EUCOM/NATO Military Chief On NATO Interceptor Missile System
United States European Command
September 24, 2012
Missiles and Pirates
Admiral James Stavridis
In the week ahead, I’ll focus on two topics that don’t always get a huge amount of attention, but are very important: piracy and missile defense. These are two key missions we are undertaking today with NATO forces and reflect the kind of trans-national threats that the Alliance must be prepared to face in this turbulent 21st century.
Later in the week, I’ll be turning my attention to missile defense.
The NATO center for missile defense is in Ramstein, Germany, at the Air Component Command ably led by US Air Force 4-star General Phil Breedlove, a deeply experienced airman with multiple tours in Europe during his 30+ year career. General Breedlove is working hard on putting the nascent NATO missile defense system in place.
The Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey provides the ballistic missile defense under the European Phased Adaptive Approach. Currently, we have a command and control system largely located in Ramstein; and advanced phased array radar forward deployed in NATO ally Turkey’s southern region; and several AEGIS missile defense ships operating at sea in the Eastern Mediterranean. This provides the beginning of a missile defense system over Turkey, Greece, and parts of the Balkans.
Over time, our plan is to add additional radars and missile systems ashore, as well as to bring four additional missile defense AEGIS destroyers into the Mediterranean, to be stationed in Rota, Spain.
We will be working on burden-sharing, as many of the NATO allies have good missile defense capability at sea and ashore that can be linked into the system. Unfortunately, we still have some disagreements with Russia about the system (Russia is concerned this system may have the capability to defeat their strategic ICBM force…) I’m hoping to eventually see a robust missile defense system in place that provides coverage for the entire Alliance.
Appropriately, I am spending a great deal of time on the challenges of Afghanistan and the Balkans at the moment; but there are other key issues at work facing the Alliance, and this week I’ll be investing in these two areas.