will be most probably done by means of the new strategic concept.  This will be achieved.  And then most probably also, the decision on extending the ALT-BMD which is the active layer of ballistic missile defense, the protection or the emerging system to protect troops in the field.  That this decision to extend the command and control and consultation of this system further into the area of protecting part of the territory of the southern flank and population center.  That this will be achieved.

And this will indeed or may indeed constitute a first step in that four-phased journey towards the full-fledged territorial missile defense.

The reason why this might happen almost, probably will happen, is that the phased adaptive approach is much more feasible politically, technically, in the eyes of many nations, unlike the previous concept.  Although, if we go into details and analysis, there are not that many and that deep differences.  By the way, how this new concept was presented and phased actually was very important.

Which also means that I didn't see any feasibility or any possibility to realize the previous or to achieve decision concerning the previous concept.  And if you would go through the various nitty-gritties of negotiations, especially before Bucharest, but also before Strasbourg Kehl, you would realize that.

Now, the new concept, the phased adaptive concept is, above all, framed in NATO.  This is very important.  This was not the case of the previous one. This is important because, for example, Germany, who used to be completely against missile defense before, is now one of the most vocal proponent of the current one.

Also, this new approach is much more transparent in the eyes of the allies, and very important as well.  It is, as it was described, it seems to be more rational, less dogmatic in terms of its flexibility, its adaptiveness and so on and so forth.

So having said that, there are still a few, yeah, points for discussion, most of them were mentioned here.  And I will enumerate six or seven of them without any indication of priority or importance.

Threat analysis; political issue.  And this is something that has emerged quite recently.  Turkey expressed a couple of weeks ago its concerns about naming some states, especially indeed referring to Iran and Syria.

Here I should emphasize that in the agreed, collectively agreed, threat assessment that is supporting our deliberations concerning missile defense, we don't name.  I mean, NATO does not name any nation.  We have some sort of a generic regional directions from which we can expect the threat growing, but we do not name nations.

And the problem was that actually Secretary General Rasmussen in many of his speeches where he touched upon or spoke about missile defense, he was very much explicit.  And he actually went beyond the agreed threat perception.

But now I believe this issue was already solved three weeks ago at the ministerial meeting I mentioned.  The U.S. came out with some sort of a compromise proposal, which was quite generic, and which was acceptable for Turkey, at the table of the ministerial meeting.

Now, second issue, which is more into the strategic concept debate, but very much related indeed to missile defense as such, is the place of the missile defense in what is called in NATO documents a broader response to countering the increasing threat of ballistic missile proliferation.

And it was also discussed here already, the broader response includes deterrence.  But then indeed, it is a debate about the concept of deterrence.  And we are using now an ocean of holistic deterrence or deterrence for the 21st century, which indeed still keeps the nuclear core, but is much more wider than that.

Another aspect of the broader response is the area of arms control and disarmament.  And the strategic concept is going to give permanence to that as well.

And last but not least, there is a very specific French concern that actually missile defense can, in some way, weaken their independent deterrent, because in our documents we are saying that actually missile defense is one of the means that is enhancing NATO's deterrent.

And there is a sort of continuum of two national positions between which actually the debate oscillates.  On the one hand, France, which is very difficult in nuclear issues, very, I would say, traditional.  And on the other hand, Germany, who wants to see as much of arms control disarmament language as possible.

Some of you may have noticed that the declaration from the defense ministers on the 16th -or it was on the 14th - ‏on the 14th of October, actually, that that did not contain a paragraph on nuclear issues.  And this was the result of a complete disagreement between these two nations.

The debate is also, and I haven't seen the third draft actually of the strategic concept, but the debate is also about the place of missile defense, nuclear paragraph and arms control and disarmament paragraph in the text.  And indeed, France especially, but also other nations, would like these separate, while Germany and other nations that are more pro arms control and disarmament would like to have this in some sort of a package.

Now, another issue is the cost.  It's well-described in your article.  I mean, additional cost, the estimates for the cost of building the command and control for the technical or theater missile defense is about $1.1 billion.  The additional costs for extending is estimated around 200 (million euro), $280 million.  But then this is just for, I would say,  the first phase-plus.  But then there are a number of questioners about the national contributions.

And nations are very careful.  Here we speak, in terms of these figures, we speak about the cost from the common funding.  And again, yes, it is not a big, big money for what we can get in terms of adding another 200 million euro or 250 (million dollars) or $280 million.  But it's, for many nations, it is a question of principle.  It is a question of principle.  And this is also related to the current debate about extending common funding.

Level of coverage and degree of protection, another big issue.  And I'm not going into that, but definitely we cannot expect 100 percent coverage and we cannot expect 100 percent of protection.  But for some nations, this is especially sensitive.

Consequences of interceptor or the debris coming from a potential intercept, is another technical issue.

C3 arrangement, it was mentioned already.  Rules of engagement or standard operational procedures, it's the button question.  But I believe that these issues will be solved, and are being solved.

Last one that I would mention is Russia, and then I will finish.  There are two tracks, it was already mentioned, one bilateral, Russia-U.S., and one, Russia-NATO, the NATO-Russia Council.

Now, we've had quite, I would say, good cooperation in the area of theater missile defense with Russia in terms of information exchanged.  We even hold, I think, one or two tabletop exercises.  And now we have managed to agree on new terms of reference that are framing the continuation of cooperation in this area after the NATO-Russia reset.  We have also our own kind of reset.

Concerning the territorial missile defense, we have a very strong language from the Bucharest communiqué, and I will quote.  “NATO is ready to explore potential for linking United States and NATO and Russian missile-defense systems at an appropriate time.”  Now, the appropriate time most probably will come in Lisbon.  If we have those two steps done, this means the adoption of the missile defense as a mission and, above all, the extension of the ALT-BMD.

Then it will be the time.  But in NATO, everything depends on the consensus among the allies.

I must say that it's not always clear whether Russia is really interested in this kind of cooperation with NATO, I must say, with NATO.  And now, I have been also chairing several variations of NATO-Russia Council, some groups partially on missile defense, on terrorism, on arms control.  And especially recently, we have ‏‒ and surprisingly, as Lisbon is coming ‏‒ we have noticed a certain disengagement even on the part of Russia, problems with receiving instructions from the capital and so on and so forth.  But this may change.

And last but not least, and this is my final point, there is a still outstanding mentality and gap, a perception gap, not only in terms of threat perception, and this is one part of our recent activities that we are conducting, joint threat perception or analysis exercise, but there is a still outstanding lack of trust in NATO.

I also believe that NATO is a good instrument for domestic politics in Russia, that it sometimes useful to have a good enemy to define yourself against. The, I would say, episodes, but not very conducive to deepening our cooperation, such as having a nuclear attack scenario.  And the Zapad exercise 2009 was mentioned already.

So regardless [of the] optimism, pessimism, and your question about the fourth phase ICBM, this is 2020-plus.  And I believe in 2020-plus, Russia will be a very different geopolitical, geostrategic position than it is today.  And we will actually be, by definition, cooperating much more together in many areas, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and including missile defense.  So I don't think that this is going to have any negative impact.

But before now and then, we will see a gradual step-by-step process, sometimes with Russia, as it has been always between NATO and Russia since 1997.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

GREG THIELMANN:  I'd first like to thank you for your perseverance.  I think I'm the last speaker for the day.

I wanted to begin with a comment about New START and missile defense.  It seems to me that the lack of meaningful constraints on missile defense in the New START agreement is a remarkable achievement.  The treaty contains explicit Russian acceptance of current U.S. nationwide strategic ballistic missile defenses.  And I know a lot of attention has been on one piece of the preamble that refers to the interrelationship of strategic offenses and strategic defenses.  It seems to me this has all the drama and the news content of a declaration that the earth is round.

This is not, to me, anything other than stating the obvious.  But what's very interesting is what follows that in the preamble.  “Current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the parties.”  This is a striking acknowledgment by Russia that the 30 strategic ballistic missile interceptors currently deployed by the United States and those x-band battle management radars do not threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent.

Now, I think that Obama's handling of the Europe-based missile defense was a very important part of the success achieved in getting to this point in the New START agreement.  The Bush third-site approach had all of the wrong features in it.  It was very U.S.-centric; European defense was secondary.  The near-term missile threat to Europe was not addressed.  It led with bilateral rather than multilateral arrangements, essentially going around NATO.  And the illogic of this approach greatly increased Russia's doubts about the sincerity of the U.S. appeal for cooperation.

Now, in contrast, and Eric has already made some of these points, but the European phased adaptive approach we now have is prioritized against the level and scope of the threat.  It provides protection for all of NATO allies, it puts the European security architecture squarely into NATO's context.  Again, Eric's formulation.  It increased the transparency of the U.S. program.  And Jiri mentioned this as well.  And finally, it genuinely seeks cooperation with the Russians.  And I don't think there's much reason to doubt the sincerity of the U.S. administration's approach.

Now that I've established myself as a cheerleader for the Obama administration's missile-defense policies in Europe, let me morph into a Cassandra and raise some warning flags about the future.  Most of my activities for the Arms Control Association are hauling down warning flags in relations to exaggerated threats, at least in my opinion.

In this case, though, I want to try to describe a little bit about a very serious problem down the road, and not so far down the road when we start negotiating a follow-on agreement to New START.

The U.S. has obviously proposed that NATO should take on the mission of territorial ballistic missile defense.  This sounds very easy to absorb except for the fact that it raises many questions, which even today, listening carefully to the speakers talk about what's coming up at Lisbon and afterwards, I'm not sure what the answers are.

I do not exactly understand territorial defense, defending the territory, the population and the forces, I think, is Jiri's word.  Is this robust protection against a limited attack?  Or is it limited protection against a robust attack?  Or is it limited protection against a limited attack?  I think it's probably the latter.  But it's really too early to say, as far as I know.

Is it primarily oriented against an Iranian-existing MRBMs?  Is it anticipating Iranian IRBMs, threatening Britain and France?  Is it directed against Russian short-range ballistic missiles that exist today?

Is it against Russian ICBMs?  I mean, if it's a territorial ballistic missile threat, is it against an accidental Russian ICBM launch against Paris?  Is it against Chinese ICBMs?   Is it against future North Korean ICBMs?

I don't know.  I have to assume that a territorial ballistic missile defense of Europe is directed against all of these threats.  But again, I'm guessing.

And I would contend that I'm afraid it will have exactly the opposite impact of what some foresee.  It will encourage rather than discourage missile proliferation.  And I say this because I'm empirical.  This always happens.  Missile defense deployments never decrease the offensive ballistic missile threats.  They increase it.

Now, maybe the end result is with, depending on one's assumptions about the reliability of interception, maybe you have a net gain in terms of missiles that can't come through, but you always have a net increase of the number of missiles directed at you.

So I think it's safe to assume that Iran will build more missiles and/or deploy penetration aids as a result of Europe's territorial ballistic missile defense, to the extent that Iran is even interested in targeting Europe, and I'm not sure that they are.

It will also, I would argue, diminish the credibility of NATO's deterrent, and it will exaggerate the power of the ballistic missile threat.  I mean, why is Europe really worried about Iranian ballistic missiles?  I mean, do they not have faith in the U.S. nuclear deterrent?  Is this a comment that our own nuclear deterrent is inadequate against an anticipated Iranian threat?  Again, it at least raises the question in my mind.

And then I think most people who have been following the issue in the United States for years know that the pursuit of territorial missile defenses is a financial black hole.  This is what convinced the United States not to try to defend itself against Russian and Chinese ballistic missiles.  We can't afford it.  We are a fairly wealthy nation, but we cannot afford to do that.

Now, in the territorial ballistic missile defense, which I guess is going to soon be endorsed, it's only 200 million euros, but that is just a down payment.  And I would just remind you that the U.S. is spending about twice that amount to rebuild the six flawed ground-based interceptor silos in Alaska that were hastily deployed there without being adequately designed and tested because we were in such a hurry to protect ourselves against a threat which still hasn't materialized.

I would also argue that there will never be enough, particularly in an era of increasing budget pressures, there will never be enough money to deploy as many missiles as you need to deploy to have a reliable ballistic missile threat against all comers.

And finally, missile defense will siphon off defense resources that are desperately needed for other defense priorities.  And I certainly get the impression that Europe is having some problems coming up with transport aircraft, with the payment of troops and others for supporting NATO forces in Afghanistan.

And probably most importantly, it threatens to derail future nuclear arms reductions between the U.S. and Russia, not for a while.  Now, going back to my first point, I think the New START agreement has bought us a significant amount of time, and it's impressive for having done that.  But the U.S. strategic missile-defense capability anticipated in the later phase of the European phased adaptive approach will probably be seen by Russia as being threatening.  And this may cause Russia to draw back from reductions in offensive nuclear capabilities.  

Because we're not waiting 10 years, one hopes, to start negotiating with Russia, we'll start negotiating right away, but any kind of nuclear arms controls negotiations looks far down the road, anticipating future threats, trying to nail down, mitigate, limit those threats.  And that's where the problem comes here.

Eugene Miasnikov mentioned that strategic stability was a very important component of our own NPR, very important that it was mentioned in that document.  And this has to raise questions, though, about, what is the effect on strategic stability in the year 2020, from a Russian perspective?

I hope, as Jiri says, that in the year 2020, Russia will be in a much different geopolitical position.  But when we look around today, the full integration of Russian and NATO strategic missile defenses seems to me to be unlikely.

Russia's unilateral statement, after all, in response to the New START agreement says, “‘new START’ may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative or quantitative buildup in U.S. missile-defense capabilities.”  Russian Defense Minister Serdyukov said, “We also want to ensure that Russia participates as an equal partner.  Only then can a missile-defense system be created that satisfies all sides.”  

But USA and Canada Institute Director Sergey Rogov says, “Russia and the United States hardly are ready to agree to create a joint missile defense.  The level of trust between Moscow and Washington is not such that we would trust the other side to defend us against a missile attack.”

So going to solutions, how can NATO missile-defense policy avoid contributing to a breakdown in nuclear arms control?

I guess my first piece of advice is, NATO has to be very careful with its rhetoric.  Don't exaggerate the threat, and don't overpromise the response to that threat.

I actually like the recent U.K.-French joint statement, thinking it struck all the right chords.  It talked about “financially realistic, coherent with the level of the threat arising from the Middle East and allowing for a partnership with Russia, missile defense is a complement to deterrence, not a substitute.”

I think those are basically good words, and the concept behind them is good as well.  Not necessarily easy to turn that into reality.  But I think we are on the right track in terms of seeking a joint threat assessment with Russia, with a sharing of sensor assets and to pursue the joint exercises or actually resume the joint exercises that had occurred during the 1990s.

But I think we also need to express confidence in the reliability and effectiveness of U.S. nuclear deterrent against a nuclear attack on Europe.  I mean, this is the core promise of NATO.  This is what all NATO members proclaim, and I think we should have the courage of our convictions and our rhetoric.

We should not tremble at the prospect of an Iran who's increasing its missile forces, particularly prior to the time when Iran actually develops nuclear weapons, which is not at all a forgone conclusion.

Also, we should describe missile defense, I think, very explicitly as a means of protecting Europe at least right now from conventional ballistic missile attack in the region.  So we need to keep our descriptions of what we're buying with where the threat is.

We don't want to get too far ahead of the actual nuclear missile threat.  We need to go slowly, seek NATO-Russia cooperation as well as U.S.-Russia cooperation on missile defense, and keeping an eye on the opportunity costs.

And I must admit that what exactly we would put on the table in order to resolve this end-of-the-decade problem that it can be foreseen in strategic ballistic missile-defense systems being introduced in Europe by the end of the decade is something that I haven't worked out myself.  But it seems to me that any kind of sober contemplation of these issues at Lisbon better think through some of these issues, because we certainly don't have the answers yet today after many years of experience trying to provide territorial ballistic missile defense to the United States.  So I'm a little skeptical about this endeavor as applied to Europe.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. COLLINA:  All right.  Thank you very much to our speakers.  We are now at the question-and-answer portion of this session.

Questions?  Mark, right here.  Please, I would ask you to identify yourself, identify who you want your question addressed by, and also try to keep questions short and to the point.  Thank you.

Q:  Mark Gubrud, University of Maryland.  And I'll address my question primarily to Mr. Desautels.  And I feel sorry for you having to defend this policy, which is, in my opinion, intellectually and morally bankrupt and frankly corrupt.

MR. COLLINA:  Mark, could you get to your question, please?

Q:  Yes.  (Laughter.)  I'm an experimental physicist, and I'm going to refer to technical facts, which I think many people in this room are aware of, but for some reason they don't seem to figure in much of this discussion.

The program that you laid out relies or it leans,  basically, it was SM-3.  So current deployment SM-3 Block IA and then SM-3 IB followed on by Block II SM-3s , the SM-3, as you know, is an exoatmospheric interceptor, which means it attempts to achieve intercept in space ‏

MR. COLLINA:  Mark, we need a question, please.

Q:  it has never been tested against realistic countermeasures, it has never been tested ‏‒ when it was tested against cone-shaped decoys, shaped similar to warheads, it failed.  It has not been tested in the presence of tumbling missiles.  It has not been tested in the presence of debris.

And these countermeasures are known.  The SM-3 has not been tested against them.  And we know that it will fail.  And furthermore, cannot be improved because the information ‏

MR. COLLINA:  Mark ‏

Q: to provide the discrimination ‏

MR. COLLINA:  Mark, what is your question, ‒ I have to cut you off, because we don't have ‏‒ you're taking ‏‒
Q:  The SM-3 does not work against simple countermeasures, cannot be made to work against simple countermeasures.  And you say it will be tested.  Well, you say it will be tested in a land-based mode.  That's like as relevant as, you know, saying it's still going to work if you put a decal on the side of it.

MR. COLLINA:  Mark, thank you.  We're going to let Eric respond to you ‏‒

Q:  Okay.  So, well, if you want a question, okay.  When is it going to be tested against realistic countermeasures?

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.

Q:  Second, the Block II SM-3, the Block I does not have the altitude reach to make it a potent ASAT threat, although it was demonstrated in the ASAT mode.  It was demonstrated as effective against a satellite.  But the Block II SM-3s, as we understand it, will have the reach to pretty much hit anything in low-earth orbit.

So one would have to conclude, if, based on current United States plans, that the U.S. would have no objection to Russia or China deploying a similar system that would basically be capable of sweeping the entire constellation of U.S. military assets in low-earth orbit.

MR. COLLINA:  Mark ‏‒ Mark, you are taking everybody else's time right now.

(Cross talk.)

Q:  These are the elephants in the room and Tom, none of your speakers ‏‒

MR. COLLINA:  Could you stop, please?

Q:  ‏‒ acknowledge these basic facts, these basic parameters.

MR. COLLINA:  You're being unfair to everybody else in this room.

Q:  Excuse me, Tom.  Tom, these are technical facts which are not acknowledged in this discussion, and they need to be.

MR. COLLINA:  And we just did.  Thank you.

Can we have a response?  Eric, you're up.

MR. DESAUTELS:  Thanks.  You know, obviously, I'm not a physicist.  I rely on the judgments of Lieutenant General O'Reilly at the Missile Defense Agency.  And obviously, he has a different opinion about whether the SM-3 is effective.  And also, I'd say the independent testing agency, DOT&E, has a different opinion as well.

The main point, though, I think, is that they've developed a very detailed plan to test these systems beforehand.  Now, I don't have all of the details to respond to your exact criticisms of the SM-3.  But I think that they have satisfied themselves within the MDA.  They've satisfied the Defense Department's independent testing agency.

As you recall, the previous system did not have to work through DOD's testing agency.  This plan has now been briefed around town, to the Hill, to everybody, and it seems to me that this is the right way forward to proving that these systems, when deployed, will actually do what we're asking them to do.

And then on the second point you have about, you know, ASATs, obviously, you know, the United States does not support the development of any type of ASAT system, particularly, especially those like Chinese one, which generated so much debris that it will be in orbit for generations.  And that's not the purpose of the SM-3.  And we will continue to work through the international community, especially on transparency and confidence-building measures, to make sure that these types of systems are not developed in the future.

MR. COLLINA:  Anybody else want to address those issues?  Okay.

Other questions?

Yes, sir, way in the back.

Q:  Thank you.  Dieter Dettke, Georgetown University.  I have a question for the former Czech defense minister.  And I want to invite you to help us to understand better what Russia is thinking and how it's reacting.  What is it expecting from the West, from Europe, from NATO, from the United States?

I would have loved to ask this question of Rose Gottemoeller who lived in Russia.  But you're close to Russia, and you might be able to tell us a little more, how far they are going to go, where they can help, where they can do us harm.  And how do you read Russia's mind at the moment in terms of, you know, what they want to achieve, vis-à-vis Europe, vis-à-vis the West, within NATO?  Thank you.

MR. SEDIVY:  Thank you very much.  And it's ‏‒ yeah, Winston Churchill said that Russia is mystery wrapped up in an enigma, and so on and so forth.  No, first of all, from my part of Europe, sometimes the perception of Russia is not entirely, I would say, rational.  It's still quite burdened by the past experience and sometimes a bit paranoid.

First of all, what I don't think Russia is about to do, and it's not about to invade any part of NATO territories.  It's not about to attack us in any other way.  It's perhaps first and foremost what they seek is a recognition, because they are dealing with, I would say, difficult adaptive psychological process of losing an empire in a relatively short period.

It expects from us trade.  Indeed, Russia is very much and will be more and more dependent on the West, in general terms, in terms of the trade.  But also in terms of technologies.

So it's also cooperation.  I also believe that Russia expects from NATO that we would not fail in Afghanistan completely, because that would be a disaster for Russia first of all.  If you look at the map, if you look at the problems, you know, there will be proliferation of various social pathologies and terrorism and arms and more drugs, you know, through Central Asia, more extremists in northern caucuses, which is already now actually in a state of war.

So I believe that we have much more rational or higher interests in common.  But at the same time, Russia is extremely difficult because of that effort to keep still the status that it used to have, to have recognition.  That's most I can say in a few sentences.

But I am coming from the school of structural realism.  And I believe that actually the structure and the distribution of configuration of power is to, a certain extent, actually determining the behavior of nations, of the actors in the international relations, international system.  And Russia simply will be forced, because of the relative decline, especially vis-à-vis China, but also vis-à-vis other parts of her neighborhood, Russia simply will be forced more and more to cooperate with us and indeed with whom else if you look at her map, at her geopolitical, geostrategic code.

MR. COLLINA:  Anybody else want to comment on that one?

Okay.  Darrell (sp), right up.  Can we get a mike up to the front, please?

Q:  Thanks to all of you.  Missile defense is always a controversial subject.  And I just wanted to acknowledge ‏ I mean, some of the points that you raise, Mark, these are facts, in my view.  And so one of the things that I think would be useful, not now, to have some answers to, but, you know, when will the testing schedule address some of the issues that Mark was raising?

It's my understanding that that would be quite some time from now, and that there aren't yet answers through the testing program to some of the technical questions that he was raising.

Which brings me to the question that Greg was raising, which I think actually gets to the heart of this.  Which is, what do we mean by “protection?”  And I don't like ‏‒ I tell my staff not to use the word “missile-defense shield” or “protection” because that suggests that this military hardware has a capability that it really doesn't completely have.

So my question to the ambassador and to Mr. Desautels is, in the NATO concept right now, okay, how would you summarize the concept of protection that the Alliance is trying to attain?

And then the second part, and this gets to the last point that Greg was raising, how in 2020, which is not that long from now in many ways, how does the Alliance or the Pentagon and the State Department foresee avoiding yet another conflict with Russia that we had just two, three years ago over the GBI proposal?

So those are my two questions.  And I think these are elemental questions.  I'd just like a response on those two things, which get to some of the tentacle issues, but it's where the policy intersects with the technology.

MR. COLLINA:  Eric, do you want to take that one on first?

MR. DESAUTELS:  Actually, I counted three questions there.  (Laughs.)  The first was on, you know, when are we going to start doing some of this testing?  For example, I know next year MDA will conduct a test that will test whether the Aegis SM-3 Block IA is capable against the IRBM type of threat.

Right now it's proven up to the 1,000 kilometer range threat.  So next year, they'll have a test where they test for that longer range system, also using the radar that we plan to deploy in Europe, so that when we do deploy all of this in Europe we have actually tested the system to ensure that what we say we're doing in phase one is what we can do in phase one.

And then on protection, actually, I think this kind of gets to many of the questions you asked.  You know, what is the level of protection?  Will there be, you know, more problems with Russia?  I think all of this comes down to time.

The system is not designed to protect you against every single Iranian ballistic missile that they could possibly build or that they have built.  The system is designed to provide you protection in the early phases of the conflict where you can start employing the other aspects of your national power.  If Iran starts lobbing missiles at NATO European countries, we're going to respond, and there's other means of responding that will hopefully, you know, take care of the rest of the missile threat that you're, you know, worried about.

And then I think on the issue of Russia, again, I think it comes down to time.  You know, like Greg said, there's 10 years until we theoretically start deploying the SM-3 Block IIBs.  Hopefully in that period of time we'll have enough time to work with the Russians cooperatively.  We think if we actually can work with them that they will see what we are doing and what our focus is.  We will see the evolution of the threat, so hopefully, you know, there are areas where we do agree now.  There are areas where we don't disagree, and hopefully we can converge that delta over time.

And then, I think just the interaction and repeatedly trying to explain to them what our plans are and being transparent with them.  I know my boss, Undersecretary Tauscher, frequently calls her Russian counterpart to explain what we're doing so that he's aware and he doesn't get it, you know, from the press first, you know, trying to keep them in the loop of what's going on, on all of this.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you, Eric.  Anyone else like to comment on that?

Oh, yes.  Go ahead.

MR. SEDIVY:  Actually, there was a question, both questions were also going to me.  And the protection is very much linked to the issue of coverage.  And I mentioned that this is one of the bit more controversial issues that has been and will be discussed.  And I completely share your view that we should not use the notion of shield or umbrella even, perhaps.

But it's the most I can say, because those data are classified, is that it's very relative, and that protection is probably success within a given scenario.  That's the most I can say.

Now, the second question was about how to avoid conflict with Russia in the coming years.  I mean, we are really very much open vis-à-vis Russia.  We, I would say, and this is my personal opinion, ‏are perhaps too much […] sometimes, ‏ NATO is positioning itself as a demander in that relationship.  And I still believe we need each other.  But I also believe that actually Russia needs us more than we need Russia.

So it's upon, really, it's upon Russia to use what is on the table, what is offered, and especially now when we've been developing a comprehensive plan of issues and activities within that NATO-Russia reset.  It's a good opportunity to take this possibility and to really start substantive [discussions] ‏‒ this is the problem.  I mean, we have lost hours and days in debates which resulted in nothing substantive, in very shallow papers and very few real deeds.  

And I must say also, at the same time, we've been exposed to very intensive intelligence activities of Russia compared to [the] 1980s.  And we've been also exposed to very intensive, let's say, cyber activities from the part of Russia.

So given all this, you know, I believe that we are really very much forthcoming, and it's upon Russia to take up this opportunity.


MR. THIELMANN:  I just want to make one comment about what I think I'm inferring is an offer of limited missile defenses against a limited threat.  Even if one assumes fairly effective, very effective missile defense ‏‒ as I say, 80 percent effective ‏‒ and one postulates five Iranian ballistic missiles, each with nuclear warheads, going into Europe, a successful system of defense then means there's only one nuclear explosion over a European city.

Yet, this may be damage mitigation, but it seems to me that this means that ‏‒ knowing this both sides means the Iranians know that they have an effective nuclear threat against Europe, and the European NATO leadership knows that it has to deal with the reality that Iran can hit them with nuclear weapons.

So then the question is, now, what have you gained with all this enormous expenditure to achieve that result where NATO acts in a certain way toward Iran and Iran acts in a certain way toward NATO that would be pretty much the same way if there were no missile defenses?  That's really my question.

MR. COLLINA:  Yes, Allan Krass.

Q:  Hi, I'm Allan Krass, again.  I want to know why the phrase “cruise missiles” has never been mentioned here.  Everything is about ballistic missiles.  It used to be that cruise missiles were seen a significant additional threat, nuclear threat over ballistic missiles and that building a ballistic missile defense gives you nothing in terms of defense against cruise missiles.  Are cruise missiles a part of the NATO-Russia-U.S. discussions?  And if so, what sort of plans are being thought about for cruise missile defense?

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.  Who wants that one?

MR. DESAUTELS: I think when we look at all of this, you know, I should say, when my joint staff colleagues look at all of this, they look at it as an integrated air and missile-defense picture.  And how do they deal with all of these threats aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles?

In the NATO context, you have a very well-developed air defense capability.  But the part that they are lacking is the missile-defense mission and capability.

So I think, from the way you asked that question, it's really being addressed more as an air defense type of mission than a missile-defense type of mission.

MR. COLLINA:  Jiri, did you want to add to that, or no?

MR. SEDIVY:  I'm almost 100 percent sure that cruise missiles are not subject to debates with Russia, between NATO and Russia?  But I'm not sure about ,‏ I remember that some nations, when we started actually debates about missile defense in 2007, some nations wanted to add actually something that was for them very pertinent in terms of very short-range missiles.

But that was then somehow pushed aside.  At the same time, I can imagine that actually as we are now talking about extending the ALT-BMD and the theater missile defenses  and we have also actually experience now, first experience from the Israeli missile defense, that iron dome which is a, I would say, very local missile defense, and which we are looking at the possibility of using it in Afghanistan because it's perfectly suited for protecting a relatively small place.

So that this might be added.  But I'm not sure about that, really.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.

Yes, sir, right in the middle.

Q:  I'm Terry Hopmann from Johns Hopkins SAIS.  I'd like to follow up a little bit on Mark's question also.  I've been impressed over the last 30 years about the differences of opinions and evaluations about the feasibility of missile-defense programs, when one compares the findings of independent or university-based scientists with those who have a bureaucratic or financial incentive, to say that these things work.

But I, being a political scientist and therefore not a real scientist, I can't judge this, obviously.  But it does strike me nonetheless that just suppose it does work  and I want to go back to this question of anti-satellite weapons.  I mean, there could potentially be a whole series of unintended consequences.  And if we haven't thought about negotiation strategies, you suggest, Eric, that there's some way that we can head off these things from becoming anti-satellite weapons, capabilities.  After all, satellites are a lot easier to hit.  They're in fixed orbits, right?  They're not moving.  They're up there at a known time and everything else that make them an awful lot easier targets than ballistic missiles that are shot from an unknown location, at an unknown time, in an unknown or unpredictable trajectory or things like that.

Isn't this really opening up, in other words, the need to really be thinking seriously about another negotiation that makes the current START and New START negotiations look almost trivial by comparison in terms of both the technological complexities and the political complexities of negotiating our way through what could really be an unintended consequence of something designed to fit in with the current New START negotiations, but actually opens up a whole, you know, when the genie gets out of the bottle, a whole set of new and very complex political and technical questions that we really haven't, it seems, thought about doing or dealing with?  Or have we thought about dealing with it?  And if so, how would we go about thinking about dealing with this new kind of negotiation?

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.

Eric, you want to take a shot at that one?

MR. DESAUTELS:  Actually, one of the first things we're trying to do is work with the Europeans.  I don't know if you've seen their European Code of Conduct on space activities.  They have points in there about not developing ASAT capabilities.  Now, obviously, that's a, you know, Code of Conduct which, you know, it has no verification provisions.

But the other thing, when you look at our national space policy, which was released earlier by President Obama, we are going to take a look at arms control for space items.  We haven't decided on what type of arms control to pursue.  We're still reviewing that within the interagency, but obviously looking at some type of ground-based ASAT regime would be something that we are considering.


MR. THIELMANN:  I would just like to make one comment on another unintended consequence, and that is the proliferation of missile technology.  There's not a great deal of difference between an offensive ballistic missile and a defensive ballistic missile.  It involves a lot of principles of rocket science and the development of propulsion ballistic missile improvements and so forth.

I would submit that we don't necessarily want to welcome a world in which we help all of our friends and allies develop better and better missile defenses and some countries that aren't exactly a close friend and ally of us because we have the technology and it earns a lot of money and so forth.

And just think about the fact that India today has an active strategic missile-defense program.  Israel has a very close relationship with India in terms of arms sales.  The U.S., needless to say, is bankrolling half of Israel's ballistic missile development efforts.  This is not good for the Missile Technology Control Regime, believe me.  

And this is, to me, another unintended consequence of us aggressively pursuing ballistic missile defenses.

MR. COLLINA:  Yes, Catherine.

Q:  (Off mike.)

MR. COLLINA:  There's a mike coming, too.

Q:  Sorry.  Catherine Kelleher.  This is a follow on to what you just said, Greg.  But wasn't the decision made very early not to strengthen ‏- to take that approach to strengthen the Missile Technology Control Regime?  In other words, we've let that regime sort of not quite go to sleep, but pretty much, and we're not thinking now of pursuing it aggressively.  And the question is, why did we take that choice when, whether one believes one set of testers or another, there certainly is question about the ability to in fact stop missiles in flight?

MR. THIELMANN:  I think we're selectively pursuing the Missile Technology Control Regime, depending on whether we're friendly with the country or not.  But I'll let Eric give the definitive answer.

MR. DESAUTELS:  Yeah, I would just have to completely disagree.  I mean, we have not cut back or put aside the Missile Technology Control Regime.  We actively – I disagree.  I think we pursue it at every opportunity.  The MTCR meets several times a year.  We are, you know, very active in working with all of our partners in the MTCR in preventing technology from being proliferated.

Look at the U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran and North Korea.  What are the lists of goods that are prohibited from going to Iran?  They are the MTCR list, because we believe that that is a good list of items to prevent a country from getting.

Now, that's not to say that countries outside the MTCR are not the biggest threat to the MTCR.  North Korea, for example, they are not an MTCR member, so they're not going to follow the rules of that, and so we have to enforce those provisions on North Korea in different ways.  And I think we're pursuing that very vigorously, especially through these U.N. Security Council resolutions that make it illegal for North Korea to proliferate these items to countries like Iran or Syria.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.  I'm going to wrap up not only this panel discussion, but all of the day's activities.  And before I thank our speakers, I really want to thank the Heinrich Böll Stiftung for helping us with this event and partnering with us.  It's been a true pleasure working with the staff there, in particular Sebastian Gräfe and Marcus Rucci (ph).  I hope I'm pronouncing that right.  Probably not.

But thank you all very much.  It was really a terrific partnership, and I hope we can do it again.

I also want to thank the ACA staff who spent a lot of time on this:  Eric Auner, Matt Sugrue and Rob Golan-Vilella.  You guys did a great job.  And thank you all very much.

I also want to thank you, the audience, for sticking it out to the end.  And I really appreciate your attention and your questions.  And now, please join me in thanking our speakers here on the panel and all the speakers we've had here today, because they've done an absolutely fantastic job.  In addition to traveling, for a few of them, many, many miles to get here from Russia, Europe and other places.  So please join me in thanking them very much.

And thank you all for being here.  (Applause.)‏