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Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe
Steven a. Hildreth (au); Carl Elk (au)
The Bush Admin. proposed deploying a ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) element of the larger Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in Europe to defend against an Iranian missile threat. The system would include 10 interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar deployed in a country closer to Iran, all to be completed by 2013 at a reported cost of at least $4 billion. The proposed U.S. system has encountered resistance in some European countries and beyond. Critics in Poland and the Czech Republic assert that neither country faces a notable threat from Iran, but that if Am. GMD facilities were installed, both countries might be targeted by missiles from rogue states — and possibly from Russia. The Bush Admin. signed agreements with both countries permitting GMD facilities to be stationed on their territory; however, their parliaments continue to wait on ratifying the accords, in part, until after the Obama Admin. clarifies its intentions on missile defense policy. NATO has taken actions that some interpret as an endorsement of the U.S. GMD system. The GMD plan has also affected U.S.-Russia relations. Former Pres. Putin and his successor, Vladimir Medvedev, have argued that the proposal would reignite the arms race and upset U.S.-Russian-European security relations. U.S. officials dispute Russia’s objections, noting that the interceptors are intended to take out Iranian missiles aimed at Europe or the U.S. and could not possibly act as a deterrent against Russia. Despite ongoing discussions over the issue, sharp Russian criticism of the program has continued. For FY2008, Congress examined the European GMD proposal and eliminated proposed funding for initial site construction pending formal agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic, independent studies on missile defense options for Europe, and DOD certification of the proposed interceptor. The FY2009 request for the European site was $712 million, which Congress largely supported with funding for site construction available only after Czech and Polish ratification. The Obama Admin. proposed $50.5 million for the European site for FGY2010, which with the $618 million remaining and available from the FY2009 budget pending Polish and Czech ratification, the Admin. believes is sufficient for the time being.
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