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Senator proposes permanent US bases in Afghanistan

Associated Press
January 2, 2011

A leading GOP lawmaker on U.S. military policy says he wants American officials to consider establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina says that having a few U.S. air bases in Afghanistan would be a benefit to the region and would give Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban.

Graham tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he wants to see the U.S. have “an enduring relationship” with Afghanistan to ensure that it never falls back into the hands of terrorists.

President Barack Obama plans to begin drawing down American forces in Afghanistan next year and hand over security to Afghan forces in 2014.

Obama has talked about an enduring presence in Afghanistan but not exactly what that would entail. …


Japan-U.S. missile project canceled

By Kuniichi Tanida
January 3, 2011

A joint U.S.-Japan research program to develop software for a ship-borne ballistic missile defense system has collapsed after the two sides failed to agree on conditions for exporting the technology, sources said.

Tokyo’s insistence that the United States obtain prior consent from the Japanese government before selling the software to a third country caused the breakdown, the sources said. The United States has decided to continue with the project alone.

The software on which the two countries were working is meant to improve the ship-board Aegis guided missile system, which is supposed to intercept ballistic missiles, by improving onboard computer displays and providing a backup system in case of system failure.

It was being developed jointly by the governments and private sectors of the two countries under the Ballistic Missile Defense Open Architecture Research (BMDOAR) program.

While cooperation on the system was just the second in a series of planned joint ballistic missile defense projects between the two countries, its collapse could have implications for other programs. …


Bill Sets Conditions for Spending on European Missile Shield

Space News
By Turner Brinton
December 30, 2010

The U.S. defense policy bill passed by Congress Dec. 22 is generally supportive of the nation’s missile defense programs, but it would prevent the Pentagon from spending money in 2011 on a European missile shield until certain requirements are met, including firm agreements by European countries to host the necessary assets.

Numerous congressional hearings were held over the past year to analyze the overhauled plan to deploy a European missile defense system that was announced by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama in September 2009. The 2011 Defense Authorization Bill supports the White House’s vision for the shield, calling it an “appropriate response to the existing ballistic missile threat from Iran to the European territory of [NATO] countries, and to potential future ballistic missile capabilities of Iran.”

The House of Representatives and Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on the same day and it now awaits the president’s signature into law.

The United States in 2006 first announced plans to field a system to protect European allies and deployed forces from ballistic missile attacks. The original plan would have placed 10 fixed-site interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic. The Obama administration’s revamped plan, called Phased Adaptive Approach, calls for the deployment of interceptor-equipped Aegis ships to European waters and a radar system in southern Europe in 2011. Land-based derivatives of the Standard Missile 3 interceptor, which today is fired exclusively from ships at sea, would be deployed in Romania and Poland starting in 2015 and 2018, respectively. …