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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Remarks > 2004

Europe and Missile Defense: Transatlantic Perspectives

Stephen G. Rademaker, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control
Remarks at a Conference on "Missile Defence and Europe: Transatlantic Perspectives"
Wilton Park, Sussex, England
May 24, 2004

I am grateful to Dr. Richard Latter and his staff here at the Wilton Park organization for their enthusiasm in supporting this conference from its earliest inception, and for their effectiveness in bringing it all together.

The U.S. Department of State is committed to promoting international cooperation on missile defense. Over the past few years, we have made considerable efforts to discharge this responsibility, including participating in conferences and seminars, making educational material available, providing speakers for appropriate events, and working through our embassies and posts abroad to engage the international community on the subject of missile defense. Keeping non-U.S. Government officials, industry, and publics informed about our missile defense policy is a responsibility that the Department of State takes seriously. We have also sought to improve the process for issuing export licenses, and to promote the negotiation of Technical Assistance Agreements, as will be addressed by John Erath during tomorrow morning's first panel.

But there is another role that the State Department plays in promoting international cooperation on missile defense. That involves listening carefully to the questions and perspectives of government officials, industry, and publics, and where appropriate, conveying such perspectives to the Washington policy-making community. This conference aims to perform both of these functions: to communicate the latest information on U.S. Missile Defense policy and to listen carefully and appreciate the thinking of our friends and allies. A vigorous dialogue is essential, and we believe that this conference provides an optimal setting for such an exchange of views.

I expect that you will hear three key themes repeated over the course of this conference. The first is that bilateral cooperation with our allies and friends is essential to the success of U.S. missile defense efforts. President Bush has on several occasions stressed the importance of making missile defense cooperation a key feature of U.S. relations with close, long-standing allies, as well as a mechanism for building and strengthening relationships with new friends and allies. The President has directed us to eliminate impediments within our government to cooperation on missile defense, promising to review existing policies and practices governing technology sharing and cooperation, including U.S. export control laws and regulations.

We firmly believe that international cooperation is essential to the long-term success of our missile defense program. Of course, access to the best available technology is important to the development of effective and affordable missile defense systems. But it is also clear that the operational capabilities of our missile defense systems will, and in the future can further, benefit from international cooperation. As we are frequently reminded by Dr. Martin from the Missile Defense Agency, who will speak tomorrow, "geography counts" when it comes to effective ballistic missile defenses against threats that could be launched from, for example, the Middle East or Asia against our respective homelands, populations, and/or our deployed military forces. U.S. and United Kingdom early warning radar cooperation at RAF Fylingdales is a perfect example of ‘geography counting.’ We need the earliest possible warning of ballistic missile launches from our space-based and forward-based surveillance, detection, and tracking sensors. We need early interception opportunities. This means that close, and in the future greater, cooperation with friends and allies in the missile defense program is indispensable.

The second theme I expect you will hear is that there is growing international support for missile defense. I’ll just mention a few. The U.K. and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding on missile defense cooperation last June. The Government of Japan has budgeted nearly the equivalent of a billion U.S. dollars this year to acquire a sea-based Aegis BMD capability, as well as PAC-3 units. Australia has also announced a decision to participate with the United States in the development of missile defenses. Other nations as well have expressed interest in cooperating in our research & development program, as well as in cooperating in the deployment of future missile defense capabilities. As many of you know, NATO is taking steps to further integrate missile defenses into its strategic concept, and that will be an important subject of discussion at this conference.

Finally, the third theme that will be stressed is that missile defenses will contribute to our collective non-proliferation and regional security objectives. We do not view missile defenses as a substitute for deterrence. Further, the United States not only sees such capabilities as supplementing and enhancing deterrence, but also as an important tool in our efforts to stem the proliferation of ballistic missile technology by helping dissuade states of the utility of seeking to acquire ballistic missiles as a means of delivering weapons of mass destruction. We believe that missile defenses will ultimately strengthen international nonproliferation efforts. The role that missile defenses will play in promoting international nonproliferation will grow to the extent that our friends and allies join us in developing and deploying missile defenses.

We have worked with the staff here at Wilton Park to seek out speakers for their knowledge and expertise on essential aspects of missile defense. We encourage all attendees to engage constructively and vigorously with these experts. We look forward to a lively dialogue on these issues. Again, we are pleased to be cooperating with the Wilton Park organization in convening this conference. I hope you all will find this an interesting and informative experience.

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