The United States could provide Russia with early warning information about incoming missile threats as part of a joint missile defense effort, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, Feb. 22).
U.S. Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary James Miller said NATO and U.S. radar technology could bolster Russia's capacity to eliminate missiles launched from Iran. The official told a House Armed Services subcommittee on Wednesday that Russian data collected from such radar bases as Gabala and Armavir could benefit NATO and U.S. antimissile activities as well.
Miller said he thought information swaps of early warning information held the most promise for any early NATO-Russia missile defense collaboration.
Russian and U.S. experts are exploring areas for potential antimissile collaboration.
Moscow has historically been wary of U.S. and NATO antimissile efforts, seeing in them an attempt to undermine the Russian nuclear deterrent. The Obama administration maintains that its plan for European missile defense is designed to ward off ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East.
"(Iran) continues to pursue more and greater capabilities," Defense Department Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Principal Director John Plumb said. "We need to have a way not only to deter them from using them, but also if deterrence fails to be able to intercept their missiles."
The U.S. plan to field in phases land- and sea-based missile interceptors in Europe is presently under the charge of the U.S. European Command. With NATO's decision in November to connect existing member states' antimissile systems, the alliance can assume the leadership role in defending Europe against missiles, Miller said (ITAR-Tass, March 3).
Separately, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the Obama administration's intention to field missile interceptors and Air Force personnel in Poland, RIA Novosti reported yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 9, 2010).
"As was announced by our two presidents in December, we plan to establish a new permanent U.S. air detachment in Poland, build missile defenses in Poland, and as agreed at the NATO summit [in Lisbon], develop a contingency plan in the region," Clinton said to reporters prior to a meeting in Washington with her Polish counterpart (RIA Novosti, March 3).