September 2009

Iran’s hundreds of missiles provides impetus for cornucopia of new US defence expenditure.





E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (U) This is an ACTION REQUEST. Please see paragraph


2. (SBU) BACKGROUND: The White House is expected to announce a Presidential decision at approximately 9:55 a.m.(Washington, D.C.) on September 17 regarding a U.S. European-based BMD adaptive regional architecture, which is significantly different from the Bush Administrations plan to deploy 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a BMD tracking radar in the Czech Republic. END BACKGROUND.

3. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Posts at their discretion may deliver the talking points in paragraph 4 on Thursday, September 17, as a non-paper, but only after the Presidential statement is released at approximately 9:55 a.m. (Washington, D.C.). Posts may draw upon the Questions and Answers in paragraph 5 for use with Host Governments, as Posts determine appropriate but these Questions and Answers should not/not be handed over to Host Governments. Materials for public diplomacy (e.g., Fact Sheet, Questions and Answers, and POTUS statement) will be provided to Posts septel. END ACTION REQUEST.



– The White House announced that the President has approved Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staffs unanimous recommendation for improved missile defenses in Europe against the threat from Iran to our forces and families deployed to the region and to our Allies.

– Iran already has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can threaten its neighbors in the Middle East, Turkey, and the Caucasus and it is actively developing and testing ballistic missiles that can reach more and more of Europe.

— Our concern regarding Iranian missile capabilities is further increased by the fact that our Intelligence Community continues to assess that Iran, at a minimum, is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.

– The new “Phased, Adaptive Approach” recommended by Secretary Gates updates and revises the previous program for missile defense in Europe based on two key findings of the DoD review:

— First, the threat from Irans regional ballistic missiles has developed more rapidly than previously expected. At the same time, the threat from potential Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) has been slower to develop than we previously expected.

— Second, our missile defense capabilities and technologies have advanced significantly. Improved interceptor capabilities, such as the currently deployed Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor and advanced variants that are already in development, permit a more flexible and capable architecture.

– Therefore, the President has approved a Phased, Adaptive Approach that is responsive to the current threat, but also can incorporate new technologies quickly and cost-effectively to adapt as the threat and our technologies continue to change. It will unfold in phases:

— The first phase will speed protection of U.S. deployed forces, civilians, and families and our Allies in Europe against the current threat from Iran by deploying proven systems by 2011 – about six or seven years earlier than the previous program.

— Subsequent phases will add advanced variant sea- and land-based versions of the SM-3 and cover additional territory in Europe should the Iranian threat expand.

— In the fourth and final phase we will anticipate augmenting our existing capabilities to defend the United States against potential advances in Irans ICBM capability with advanced versions of the SM-3. This would be a similar capability to that provided in the program of record.

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– This improved approach removes the need for a Ground Based Interceptor field in Poland and features a distributed interceptor and sensor architecture that does not require the single large, fixed radar originally planned to be located in the Czech Republic.

— Under the new approach, land- and sea-based missile defense interceptors and sensors offer some flexibility to be redeployed as the regional ballistic missile threat dictates. This distributed network approach also will increase the survivability of the system and provide more opportunities for collaboration with Allies and partners.

— We are beginning consultations with Poland, the Czech Republic, and other Allies on the new approach, and will work with our NATO Allies on determining locations for the sensors and interceptors, and on integrating the Phased, Adaptive Approach with their missile defense capabilities and with the emerging NATO command and control network.

– Strong missile defenses will strengthen our efforts to find a solution that brings Iran into compliance with its international obligations: the more we can diminish the coercive value of Irans missiles, the less Iran stands to gain by continuing to develop these destabilizing capabilities.

– This set of recommendations comes from an ongoing Congressionally-mandated review that is taking a comprehensive examination of our global approach to missile defense and is consistent with the Defense Departments budget choices for fiscal year 2010:

— For example, we added additional funding to field more systems such as Aegis BMD ships and SM-3 interceptors.



1. What is this new “phased” approach? Details?

– We will pursue a Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe, which will improve the collective defense of the United States and Europe. The first elements of this approach will be available to defend portions of Europe six or seven years earlier than would have occurred under the previous plan.

– Our proven regional missile defense capabilities, including the Aegis Weapon System and the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor, and Army-Navy TPY-2 forward-based radar can be deployed initially, to address the current Iranian short- and medium- range ballistic missile threat.

– As our missile defense technology improves and is tested, the architecture also will evolve and become more capable.

– For example, we also can leverage our advanced regional missile defense development programs such as the land-based SM-3s with advanced SM-3 interceptor capability and advanced sensors in subsequent phases.

– This approach provides many opportunities for allied participation, and we have begun engaging our NATO Allies to discuss these.

– The phased approach will enable us to provide protection to U.S. deployed forces, civilian personnel, and their accompanying families, and NATO Allies at risk to current and emerging Iranian missile threats.

– We anticipate that this plan can augment missile defense of the United States against a potential future Iranian ICBM. In the meantime, we will invest in the continued improvement of Ground Based Interceptors now based in the United States.

2. What are you doing about the program of record?

– Based on our updated understanding of the threat and our more advanced capabilities and technologies, we believe the best course of action no longer involves the single GBI field in Poland or the single large, fixed European radar originally planned to be located in the Czech Republic.

– The Czech Republic and Poland are steadfast Allies of the United States, and we appreciate their willingness to STATE 00096526 003 OF 007 take a leadership role in NATO on missile defense. We discussed this announcement with them earlier today and communicated our gratitude.

– The United States remains committed to the security of its NATO Allies, including Poland and the Czech Republic. The indivisibility of Allied security and Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty are cornerstones of that commitment.

3. What nations will host this architecture?

– Some of the assets will be sea-based, which allows them to be moved quickly to meet new or unexpected threats. Other parts of the defensive architecture – sensors and interceptors – could also be land-based and potentially be deployed in northern or southern Europe to provide coverage of Allied territory and populations.

– One benefit of the phased approach is that there is a high degree of geographic flexibility; for example, there are many potential locations for any land-based interceptor sites. Moreover, some of the land-based elements will be relocatable, so we can adjust as appropriate if circumstances change.

– I would prefer not to get into specific issues related to hosting this equipment at this time. We are engaging at NATO with Allies on those questions.

4. What has changed since Secretary Gates made the

Program of Record decision?

– Both our assessment of the Iranian missile threat and the technical capabilities of U.S. missile defense have evolved.

– The growing numbers of Iranian short- and medium-range missiles pose an increasingly important near-term challenge to U.S. forces, allies, and friends in multiple regions.

– The threat from Iranian short- and medium-range missiles has developed more rapidly than anticipated.

— Iran already has fielded hundreds of ballistic missiles that can threaten neighbors in the Middle East, Turkey, and the Caucasus.

— Iran is actively developing ballistic missiles that can reach beyond its neighbors and deeper into Europe.

– Irans successful space launch (the Safir) in February 2009 demonstrated progress in longer-range ballistic missile technologies.

– In addition, new options for missile defense capabilities now exist in our missile defense development program that were not previously available.

–Improved interceptor capabilities, including new versions of the SM-3, offer a more flexible and capable architecture for the defense of Europe, and indeed of other regions.

–We also have made progress with sensor technologies that offer an increasing variety of options to detect and track enemy ballistic missiles and provide that data to an interceptor.

5. Does this weaken our protection of the homeland against missile attacks?

– To the contrary: The phased approach develops the capability to augment our current protection of the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats.

— In the later phases, a new variant of the SM-3 interceptor in development could eventually provide a capability against Iranian ICBM threat to the United States. Because it uses a different approach and different technology than the GBIs deployed in the United States, it offers the opportunity for layered defense of the United States.

— In all phases, the GBIs deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, are available to protect the United States from an incoming ICBM.

– As we move forward, we will be better positioned to accelerate development and deployment of system elements

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if needed – this flexibility is a key benefit of this approach compared to the previous program.

– We are committed to missile defense for the U.S. homeland. By the end of 2010, the U.S. will have 30 ground-based interceptors (GBIs) deployed in Ft. Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB in California.

— This is more than enough to defend against an ICBM attack from Iran or North Korea that we may face in the foreseeable future.

— We will continue to maintain and improve our GBI capabilities to ensure they are available when needed and could combat an evolving threat.

6. If our current missile defense capabilities (GBIs) for defending the homeland are more than sufficient, why do we need the European architecture for homeland defense?

– The current force of 30 GBIs is sufficient to meet the long-range threat we face today from rogue countries. If the threat grows in number or complexity, or if the threat originates from another region, we will review our missile defense posture, and augment it as needed.

– A benefit of the European architecture as outlined in our new phased approach is its ability to adapt as the Iranian ballistic missile threat evolves. In the near term, we will be able to counter the expected short- and medium-range threat to our deployed forces, friends and allies in the region.

– We are monitoring the Iranian threat closely and will be prepared to adjust our missile defense capabilities and posture in a timely manner. The phased approach ensures that we are best able to defend against all ranges of Iranian ballistic missiles both today and in the future.

7. Is the new approach cost-effective?

– Yes. This approach begins with proven capabilities, like the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, with SM-3 interceptors, and relocatable radars that are being deployed and in use today.

– As newer, more capable versions of these systems become available, we will deploy them to defend against evolving threats.

– This approach employs missile defense capabilities that are flexible and scaleable; that is, they are mobile or relocatable and can be surged in times of crisis. This is a cost-effective way to leverage our BMD investments.

– We estimate that the overall, long-term cost of the Phased Adaptive Approach will be roughly the same as the previous program. In addition, we expect the per-interceptor costs for SM-3 to be significantly less than for a GBI.

8. Who pays? Potential cost to Allies?

– We will work closely with NATO Allies to examine broader resourcing requirements and determine the most efficient and appropriate way to finance the integration of the Phased Adaptive Approach with NATO.

9. What about NATO missile defense efforts?

– NATO missile defense efforts in recent years have focused on missile defense systems to protect deployed forces from shorter-range ballistic missile threats. Several NATO countries already possess or are acquiring missile defense systems.

– U.S. missile defense efforts will, of course, be complementary to those of NATO, and we will ensure our systems are interoperable. We expect that the current NATO systems will be able to “plug-and-play” with the overall phased approach.

– NATO is already developing a command and control architecture designed to link missile defense systems for defense of NATO forces in the field, known as the Active

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Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense Program (ALTBMD).

– Thus, Allied contributions will have the possibility of being linked together to ensure they form a cost-effective and comprehensive architecture.

– Use of ALTBMD as a shared command and control backbone will enable a more cost-effective missile defense architecture.

10. Did you consult as youd promised with allies?

– Consultations with allies and friends on the BMD Review began early in May, in bilateral and multilateral settings with allies and partners around the world.

– Over the past several months, we have had multiple senior-level discussions with NATO, as well as with many individual countries including the Czech Republic and Poland.

– During these consultations, we listened. And we assured our partners that our decisions would be informed by our assessments of the nature of the threat from Iran, by the costs and effectiveness of various missile defense capabilities – and by these discussions with our allies.

– As soon as the decisions on missile defense in Europe were made, we informed our allies first and foremost.

11. If a primary purpose of this is to defend Allies, why arent they paying for it? Do NATO members even want this? Whats the purpose of the NATO MD?

– The ballistic missile threat concerns not just the U.S. but our Allies, as well. In fact, NATO has been working on missile defense for the past few years, agreeing to develop a system called Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) to protect deployed forces. At the NATO Summit in April, 2009, Allies agreed to examine whether the Alliance should expand its ALTBMD program to cover Alliance territory and populations as well.

-Prior to that, at the Summit in Bucharest last year, Allies provided strong support for the U.S. missile defense program and tasked the Alliance to look at how those two programs could work together.

– To implement Alliance missile defense, Allies are purchasing national systems such as Patriot, Aegis or Patriot-like systems, and the NATO Alliance itself will finance the C2 backbone for ALTBMD into which Allied national systems can be integrated.

– We will work closely with NATO Allies to examine broader resourcing requirements and determine the most efficient and appropriate way to finance the integration of our Phased Adaptive Approach with the NATO program.

12. Are we giving Poland or the Czech Republic something instead – are we “pulling the rug out from under them”?

– The threat has evolved and technology has changed; the Czechs and Poles appreciate this fact and the need to change our approach to the missile defense threat to enhance protection for all of our European Allies.

– Under the phased adaptive approach, there are greater opportunities for our Allies and friends to participate. One of the characteristics of our new architecture is its flexibility. There are many options for working with Allies on the way-ahead and we intend to engage soon at NATO and with Allies on how they might be involved. We look forward to working with Poland/Czech Republic and all of our NATO Allies on moving the Phased Adaptive Approach forward together.

13. How does this affect U.S. missile defense cooperation with Allies in East Asia? How about our friends in the Middle East?

– The broad outline of this Phased Adaptive Approach for

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Europe is consistent with our current missile defense efforts throughout the world. We will continue to work with our friends and allies in other regions to field our most capable, mobile, interoperable systems to protect deployed U.S. forces, civilian personnel, and their families, as well as allied forces, populations, and territories.

14. Was your announcement rushed to be able to tell President Medvedev the results next week?

– No. We made the announcement when we did in order to discuss these developments with our allies and friends as soon as possible. We did not want to delay the process for improving defenses for ourselves and our allies, many of whom face an increasing threat of missile attack over the next several years. This has been a topic of great interest among our international partners – not only in Europe, but across the globe.

– We consulted with our allies first and foremost. Subsequent talks with Russia are designed to provide them with transparency into our decisions and to discuss possible areas for cooperation.

15. Did you consult with the Russians prior to the public announcement?

– Yes. The Russian Ambassador in Washington was informed of the Presidents decision before the public announcement, but after key Allies.

16. How about cooperating with Russia on missile defense? What about using the Qabala and/or Armavir radars?

– The United States will continue to explore the potential for cooperating with Russia on missile defenses that enhance the security of both countries and that of our Allies and partners.

– In this regard, the U.S. and Russia agreed at the July 6 summit to continue the dialogue on missile defense issues, including identifying areas for cooperation.

– These efforts could include data sharing, such as from the Qabala or Armavir radars, which could offer a way for Russia to make a meaningful contribution in a joint architecture.

17. Did you cave in to Russian demands just to get a START Treaty or Russian cooperation on other issues?

– We are moving to a Phased Adaptive Approach because it will be more effective against current and emerging missile threats to Europe and the United States, including large missile raid sizes from Iran.

– In their joint statement in London on April 1, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed that the subject of the START follow-on treaty would be the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. From the beginning of the START follow-on negotiations, we have made it clear to the Russians that the treaty should not include any limitations on missile defenses and that discussions on missile defense should be conducted through other bilateral contacts.

– The previous missile defense architecture did not pose any threat to Russia, and we have repeatedly emphasized to Russia that our missile defenses are not directed at them. The new phased approach poses no threat to them either.

— On the contrary, we believed before, and we still believe, that the Russians would benefit from cooperating with the United States and NATO on missile defenses.

– President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to pursue missile defense cooperation when they met in Moscow in July 2009 and we look forward to this dialogue.

18. On potential linkage between offensive and defensive weapons in START follow-on:

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– The United States will not negotiate limitations on missile defense capabilities in the START follow-on treaty with Russia, and we have made that clear to the Russians.

– Our missile defenses are deployed to counter the threats from Iran and North Korea, not Russia. It will be important for Russia to help to constrain both of these growing threats.

– Both the United States and Russia have an interest in maintaining a stable deterrence relationship, so it makes perfect sense for us to discuss the relationship between offensive and defensive weapons.

— The fact that there is a relationship between offensive and defensive forces has long been recognized by the United States and Russia.

— President Obama and President Medvedev agreed to have such discussions in their April 1, 2009, Joint Statement.

— While we welcome these discussions, we do not believe that either the previous architecture or the new architecture for missile defense in Europe poses any threat to Russia.

— The previous architecture was not open for negotiation, and neither is the new one.

19. Isnt Iran more likely to use means other than missiles for coercing or attacking the United States and its allies?

– Iran is putting a lot of resources into its missile programs, and is increasing its arsenal in terms of both range and numbers. Ballistic missiles are attractive to rogue states as tools of coercion and power projection because they are capable of potentially delivering WMD payloads over great distances in short periods of time.

– Although perhaps one should not take everything that Iranian President Ahmadinejad says at face value, it is worth noting that following an Iranian missile test on April 20 of this year, he gave a speech saying “Today Iran has the power to turn any base that fires a bullet at Iran into hell.”

20. Does this reflect the Administrations acceptance of a nuclear Iran – that were just going to defend against their nuclear missiles rather than try to stop them from becoming a nuclear power?

– The Administrations policy on Iran has not changed: a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.

— We are continuing to work with our international partners to prevent Iran from developing technologies capable of deploying nuclear weapons.

— We also remain open to direct discussions with Iran on this and other issues.

– Countering ballistic missiles is just one part of our overall response to the threat posed by Iran, and the new phased approach is designed to be tailored depending on how the Iranian missile threat evolves.