Saturday, August 01, 2009

Defense: Obama and USA's missile defense system plans

Pravda - The politics of the US administration in the field of the ballistic missile defense will not be changed much, Brad Roberts, an official with the US Defense Department said. The Pentagon does not exclude alternative locations for the deployment of the missile defense system in Europe, but the United States will not take account of Russia's concerns at this point.

"I don't see much likelihood of significant departure from the continuity of policy of the last 20 years of the United States," Brad Roberts, the deputy assistant defense secretary for nuclear and missile defense policy said in an interview with Global Security Newswire.

The official did not specify, how the new missile defense policies of the United States are going to affect the plans to deploy a radar station and interceptor missiles in Eastern Europe. Mr. Roberts only said that the discussion was underway.

In the meantime, another official representing the US Defense Department stated that the US was considering options for European missile defense other than current plans for a system based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"The site in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic are among the options that are being considered, together with other options that might be able to perform the mission as well," Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow told lawmakers in the House of Representatives, The Associated Press reports.

Vershbow said the missile defense review will look at a range of options, but will not take Russia's objection into account.

"We are reviewing these internally; we are not engaged in a discussion with the Russians about alternative options at this point. Our conclusions will be based exclusively on the threat from Iran, the effectiveness of the systems and the cost,” The AP quoted Vershbow as saying.

The US Missile Defense Agency has recently conducted a successful test of a sea-based component of its missile defense shield. An interceptor missile successfully destroyed the test target fired from Hawaii on Thursday night. It became the 19th successful test of the Aegis sea-based missile defense system.

However, the United States has been trying to dispel Russia’s apprehensions regarding the US missile defense system in Europe. A group of American military experts is visiting Moscow to negotiate the establishment of the early prevention center which would analyze the ballistic missile threat, The Washington Post wrote.

It seems that the new US administration does not even intend to do at least something to justify Russia’s hopes. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in the beginning of June that the Pentagon had plans to deploy missile defense system elements on Russia’s territory. Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry responded that Moscow did not consider an opportunity to host the system on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Patrick O’Reilly, the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said that the deployment of the US missile defense system components in the Czech Republic could be finished within four and a half years, and in Poland – in five years.
Published by Mike Hitchen,
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