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US Allies Embrace BMD

Japan under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi remains the shining star of international cooperation with the United States on BMD.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Apr 07, 2006
A senior State Department official this week spelled out how international ballistic missile defense cooperation is reviving U.S. strategic alliances around the world.

Far from isolating the United States internationally, the Bush administration's drive to develop effective BMD systems has been re-invigorating old strategic relationships with traditional allies around the world, Paula DeSutter, the assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance and implementation told a Washington seminar Tuesday that was sponsored by the National Defense University Foundation.

Japan under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi remains the shining star of international cooperation with the United States on BMD.

Japan formally reached a decision to deploy a multi-layered defensive system in December 2003, which will involve the pu! rchase of the U.S. AEGIS BMD system and the Patriot PAC-3, as a purely defensive measure to protect the lives and property of citizens of Japan against ballistic missile attacks by rogue states, DeSutter said.

"In addition to deploying PAC-3 interceptors, the Japanese Defense Agency also plans to equip Maritime Self-Defense Forces destroyers with SM-3 interceptors," she said.

"U.S. Aegis Long-Range Surveillance & Tracking destroyers (are) already stationed in the Sea of Japan," DeSutter said.

"In addition, we are currently exploring other areas for missile defense cooperation, including cooperative development of next generation interceptors. Recently, on March 8, the United States and Japan successfully completed a cooperative flight-test of the SM-3 with a modified, Japanese-designed, advanced nose cone," she said.

Australia has also been energetically pushing ahead with major joint cooperation ! programs with the Untied States, DeSutter said.

"Three specific cooperative projects -- involving the Over-the-Horizon Radar, modeling and simulation, and fusion and tracking technologies -- are currently under discussion," she said.

"On Aug. 16, 2005, Canberra announced it had chosen the U.S. firm Gibbs and Cox as the preferred designer for their navy's air warfare destroyers worth up to $6 billion Australian Dollars. Three vessels are currently funded, with the first scheduled to be operational in 2013. Each will be equipped with AEGIS sensors and will be inter-operable with the military forces of the United States and with those of other future coalition partners."

NATO too "has committed financial resources to developing and acquiring an operational command and control, planning, and execution capability for the protection of deployed military forces," DeSutter said. "By 2010, the alliance expects to have the cap! ability to protect deployed military forces against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles."

The United States is also "currently assisting Israel in upgrading the performance of its operational Arrow system to give the system greater capability against longer-range threats of greater sophistication," she said.

Germany and Italy have joined the United States in developing the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS -- a highly mobile MD system for defending against short- to medium-range threats. "MEADS is scheduled to be fielded in 2014 and would be a replacement for (the) Patriot," DeSutter said.

Britain has agreed to a U.S. request to upgrade the early warning radar at Fylingdales, Yorkshire, in northeastern England, for missile defense purposes.

The United States is also exploring the possibility of "fielding a U.S. missile defense interceptor site in Europe," DeSutter said.

"The United States has conducted exploratory consultations with a number of NATO Allies regarding their interest in hosting the deployment of U.S. Missile Defense assets. No U.S. decision has been reached yet," she said. "We believe that the deployment of limited numbers of missile defense interceptors in Europe would make a significant contribution to the protection of the U.S. and European NATO Allies from a Middle Eastern ballistic missile threat."

"It is ... clear that our allies and friends are also jettisoning the Cold War logic that vulnerability is stabilizing," DeSutter concluded. "Because Cold War-style deterrence is not sufficient, missile defense is a reasonable insurance policy to purchase in today's international security environment."

Many, if not most, of the major democratic governments around the world clearly agree with her.

Source: United Press International

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