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U.S., Russia to Work on Missile Defense

By Julie Pace (AP)
May 26, 2011

President Barack Obama said Thursday the U.S. and Russia are committed to finding an approach that meets the security needs of both countries on the contentious issue of American plans to build a missile defense shield in Central and Eastern Europe.

The United States says its missile defense plans are aimed at countering emerging threats from countries including Iran and North Korea, but Russia views the moves as possible encroachment.

For his part Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the future of missile defense would be solved by future politicians — perhaps in the year 2020 — but that he and Obama can help lay the foundation now.

Meeting on the sidelines of an economic summit in France, the leaders agreed missile defense is a sensitive issue and suggested it remains so in their relationship. While they agreed to work on it, they showed no signs of reaching an understanding. …

Medvedev has warned that failure to cooperate with Moscow on the shield could spark a new arms race. …

Read more: www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2074109,00.html

“Missile Defense” Remains Major Issue at G-8 Summit in France

May 27, 2011

Medvedev warns of arms race by 2020 without agreement on missile defense

In a press conference following the conclusion of the G-8 Summit in Deauville, France, President Dmitry Medvedev discussed Russia’s response to missile defense talks with the US.

On the critical subject of missile defense, which threatens to create a return to Cold-War conditions for the European continent, not to mention US-Russian relations, Medvedev expressed his dissatisfaction with the result of the talks.

“I am not satisfied with the American side’s reaction to my proposals and with NATO’s reaction in general,” the Russian leader told reporters on Friday at the resort town of Deauville. “Why? Because we are wasting time. Even though I spoke about the year 2020 yesterday as a deadline.which is the year when the construction of a four-stage system of the so-called adaptive approach ends.”

“After 2020, if we do not come to terms, a real arms race will begin,” Medvedev warned.

The Russian leader stressed that he has received no satisfactory guarantees that the missile defense shield is not being targeted at Russia. …


US defense chief warns on defense spending cuts

By Phil Stewart
May 22, 2011

Obama seeks to security savings of $400 billion

Gates predicts calls to shrink US global role

Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned on Sunday against sharply cutting the size and reach of the U.S. armed forces to trim the deficit, portraying America’s military might as an essential safeguard of global stability.

The comments by Gates to graduating students at Notre Dame University came as some Republicans and Democrats look to defense as a way to address the U.S deficit, running about $1.4 trillion this fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Obama announced plans in April to hold national security spending below the rate of inflation for the next 12 years, a move that would save about $400 billion, mainly from Defense Department budgets.

Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration who is leaving the post at the end of June, predicted future calls for major Pentagon cuts could challenge U.S. global leadership.

“As we make the tough choices needed to put this country’s finances in order … there will undoubtedly be calls to shrink America’s role in the world, for us to sharply reduce our international commitments and the size and capabilities of our military,” he told the audience at the Indiana university.

But Gates said a properly funded U.S. military “cannot be taken for granted.” He pointed to an unpredictable world grappling with nuclear proliferation, terrorism, revolution throughout the Middle East, as well as a nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan and U.S. efforts to end the war in Iraq. …

“But make no mistake, the ultimate guarantee against the success of aggressors, dictators, and terrorists in the 21st century, as in the 20th, is hard power — the size, strength, and global reach of the United States military,” he said. …


Moscow may quit START over US deploying missile shield in Europe

May 16, 2011

Further deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe gives Russia the right to withdraw from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.

“START may become a hostage of the so-called US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA),” Ryabkov said at Monday’s meeting of the Expert Council on cooperation between Russia and NATO at the State Duma.

The official noted that Moscow has repeatedly warned its partners that if the scale of the US missile defense system creates a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, Russia has the right to withdraw from the agreement. That would be considered “an exceptional circumstance” mentioned in Article 14 of the New START.

He added that Russia will have to take responsive measures if the US and NATO develop their missile defense shield without taking Moscow’s opinion into account.

“In this situation, we will have to take the necessary measures to restore the disrupted balance of power,” Ryabkov said, cites Interfax.

The official also observed that Moscow is disappointed over Washington’s denial to give legal guarantees that the US missile defense system will not be targeted against Russia.

“We are disappointed with the reaction of Washington; this is a negative reaction,” he said.

The historic agreement – the New START – was signed by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev on April 8, 2010, in Prague. …


Moscow seeks legally-binding US pledge that its missile shield won’t threaten Russia

Daily Reporter
By Vladimir Isachenkov (Associated Press)
May 16, 2011

Russia wants the United States to provide Moscow with guarantees that a prospective U.S.-led missile shield wouldn’t threaten its security, a senior Russia official said Monday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that Washington’s refusal to provide such guarantees could derail efforts by Russia and NATO to cooperate on missile defense.

“We can’t base our security on assurances and promises, we need a legally-binding agreement,” Ryabkov told lawmakers during parliamentary hearings.

He said that Moscow was disappointed by a negative U.S. reaction to its demand.

Russia considers the U.S.-led missile defense plans as a potential threat to its security. It has agreed to consider NATO’s proposal last fall to cooperate on the missile shield, but insisted that the system should be run jointly. NATO has rejected that demand.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that a failure to reach a deal on the issue could force Russia to deploy new offensive weapons, triggering a new arms race.

A landmark arms control treaty called New START has helped improve relations between Moscow and Washington, but Russia has continued to view U.S. missile defense plans with suspicion. …


As U.S. Military Exits Iraq, Contractors To Enter

by Tom Bowman
May 17, 2011

A U.S. Army helicopter brigade is set to pull out of Baghdad in December, as part of an agreement with the Iraqi government to remove U.S. forces. So the armed helicopters flying over the Iraqi capital next year will have pilots and machine gunners from DynCorp International, a company based in Virginia.

On the ground, it’s the same story. American soldiers and Marines will leave. Those replacing them, right down to carrying assault weapons, will come from places with names like Aegis Defence Services and Global Strategies Group — eight companies in all.

All U.S. combat forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by year’s end, but there will still be a need for security. That means American troops will be replaced by a private army whose job will be to protect diplomats. …

Should the State Department be turning over these inherently military jobs to private contractors? …


US panel limits Obama’s authority on nukes

Economic Times
May 12, 2011

US lawmakers voted Wednesday to limit President Barack Obama’s authority to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal and implement a US-Russia arms control treaty overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last December. …

By a 35-26 vote, the Republican-controlled panel approved an amendment that would prohibit money to take nuclear weapons out of operation unless the administration provides a report to Congress on how it plans to modernize the remaining weapons. The panel also adopted an amendment that says the president may not change the target list or move weapons out of Europe until he reports to Congress.


Boeing Phantom Ray Completes First Flight

May 4, 2011

The Boeing Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system (UAS) successfully completed its first flight April 27 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The 17-minute flight took place following a series of high-speed taxi tests in March that validated ground guidance, navigation and control and verified mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures. Phantom Ray flew to 7,500 feet and reached a speed of 178 knots. …

These company-funded flights will prepare Phantom Ray to support potential missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous air refueling. …


Atlas V launch with SBIRS GEO-1 scrubbed due to weather

by William Graham
May 7, 2011

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) have successfully made a second attempt to launch their Atlas V 401 – from Cape Canaveral on Saturday at 2:10pm EDT – following several failed attempts to find a gap in unacceptable weather during the 40 minute launch window on Friday – resulting in a 24 hour scrub turnaround. The Atlas V launched with the first in a new series of early warning satellites to detect missile launches. …

The satellite, SBIRS GEO-1, is the first dedicated spacecraft to be launched as part of the Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, although two sensor packages hosted on other satellites are already in orbit. SBIRS is a system of spacecraft which monitor the Earth using infrared sensors in order to detect and track missile launches. …

The need to detect missile launches dates back to the Cold War, when both the United States and the Soviet Union perceived a danger that the other could launch a surprise nuclear attack. In the mid 1950s, the United States began development of the first space-based missile detection system; the Missile Defense Alarm System or MIDAS, which used satellites in low Earth orbit equipped with infrared sensors to detect launches. …


Two SBIRS radomes were built at Menwith Hill in 1999.

Russia Lashes Planned Missile Interceptor Placement

Global Security Newswire
May 4, 2011

Russia on Tuesday said its strategic security would be undercut by a plan for Romania to host U.S. missile interceptors, the New York Times reported (see GSN, May 3). …

U.S. government sources dismissed Moscow’s grievances, noting a call by Washington and NATO for Russia to contribute to a collaborative antimissile framework for the European continent, the Times reported. The Obama administration has said that its effort is aimed at protecting Europe from missiles fired from the Middle East, in particular Iran.

“Missile defense cooperation with Russia is a key U.S. goal,” a Defense Department insider said.

“We believe cooperation on missile defense is in the security interest of both our countries,” the source said. “We are actively seeking cooperation with Russia in bilateral channels and through NATO. Cooperation is the best way to provide Russia transparency and reassurances that missile defense is not a threat to its security” (Shanker/Barry, New York Times). …

Meanwhile, discussions between Washington and Moscow on potential antimissile collaboration were not proceeding smoothly, Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said. The sides were expected to hold the discussions from Monday through Thursday this week in Belgium, according to a previous report.

“The current phase are consultations between military officials,” and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is expected to meet on Thursday with U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, Rogozin noted.

“On the whole, I can say that the main problem remains unsolved. It is the problem of sane, coherent and verifiable guarantees that the American system of missile defense that would be deployed in Europe would not target the Russian strategic potential,” the official said.

Moscow was open to certain U.S. suggestions, including the potential establishment of a joint missile threat early warning scheme, Rogozin said.

“But if the firepower of the U.S. missile defense is located near a zone where some of our strategic nuclear forces are deployed, if the area to be covered by the American missile defense pushes deep into the territory of the Russian Federation, we won’t be able to come to an agreement,” the official said. …