The Geopolitics of Missile Defense  (Page 3 of 3)

In Europe, for instance, the Obama administration has worked more closely with NATO as a collective alliance as well as individual NATO countries such as Romania and Turkey to develop its European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).  The EPAA has redirected U.S. BMD efforts closer toward Iran to address that country’s limited-range missiles. As Iran’s missile capabilities improve, the EPAA will deploy increasingly more advanced SM-3 interceptors that can protect more NATO territory.   Under the EPAA, the United States is deploying Aegis BMD and Aegis Ashore capabilities throughout Europe to protect countries against Iran’s short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.  The first phase of the EPAA has already been deployed with the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey (carrying SM-3 interceptors) deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, while Turkey hosts a BMD radar system. The U.S. Air Operations Center’s BMD command and control capabilities at Ramstein Air Base in Germany have become operational, which will support the upcoming phase two development of land-based SM-3s in Romania. The Romanian system is scheduled to become operational in 2015, just after U.S. Aegis destroyers arrive at their new homeports in Spain. In Phase 3, a land SM-3 site will be established in Poland, though the planned Phase 4 deployments of even more advanced interceptors for Poland are being reworked given the March 2013 cancellation of the SM-3 IIB.

Japan is one of the United States’ closest BMD partners. The country has acquired its own layered missile defense system that includes Aegis BMD ships with SM-3 interceptors, Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) fire units, early warning radars, and a command and control system, as well as a forward-based X-band radar.  Japan deploys two classes of Aegis configured destroyers: the KONGO Class and the ATAGO Class. In 2003, the KONGO class was upgraded with BMD capabilities.  Japan is the only other country besides the United States that has the capacity to intercept ballistic missiles well above the upper atmosphere, confirmed by several sea-based intercept tests (the Japan Flight Test Mission, or JFTM, series). Together with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Japan is helping develop the next-generation SM Block 2A system that will enable defense of larger areas and against more sophisticated threats. The United States and Japan recently agreed to construct a new early warning radar in southern Japan to augment the already functioning X-band radar in northern Japan, at the Shariki base.  The two countries are particularly concerned about North Korea’s potential development of a long-range missile and China’s development of anti-ship missiles.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a global ally of the United States and Washington has helped the ROK develop its BMD capabilities.  The ROK has acquired Aegis ships and PATRIOT batteries and has expressed interest in land- and sea-based missile defense systems, early warning radars, and a command and control system.  Historical and other tensions between Japan and South Korea have kept them from cooperating effectively on missile defense or many other security issues.  The ROK has also declined to share its BMD assets with other countries through a networked regional BMD architecture for fear of antagonizing China, which fears that the United States is using missile defense as a means to encircle China with revitalized U.S. bilateral alliances in Asia. Like the South Korean forces, the U.S. BMD assets in South Korea are limited to defending themselves and their host country from a DPRK missile attack.

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Australia has been one of the United States’ first BMD partners since the July 2004 signing of a BMD framework memorandum of understanding. The United States and Australia share BMD data and participate in multilateral missile defense war games. Australia’s currently developing three Air Warfare Destroyer.   U.S. officials are reviewing the possibility of establishing a third X-Band radar in the Philippines, where it could help track ballistic missiles launched from North Korea or parts of China.   The Philippines’ territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea have encouraged the Philippines to seek to strengthen their security ties with the United States.

In the Middle East, Washington has attempted to counter the ballistic missile threats in the region through regional alliances, for example the GCC, bilateral arrangements with individual Middle Eastern governments, and through unilateral measures to protect its armed forces and interests. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is purchasing both Patriot and THAAD BMD missiles from the United States, while other GCC-states have already deployed Patriot batteries and are considering buying other anti-ballistic missile systems.  Israel also continues to work closely with the United States on BMD matters; it has Patriot missiles systems, hosts advanced U.S. BMD radars, and is working jointly with the United States to develop its own advanced BMD interceptors.

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