CNS Branch Office: Washington, D.C.
June 15, 2001
Panel 1: The Nature and Implications of a Possible European Missile Defense System (Speakers: Ian Kenyon, John Simpson, Mark Smith, Michael Rance, Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, Dieter Dettke)
This situation would pose two related challenges for Europe: assuring that the system does not harm relations with Russia, and at the same time keeping NATO intact. Furthermore, Europe will face both security and political concerns from the requisite technological collaboration. This system would rely on an integrated and centralized command and control center, an organization which, in its trans-national purview, would test the unity of the European nations and force either the EU or NATO to assume control of the entire European Ballistic Missile Defense (EBMD). Though potentially problematic from national intelligence perspectives, collaboration is essential to a system capable of covering Europe. The impact of an EBMD system would be deep for EU states and for NATO. It seems sensible, then, if there is to be shared technology, for NATO to run feasibility studies on EBMD.
Government reports from the U.K., France, Germany, and the Netherlands indicate that proliferation has moved up as a concern—indeed, much proliferation has occurred near the borders of Southeastern Europe. However, it seems that neither proximity to states of concern, nor obligations to the United States have been able to shift European discussion from theater missile defense to the broader EBMD. European nations differentiate between a rogue state's capability to threaten the United States and Western Europe and its intent to do so. European countries have repeatedly demonstrated that, at this point, they are interested only in protecting deployed forces with TMD, not in changing international strategic constructs.
Since Europe is Russia's geographical neighbor, the reconfiguration of European defenses ultimately depends on the outcome of U.S.-Russian debates over missile defense. Additionally, any European attempts at deployment must balance the strategic interests of the non-U.S. nuclear weapon states and U.S. plans.
System Architecture and Command/Control
First, Europe would have to decide which countries required which types of defenses. A country must weigh its own security concerns, and choose either a comprehensive missile defense I.E.,--one that could protect its cities, -- OR a more localized, theater-oriented defense that would cover its military bases and installations. These questions would be crucial in formulating the criteria for the system.
Similarly, nations would have to come to a basic agreement about the threats posed to Europe. Currently, no such agreement exists. That the U.K. perceives a greater threat from Iraq than does France, for example, illustrates the subjective reality of national security, and suggests the troubles inherent in the very first steps of development of any EBMD. Furthermore, nations would have to come to a collective understanding of how current threats may develop. The system, Mr. Rance noted, would have to be evolvable, so as to avoid the fate of becoming a costly relic incapable of protecting against newly emerging threats.
Naturally, cost itself would be a central point in any EBMD plan. Each nation would have to decide how much to budget for development and deployment of the system. Currently, there is no funding for an EBMD. Establishing the political foundation for such funding, and for agreeing on the immediate threats and the type of defenses necessary would have to come before deployment. Again, this question raised political issues inherent in the lack of a centralized European government. In addition to command and control and intelligence-sharing problems, a mechanism would need to be devised to ensure that all protected countries contributed to the funding of an EBMD. This could present a problem for nations with small military budgets.
Assuming these points are resolved, Mr. Rance suggested that development would need to occur in stages, beginning with a TMD-style system to cope with threats to South and Southeastern Europe. The developing architecture would draw on available technology. Extant NATO networks could provide the basic infrastructure for a command and control system. Later, plans could build off NATO's TMD system.
“I believe European protection should be in European hands,” stated Mr. Rance. “Separate national command controls would be chaotic,” he continued, adding the caveat that it is, of course, a big decision for nations to share the sensitive data necessary to operate a trans-national command and control center. Despite a strong EU, diverse national security interests mean that Europe faces a greater number of obstacles in BMD development than does the U.S.
European Views of Missile Defense
A general disapproval of U.S. unilateralism stems not only from U.S. posturing on BMD, but also from recent actions in the U.S. Senate, namely the failure to ratify some sixty signed treaties, including, most conspicuously, the CTBT and the Kyoto Protocol. Mr. Cotta-Ramusino addressed the European resentment of perceived American indifference toward these treaties. This resentment underscores European unease, voiced by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac, that an EBMD or U.S. NMD would adversely affect arms control regimes. Furthermore, he noted, the foreign relations of the United States cannot be taken as a reflection of the foreign relations of Europe, which has taken a policy of engagement with countries¾Iran, Iraq and North Korea¾that the U.S. does not deal with so openly.
The NMD debate has highlighted the need to strengthen missile technology export controls in Europe, Mr. Cotta-Ramusino noted, adding that Europe has not taken an active enough role in restricting exports.
The U.S. abandonment of the ABM Treaty faces critical objection in Europe, where general thinking supports changes or modifications within the treaty, but not abrogation. Diplomatic tradeoffs are, of course, the currency of international relations; Europe might be more willing to accept a strong U.S. position against the ABM Treaty, if the United States. would ratify the CTBT.
German Views on the Missile Defense Question
Thus far, Europe does not see rogue states as a credible threat to U.S. security. The costs to a small state of attacking the U.S. and being destroyed in response are just too great. “I've always thought,” Mr. Dettke said, “that the true motive [for NMD] has been in U.S. relations with Taiwan and with concerns over possible future conflict there.”
If the United States abrogates the ABM Treaty unilaterally, then the U.S. must face retaliatory Russian consequences. Such a downward spiral would weaken the nonproliferation regime and endanger not only the security of the U.S. and Russia, but that of Europe and the rest of the world as well. Ballistic missile defense could also jeopardize the unity of the NATO alliance by driving a wedge between pro and anti-U.S. system member states. Ultimately, Mr. Dettke concluded, the U.S-NATO alliance can be preserved, but we must allow time for thorough discussion of BMD and all its attendant complications.
Questions and Answers
Q: What kind of political capital is Europe willing to expend on non-defensive aspects of missile proliferation? Do Europeans support the argument that missile defenses are necessary in the event that deterrence fails? Could you comment, also, on European thinking vis-à-vis protection against accidental missile launches?
Q: What specific steps are Europeans taking to deal with the threat of missile proliferation through technology sales? What happens in Europe the next time that Russia sells missile parts to country X, Y, or Z?
Q: In order for the idea of missile defense to be effective, Europe must be defended, otherwise vulnerability will simply shift from the United States to Europe.
Q: What are the differences between the EU and NATO in regards to missile defense? If the ABM is a relic of the Cold War era, is NATO also?
Q: Is there a precedent in NATO to deal with command and control issues?
Q: I'm curious about the supposed infallibility of the ABM Treaty. The argument is that it restricts proliferation. However when the treaty was signed in 1971, the United States and the Soviet Union each had about 2,000 missiles, whereas at the height of the Cold War, each side had about 10,000. Perhaps missile defense will prevent future proliferation by taking away the incentive for poor countries to invest scarce resources in missiles that could easily be intercepted.
Panel 2: Alternative Conceptions of the Missile Threat and Defenses
Threat Assessments and the Future of Deterrence: Competing Views
America is responding to a change in the security environment by “abandoning the shibboleths” of the past, said Mr. Karp. The 1991 discovery of the Iraqi nuclear program and the 1998 North Korean test-launch of the Taepodong missile raised doubts about the effectiveness of the nonproliferation regime. Before this new era, the ABM had intrinsic importance. The current shift in the debate seeks to evaluate the ABM more critically. Concurrently, there has been a shift in BMD thought, from “what to do when it doesn't work?” to “how well will it work?”
The overwhelming support in the Senate for the National Missile Defense Act of 1999¾it passed on a margin of 97-3¾was the result not only of increased interest in BMD, but also of the recognition of the need to reevaluate U.S. strategic priorities. In contrast, Europe, opined Mr. Karp, has lost its ability to think strategically. European nations now make decisions based on collective deliberation, not on examination of national interests. Missile defense has become the “eight-hundred pound guerilla that doesn't fit into the rest of the zoo,” said Mr. Karp, who went on to note that there has been nothing like the Rumsfeld Report to build European public opinion in support of BMD.
Among European nations, the U.K. has positioned itself to be the key ally to influence how the U.S. deploys any missile defense system. The French remain committed to the idea of deterrence. Germans accept the legitimacy of a threat, and value NATO, but believe that if the U.S. abandons the ABM, then it must replace it with “something” else. Germany does not have a strong opinion on the substance of this “something” else, just that the formal strategic requirement is filled. This lack of interest in substance, commented Mr. Karp, is troubling.
Cooperative Russian Proposals for Missile Defense with NATO
Since [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's NBC interview and statements in Italy, Russia hasn't mentioned anything about deployment of such a system. Militarily, it is uncertain who would be in control. If Europe were to carry out a joint venture with Russia, it would be tantamount to Russian accession to NATO.
It is very important for Putin to show that Russia is open to negotiation. Therefore, the United States and NATO must develop an ambitious plan. Compromise will be possible if Russia is given a stake in a Europe/Russia-protective system. This could perhaps be a groundbreaking development that would help us get out of the Cold War mentality.
It is also important to consider ways of thinking outside of the ABM's purported strategic deterrence. President Bush mentioned this, but backed off. It is deplorable, since we need that type of creative thinking. Do we, after all, seriously believe what supporters of the ABM have told us, that, for instance, the ABM Treaty will keep China from increasing its nuclear force?
The U.S. should think of security guarantees with Russia and China, and further enhance trans-Atlantic ties. “I think it's time to stop treating Bush as the grinch who stole stability,” Mr. Mizin concluded.
Questions and Answers
Q: Were references to boost-phase intercepts mistaken, or reconsidered in the Russian proposal?
Q: Given everything that's been said, how can we move forward? A U.S.-Russian bilateral agreement to tie together the ABM and missile defense? A multilateral regime constraining deterrence? What should be the basis of security for Europe? Do they need a strategic agreement linking missile defense with conventional force agreements?
Concluding Discussion: U.S. Missile Defenses and the Allies
U.S. Missile Defenses and the Allies
Mr. Warner spoke about the two major military reviews that have been mandated by Congress: the National Security Strategy Review and the Nuclear Posture Review, which are due before the end of the year. Bush's well-covered speech to the National Defense College on May 1st, Mr. Warner continued, touched on a broad agenda. This administration has seen fits and starts in the nonproliferation area; the United States is again, after a three-month hiatus, considering talks with North Korea. The administration recognizes the diplomatic necessity of readjusting the Agreed Framework.
There is a notable preference within the Bush administration for non-legal, unilateral maneuvers in nonproliferation, as evidenced by its talk about unilateral cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In such an environment, second track dialogue between the U.S. and Russia could play an important role. Russia prefers legal arrangements, and is now willing to go lower than before; financial exigency mandates that it do so.
The key question, according to Mr. Warner, is why the United States must continue to worry about an adversarial Russia that no longer exists. The Bush administration has a general commitment to move ahead with missile defense. It wants to obliterate the distinctions between TMD and NMD, to forge what Rumsfeld originally termed “Global Missile Defense.” Discussions are still ongoing on the final architecture of the system, but plans for a terminal intercept would be the easiest to deploy soon. There is also, now, a new focus on the possibility of boost-phase intercept systems.
Questions and Answers
Q: If adversarial relations between the United States and Russia are over, why don't the U.S.-Russian strategic arms cuts reflect this?
Q: Are you aware of any probabilistic studies of political and technical aspects and challenges of missile defense? It seems that the debate exists outside of such thought.
Q: If the administration wants to abrogate the ABM, what actions will it take?
Prepared by Kristin Thompson and Andrew Monahan