NATO to adopt “a more a more extensive and flexible missile shield for Europe”

Several years ago Canada took the curious approach of rejecting participation in the North American version of Ballistic Missile Defence while supporting NATO having a BMD capability in Europe.  It will be interesting to see if Canada continues its NIMBYapproach at NATO's Lisbon summit next month. Here are two excerpts from an article by Craig Whitlock entitled “NATO near adoption of U.S. missile shield” from the 15 October issue of The Washington Post that outline the new attitude in NATO, changes made by the Obama administration, and the role of naval platforms in the program.

“U.S. and NATO officials said Thursday that they expect the military alliance to formally participate in the Obama administration's plan for a missile defense shield over Europe, scheduled to be activated next year. “Based on today's discussion, I am quite optimistic," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a joint meeting of foreign and defense ministers from the alliance membership. “There is, I think, a broad agreement that we should make such a decision, but there is still some technical work to do.”  NATO is scheduled to vote at a summit in Lisbon next month on whether to make missile defense a formal part of its mission. If it does, European alliance members would plug their individual defense systems into a broader missile shield that the Obama administration is building to guard against potential attacks from Iran.”

“The radar installation - along with mobile radars deployed on Navy ships in the Mediterranean and Black seas - would provide a critical early warning of any launches from Iran, improving the odds of shooting down a missile.  Obama announced in September 2009 that he was overhauling the Bush administration's plans for missile defense in Europe. Although Obama had previously expressed skepticism of Bush's approach, he directed the Pentagon to build a more extensive and flexible missile shield for Europe that will be built in phases between now and 2020.”