Implies Shield Isn't "Just" For Iran, North Korea
The agreement between the United States and Poland on ballistic
missile defense is important for the relationship between the two
countries and for the NATO alliance, a senior State Department
official said Monday.
John C. Rood, acting undersecretary of state for arms control
and international security -- who helped to negotiate the agreement
-- talked with reporters at the State Department.
As ANN reported, the agreement -- signed
August 20 -- will allow the United States to place 10 Patriot
interceptor missiles in Poland to defend the European NATO allies
from a missile strike from a rogue state like Iran, or North Korea.
A radar site for the system will be built in the Czech
There are two pieces to the agreement, Rood said. "One is a
ballistic missile defense agreement," he said. "The second is a
declaration on a strategic cooperation between the United States
The missile defense agreement is the culmination of a NATO
initiative approved by alliance leaders at the alliance's summit in
Bucharest, Romania, in April. NATO leaders agreed that the missile
threat from rogue regimes was growing, and that a system needed to
be in place. The summit also called to expand this initial area by
exploring options for a NATO-wide architecture for missile
"This capability will be very important to our NATO allies, for
their security, just as it's very important for the United States
and Poland," Rood said.
He adds NATO remains concerned about the missile threat. "As if
on cue, the Iranians just in the last couple of weeks have launched
a space launch vehicle, which again demonstrates additional
capabilities and underscores the concerns we have about the growing
missile threat from countries like Iran," Rood said.
In a comment likely to be bandied by officials in Russia -- who
are vehemently opposed to the Polish agreement, and are winning few
friends on the global stage with that country's assault on Georgia
-- Rood then pointedly noted the need for such a missile shield is
"not limited to Iran, I should hasten to add, but it's certainly an
That indirectly contradicts earlier US statements, intended to
placate Russian concerns of a US strategic presence in formerly
Eastern-bloc states. Given recent events, however... it seems the
US is no longer quite as concerned for delicate Russian
That said, Rood noted the agreement covers how the missile
defense facility would be operated. It also covers what the
respective roles of the different parties would be, and their
rights. For example, he said, the United States has undertaken a
commitment not to conduct flight tests of the ballistic defense
interceptors that would be stationed there out of that site.
"It's a pretty broad coverage in terms of the subject matter in
that document, and I think it's befitting of the fact that this is
going to be a ... substantially changed relationship between the
United States and Poland, in that you will have a much greater
level of defense cooperation," Rood said.
(Aero-News thanks Jim Garamone, American Forces Press
Service, for his initial report.)