Romania and the United States have reached a deal on where to deploy U.S. missile interceptors in the southeastern European state, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Jan. 21).
Romanian President Traian Basescu and U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher disclosed the decision to establish an interceptor facility at the Daveselu air base, not far from the border with Bulgaria. Bucharest had previously pledged to allow the interceptors into Romania.
Tauscher told AP the interceptors would go online no later than 2015, in accordance with the Obama administration's Phased Adaptive Approach for Missile Defense in Europe.
"We continue to do what we said we were going to do when it comes to missile defense," Tauscher said. "We are right on track, right on time."
The Obama plan involves the gradual deployment of increasingly advanced sea- and land-based missile interceptors around Europe that would be supported by radar technology. The U.S. system would be incorporated into a wider NATO antimissile effort.
The first component of the U.S. plan became operational in March when the guided missile carrier USS Monterey departed from Virginia for a half-year rotation patrolling the Mediterranean (see GSN, March 2).
The planned missile defense system is intended to shield the European continent from potential missile attacks from the Middle East, primarily Iran. The plan replaces a Bush-era program that would have fielded 10 long-range missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic.
Russia vehemently opposed the Bush effort and has remained wary of successor plans put forward by Brussels and Washington. NATO and Moscow are working to develop a plan for missile defense cooperation (Associated Press/Google News, May 3).
Romania will continue to manage the Daveselu air base, but hundreds of U.S. military personnel are expected to be deployed to the installation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 3).