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Russia Fumes at US Missile Defense Plan

New York Times (Associated Press)
February 26, 2010

Russia has serious concerns about U.S. plans to deploy missile interceptors in Romania, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The statement from ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko reflected Moscow’s irritation about the U.S. missile defense plans and signaled tensions in relations with Washington.

Nesterenko said that Russia has been annoyed to learn about the move from the media.

”We are worried that we find out about important decisions regarding the U.S. missile defense in Europe from the media rather than our official counterparts in Washington or Bucharest,” Nesterenko told a briefing. …

… other Russian officials, including the nation’s top military officer, recently said the U.S. missile defense plans threaten Russia and have slowed down negotiations on a successor deal to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Russia and the U.S. had hoped to reach agreement before START expired on Dec. 5, but differences persisted. Still, Sergei Prikhodko, President Dmitry Medvedev’s foreign policy adviser, said Friday that the Kremlin believes the treaty could be signed in March or April, Russian news agencies reported.


Biden seeks end to all U.S. nukes

Washington Post
February 19, 2010
By Bill Gertz

The Obama administration will move ahead with Senate ratification of a treaty banning nuclear tests that was voted down by Republicans more than a decade ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. said Thursday.

In a speech setting out the administration’s arms-control agenda, Mr. Biden also said the United States will continue to pursue President Obama’s call for the elimination of all U.S. nuclear arms, but defended spending $7 billion in the coming year to repair an aging arsenal.

The administration is close to reaching a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, and is nearing completion of a review of U.S. nuclear weapons forces, Mr. Biden said at the National Defense University.

“Our agenda is based on a clear-eyed assessment of our national interest,” Mr. Biden said. “We have long relied on nuclear weapons to deter potential adversaries. Now, as our technology improves, we are developing non-nuclear ways to accomplish that same objective.”

Non-nuclear weapons development includes the administration’s plan for an “adaptive” missile-defense shield and conventional warheads “with worldwide reach,” he said. …


Video: Laser Jet Blasts Ballistic Missile in Landmark Test

By Noah Shachtman
February 12, 2010

The American military has been working since 1996 on a tricked-out 747 that could blast ballistic missiles out of the sky with a ultra-powerful laser. After 14 years of promising “the American people their first light saber,” the Missile Defense Agency finally pulled it off Thursday night at 8:44 p.m

It’s one of a number of steps forward for real-life ray guns in the past year or so. “Solid state” electric lasers finally hit what’s commonly considered battlefield strength. A laser-equipped Air Force gunship disabled a truck with its energy beam. A ground-mounted ray gun blasted drones out of the sky. But all of those energy weapons were weak — and the engineering challenges limited — compared to last night’s shoot-down.

A short-range, Scud-like ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform near the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center, off of the central California coast. “Within seconds, the Airborne Laser Test Bed [ALTB] used on-board sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting,” according to a statement from the Missile Defense Agency.

Read More (with video coverage of laser blasting ballistic misile): www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/02/laser-jet-blasts-ballistic-missile-in-landmark-test/#ixzz0fnKfcKKC

2011 Funding Request Includes New Sat System

Aviation Week
Feb 11, 2010
By Amy Butler

The Obama administration’s proposed 2011 spending plan includes some changes to major missile defense and space programs that emphasize a focus on space situational awareness and ballistic missile tracking capabilities. The proposal also underpins the aging nuclear weapons infrastructure, while adhering to the aim of eventually scrapping nuclear forces altogether and securing so-called nuclear loose material worldwide.

Few new expensive programs are being started in Fiscal 2011, and the most dramatic shift in the funding request is the termination of the joint Defense-Commerce Dept. National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System …

By contrast, the Air Force is setting aside funding for a follow-on Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) procurement. The first SBSS, a Ball Aerospace/Boeing project that features a two-axis gimballed visible-light sensor to surveil satellites in geosynchronous orbit, is complete and slated for launch this summer.


US seeks to interact with RF in missile defence issue

February 2, 2010

The United States seeks to interact with Russia in the missile defence sphere, it is said in the US Ballistic Missile Defence Review (BMDR) released Monday. Such a document has been prepared by the Pentagon for the first time.

The review says that the US administration seeks to interact with Russia in the ballistic missile defence sphere. Together with Russia it is working on a wide agenda focused on the mutual early warning about missile launches, possible technical and operational cooperation.

It is admitted in the review that as of today only Russia and China have the potential for launching a large-scale attack on the US territory with the use of ballistic missiles. However, according to American specialists, such a scenario is very low probable and is not in the focus of the US missile defence plans.

Regarding Russia as an important partner, the document stresses further, the Barack Obama administration is working on the agenda aimed at bringing the two countries’ strategic military doctrines in line with the relations formed between them after the end of the Cold War. It is explained in the document that the United States and Russia are not enemies any longer and that there is no serious threat of war between them. …

Key areas of focus for the BMDR include:

Implementing a phased, adaptive approach for missile defence in Europe, as outlined in the Fact Sheet on US Missile Defence Policy: A “Phased, Adaptive Approach” for Missile Defence in Europe; Providing effective regional missile defences for US forces and allies against short-, medium-, intermediate-range missiles; Providing effective defence of the United States against longer-range missiles; Balancing ballistic missile defence capabilities and investments, accounting for near and long-term threats to the US, allies, and deployed forces; Determining requirements for ballistic missile defence capabilities, as well as the execution and oversight of the US ballistic missile defence program; and The objectives, requirements, and standards for ballistic missile defence program testing and evaluation …


Romania 'to host missile shield'

BBC News
February 4, 2010

Romania has agreed to host missile interceptors as part of a new US defence shield, its president says.

President Traian Basescu said the plan was approved by the defence council. It still needs parliamentary approval.

The US scrapped a previous missile shield, based in Poland and the Czech Republic, which had infuriated Russia.

Instead the new system would provide better defence from “the emerging threat” of Iranian short- and medium-range missiles, a US official said.

Mr Basescu said the system would “protect the whole of Romania’s territory”, but stressed that it “is not directed against Russia”.

He said Romania will host “ground capabilities to intercept missiles” that would be operational by 2015 if approved by parliament. …

Romania has agreed to host anti-ballistic missile interceptors as part of the administration’s “new missile defence plan… to protect US forward-deployed troops and our NATO allies against current and emerging ballistic missile threats from Iran,” he said.

Mr Obama’s decision to abandon the original plan in September was greeted with enthusiasm in Russia, and came amid attempts to “reset” the relationship between Washington and Moscow.

The anti-ballistic missile shield favoured by former President George W Bush would be replaced by a reconfigured system designed to shoot down short- and medium-range missiles, Mr Obama announced.

He said intelligence suggested Iran was concentrating on shorter-range, not intercontinental, missiles.

The Bush administration plans had infuriated Russia, which threatened to train nuclear warheads on Poland the Czech Republic in response.

The new system is built around ship- and land-based SM-3 missile interceptors.

In October, US Vice-President Joseph Biden visited Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic seeking support for the new system.

Poland has already signed up.


US launches largest Asian war games in Thailand

Yahoo! News
February 1, 2010

The US military began its largest war games in the Pacific region Monday — an annual training exercise with troops from Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, now joined by South Korea.

At the opening ceremony in the eastern Thai province of Rayong, US Ambassador Eric G. John said that the “Cobra Gold” exercise, now in its 29th year, had become a “multinational showcase event”.

“The US continues to view this exercise, which is our premier training event in Thailand, as an important symbol of US military commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia,” he told the audience.

John welcomed South Korea’s participation in the event, which runs until February 11 and will see soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen from the six countries taking part in operations across Thailand.

He said the focus of the exercise was on joint peacekeeping operations and humanitarian and disaster responses, for which it offered “unparalleled” preparation, citing the 2004 tsunami relief operation as an example. …


Russia Resists Partnering With U.S. on Missile Defense

NTI: Global Security Newswire
January 26, 2010

Russia remains reluctant to partner with the United States on missile defense, Interfax reported Friday (see GSN, Jan. 22).

“As far as missile defense issues are concerned, we have told the U.S. and NATO that it is necessary to start everything from scratch — to jointly analyze the origin and types of missile proliferation risks and threats,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

“We are not ready to simply trust someone else’s analysis and proposals to counter such threats on the basis of this analysis,” Lavrov said. “But they have simply told us: these are the systems we plan to develop, and you will have to contribute your radars. This is not the kind of approach we are ready to support.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to involve Moscow in efforts to prepare a European missile shield that would largely be aimed to countering Iranian weapons. The Kremlin loudly objected to the Bush administration plan — which involved fielding 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar installation in the Czech Republic — and has appeared to question a revamped initiative that would use land- and sea-based versions of the Standard Missile 3 system.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have requested a shared assessment of missile proliferation threats, Lavrov noted.

“We are ready for this work. But the result of this joint analysis is unclear to me,” he said. “We will have to take a look at the situation surrounding all missile proliferation risks, not only those posed by Iran” (Interfax/Kiev Post, Jan. 22).

US Deploys More Missile Defense Units To Persian Gulf

Wall Street Journal
January 31, 2010

The U.S. is sending more missile defense assets to countries around the Persian Gulf to counter what is seen as a growing threat from Iran, Reuters reports on its Web site Sunday. Nations including Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain will be hosting U.S. anti-missile systems, the report said. In addition, the U.S. Navy is deploying several ships with anti-missile capabilities in and around the region…

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100131-702829.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines (Subscription needed)

US beefing up missile defenses in Persian Gulf

Washington Post
By Robert Burns (Associated Press)
January 31, 2010

As the Obama administration edges toward imposing tougher sanctions on Iran, it has begun upgrading its approach to defending its Persian Gulf allies against potential Iranian missile strikes, officials said Saturday.

The United States has quietly increased the capability of land-based Patriot defensive missiles in several Gulf Arab nations, and one military official said the Navy is beefing up the presence of ships capable of knocking down hostile missiles in flight. …

The moves have been in the works for months and are part of a broader adjustment in the U.S. approach to missile defense, including in Europe and Asia. Details have not been publicly announced, in part because of diplomatic sensitivities in Gulf countries which worry about Iranian military capabilities but are cautious about acknowledging U.S. protection.

The administration will send a review of ballistic missile strategy to Congress on Monday that frames the larger shifts. Attention to defense of the Persian Gulf region, a focus on diffuse networks of sensors and weapons and cooperation with Russia are major elements of the study, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. …

Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Central Command chief who is responsible for U.S. military operations across the Middle East, mentioned in several recent public speeches one element of the defensive strategy in the Gulf: upgrading Patriot missile systems, which originally were deployed in the region to shoot down aircraft but now can hit missiles in flight. …