Entries Tagged as ''

Obama vows to pursue US missile defense plans

Washington (AFP)
December 18, 2010

President Barack Obama vowed Saturday to pursue the deployment of US missile defense systems and rejected Russia’s claim that doing so would justify withdrawing from a new nuclear arms control treaty.

“Regardless of Russia’s actions in this regard, as long as I am president, and as long as the Congress provides the necessary funding, the United States will continue to develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies and partners,” he said.

Obama’s strong message on an issue that has at times deeply angered Moscow came in a letter to top senators as his Republican foes called for killing the new Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START) over missile defense concerns.

Republicans have rallied behind an amendment by Republican Senator John McCain to strip out language in START’s preamble tying offensive nuclear weapons to defensive systems.

The preamble is non-binding but, because it resulted from talks between Washington and Moscow, passing the amendment would have forced the accord back to the negotiating table, effectively killing the agreement. …


US missile intercept test fails

Washington Post
Associated Press
December 15, 2010

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — An interceptor missile launched from California on Wednesday failed to hit a target fired from a Pacific atoll 4,000 miles away during a test of an anti-ballistic missile defense system, the Air Force announced.

The missile, called a ground-based interceptor, lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base at 12:03 a.m. and released a device called an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, that was to plow into a target missile fired from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The interceptor’s sensors worked and the EKV was deployed, but it missed, according to a statement from Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The cause of the failure will be investigated before another test is scheduled, Lehner said. …

Read on:

Demo satellites detect, track missile

December 9, 2010


Demonstration satellites built by U.S. companies Northrop Grumman and Raytheon successfully detected and tracked an ICBM test launch.

The U.S. Air Force said the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Demonstration program satellites tracked the Minuteman III through the boost and post-boost phases for the first time.

The single re-entry test vehicle from the missile traveled about 5,300 miles to a pre-determined point about 200 miles southwest of Guam.

The missile defense satellites transmitted tracking data to the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., where the information is being analyzed. …

“This test demonstrated the ability of STSS to track cold-body objects post-boost, an important capability needed by the Missile Defense Agency for the Ballistic Missile Defense System.”

Read in full here: www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/12/09/Demo-satellites-detect-track-missile/UPI-36501291905355/

Missile defense looms over START ratification

The Washington Post
By Mary Beth Sheridan
December 13, 2010

With only days left in the lame-duck Congress, President Obama is pushing hard to accomplish something never before done by a Democratic president: successfully get a nuclear-arms-reduction treaty through the ratification process.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday that “the support is there” to pass the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) if it comes to the floor. The White House said Friday that Obama is willing to postpone his vacation until the U.S.-Russia pact is ratified.

But it has become clear that Obama is facing a fight over the same issue that derailed President Bill Clinton’s quest for a similar accord – missile defense, a cherished Republican goal dating back to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. When Republican senators now say they need a fuller debate on the treaty, this is an important part of what they want to discuss.

“Missile defense remains a major point of disagreement between the United States and Russia, and this treaty only makes the situation worse,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wrote recently on National Review Online.

Some Republicans say they want to tweak the Senate resolution of ratification with the goal of then supporting it. Others argue the treaty itself needs amendments , which could kill it.

Treaty supporters say the outcry over missile defense is unfounded – and suspect it is a tactic to score political points. They note that there is almost nothing on missile defense in the treaty, which runs more than 300 pages with annexes, and Obama has continued many of George W. Bush’s missile-defense policies.

“One of the great ironies is, he made sure there was no way to attack the treaty as being tough on missile defense,” Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, said of Obama. “And yet that’s exactly one of the main rationales used by treaty critics.” …

Read on: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/12/AR2010121204151_pf.html

Japan to continue paying $2 billion for US troops

The Washington Post
By Mari Yamaguchi
December 14, 2010

Japan’s government agreed Tuesday to continue contributing $2.2 billion a year toward the cost of stationing American troops in the country.

Under the agreement with the United States, Japan’s share will remain at the current 188 billion yen ($2.2 billion) through March 2016. The current pact expires next March. …

The flash point in the debate is the southern island of Okinawa, where most of the nearly 100 U.S. facilities in Japan are located. The pending relocation of an unpopular U.S. Marine base on the island has strained relations between the two countries.

Japanese living near U.S. military facilities have long complained about aircraft noise and crime. …


Obama commits to base missile interceptors in Poland

December 9, 2010

President Barack Obama on Wednesday committed the United States to basing land-based SM-3 interceptors in Poland in the 2018 timeframe as part of its NATO- wide missile defense system.

In a joint statement after meeting with visiting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski at the White House, Obama expressed his gratitude for the commitment by the Polish government to host this system, saying Poland’s commitment is “an extremely valuable contribution to the development of a NATO missile defense capability.”

At a November summit in Lisbon, Portugal, NATO’s 28 member states agreed to develop “the capability to defend our populations and territories against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective defense.”

The Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense, unveiled by Obama in September 2009 to replace the Bush-era controversial missile defense shield program in the Czech Republic and Poland, will be deployed in four stages from next year until 2020 and would be capable of intercepting long-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Under the plan, U.S. interceptor missiles and radar will be stationed in Europe, for which NATO member states have to invest 200 million euros (280 million dollars) to link their existing anti-missile systems to the U.S. system. …


S.Korea, U.S. and Japan convene tripartite talks

The Hankyoreh
By Kwon Tae-ho
December 8, 2010

During a tripartite meeting, S.Korea and Japan showed more support for a U.S. presence into Northeast Asia affairs

A key Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House) official reported Tuesday that South Korea and the United States have agreed to bomb North Korea using aircraft if North Korea launches additional provocations.

“The two countries agreed to the plan of action after the Yeonpyeong Island artillery attack by North Korea, and that the United States agreed that South Korea should strongly respond to additional provocations in self-defense,” said the official. “This means that when South Korea is attacked, it would actively respond relying not only on weapons in the area, but also mobilizing air power.”

During a meeting of the South Korean, U.S. and Japanese foreign ministers in Washington on Sunday, the U.S. and Japanese foreign ministers reportedly did not raise objections to South Korea’s plan to strongly respond militarily should North Korea commit additional provocations.

A high-ranking South Korean government official met with South Korean correspondents in Washington on Sunday and said, “South Korea has the right to respond in this manner, since it constitutes a response to a North Korean attack rather than a preemptive strike.”

During the tripartite meeting, there even appeared agenda items that seemed to resuscitate the so-called “three way southern alliance” of South Korea, the United States and Japan. In a joint statement, the three foreign ministers said Seoul, Washington and Tokyo had pledged to strengthen their efforts regarding the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), and in particular, South Korea and Japan welcomed formal U.S. participation in the ARF starting in 2011.

Requesting anonymity, one diplomatic source said, “The EAS has recently become the multilateral body shown the most concern by Washington, which seeks to intervene politically and militarily in Asia.” …

Read on: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_northkorea/452771.html

Russia’s Medvedev warns of new arms race

By Steve Gutterman
November 30, 2010

President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Tuesday that a new arms race would erupt within the next decade unless Russia and the West forged an agreement to cooperate on building a missile defense system.

In his annual state of the nation address, Medvedev called for closer cooperation with the United States and the European Union, holding out the prospect of closer ties two decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse ended the Cold War.

He said tension would ratchet up fast, forcing Russia to bolster its military arsenal, if Western offers of cooperation on a system to defend against missile threats failed to produce a concrete agreement.

The warning appeared to reflect wariness in the Kremlin over uncertainty about Senate ratification of New START, the nuclear arms limitation pact Medvedev signed with President Barack Obama in April, centerpiece of the push for better ties.

“In the coming decade we face the following alternatives: Either we reach agreement on missile defense and create a full-fledged joint mechanism of cooperation, or … a new round of the arms race will begin,” Medvedev said.

“And we will have to take a decision about the deployment of new offensive weapons. It is clear that this scenario would be very grave.” …

Read on: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101130/wl_nm/us_russia_medvedev

X-37B US miltary spaceplane returns to Earth

BBC News
By Paul Rincon
December 3, 2010

A prototype spaceplane built for the US military has returned to Earth after seven months in orbit [on a classified mission].

The unpiloted X-37B touched down at Vandenberg Air Force base in California …

X-37B Space Plane

X-37B Space Plane (photo: US Air Force)

The project has been shrouded in secrecy, prompting widespread speculation about the craft’s purpose.

The Air Force has not said whether it carried anything in its cargo bay, but insists the primary purpose of the mission was to test the craft itself. …

Jeremy Eggers, an Air Force spokesman based at Vandenberg said the craft is expected to return to space in Spring 2011. …

The Boeing-built spacecraft returned to Earth on “auto-pilot”; the successful return marks the first autonomous re-entry and landing in the recorded history of the US space programme.

Because the X-37B (also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, OTV-1) started life as a Nasa programme, the Air Force is in a position to talk openly about the craft’s design, but its precise purpose remains classified. …

Read the full story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11911335

NATO Rejects Russian Missile Defense Proposal, Report Says

Global Security Newswire
November 29, 2010

NATO leaders last week turned down an offer by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for incorporating Russia’s missile defense system in a planned alliance-wide antimissile framework, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday …

Under the “sectoral missile defense” proposal, Russia would intercept missiles targeting NATO nations while the military alliance would destroy missiles flying over their own territories, Medvedev told journalists after meeting with alliance leaders.

NATO members on Friday approved plans to establish an integrated and enhanced shield against missile threats. They have encouraged Russia to participate in the missile shield, but Moscow has expressed concern that the project could undermine its strategic nuclear deterrent.

“Medvedev is effectively proposing to create a collective missile-defense system along the perimeter of the Euro-Atlantic region. It roughly amounts to agreeing not to keep missile-defense systems inside the region — something that raises our suspicions — and arrange for the system to be pointed outwards,” Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

President Obama and other summit attendees politely set aside Medvedev’s proposal and called for governmental specialists to examine options for NATO-Russian missile defense cooperation in greater detail. The analysts would report on their findings at a meeting of top NATO and Russian defense officials planned next June.

Nations were uncertain whether Medvedev’s proposal was aimed at laying the groundwork for future missile defense discussions or at thwarting further talks on the matter, diplomats told the Journal.

“For military men on both sides, [Medvedev’s] supposition looks, to put it gently, far-fetched,” Russian General Staff chief Gen. Nikolai Makarov said in Russia’s Rossiskaya Gazeta newspaper. “The fact is that any country with missile-defense systems would shoot down missiles approaching its borders without any international agreements” …