News Update :

NATO missile defense system is now operational

Monday, May 21, 2012

Washington: A mechanism for Europe that will link together the missile defense assets from various Allies under the command of NATO has been declared operational by the organization.

Announced by the alliance 18 months ago, the system was appointed by the Director General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a step towards long-term organizational goal of providing full coverage and protection of all its European partners.

"Our system will link missile defense assets in various allies - satellites, ships, radars and interceptors - under NATO command and control. It will allow us to defend against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area, "said Rasmussen in Chicago after the first session of the North Atlantic Council in the Heads of State and Government format.

He also called the system an interim capability. "We decided to develop a NATO missile defense system because we consider the missile threat and a threat against a real threat, we need a real defense to protect our people effectively," Mr. Rasmussen said, adding that NATO will continue to have dialogue with Russia in this regard.

"Of course, that can not be blocked by Russia. This is a NATO decision. That said, we have invited Russia to cooperate on missile defense and that invitation still stands, says it.

Rasmussen added that NATO "continue" the process of dialogue with Russia and hopes that at some stage, Russia would "realize" that it is in the common interest to cooperate on missile defense.

The NATO chief also called on the initiative of a true transatlantic teamwork with the United States and its European allies who invest in the security policy.

Rasmussen said the move was an excellent example of the renewed culture of cooperation - Smart Defense with countries "working together" to develop the capacities they "could not develop itself."

"We already have good examples. In the Baltic States, the Allies took turns to patrol the airspace. This means that our allies Baltic can focus their resources in other critical areas, such as deployable forces to Afghanistan. That is why we agreed that NATO provide air continues to police the Baltic States, "the NATO chief said.

Rasmussen said NATO members also agreed to acquire an Alliance Ground Surveillance.

"During our operation to protect the people of Libya, we learned how important it is to have the best possible intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. So we realized that we needed more capacity. We now fill this gap, "he said.

"Today, a contract is signed for the acquisition of five unarmed drones that enable our commanders to identify threats, identify targets and see what happens on the horizon at any moment," Rasmussen said, naming a smart defense "vital" principle, which, he said, will become the "new way of doing business" for NATO.

He added that a strong package of over 20 multinational projects was approved to provide the necessary "
capabilities "to" affordable ".

"For example, in Afghanistan, we have gained importance to protect our forces against roadside bombs. Thus, a number of allies will jointly develop robots that can remotely erase such bombs - the protection of our forces and civilians, "he said.

Stressing the importance of keeping the watch on the sea, Rasmussen said, after their operations over Libya and off the Horn of Africa, the group of allies have agreed to pool their patrol aircraft sea ​​front and offers a greater awareness more effectively.

"Smart Defense is spending wisely on what we need. And it also means not to duplicate. This is why we welcome the efforts within the EU to address the deficit in the European air refueling. Within NATO, we also agreed that our forces will step exercises, training and education, including with our partners. Thus, they can maintain the skills they have mastered in the operations, "Has he said.

The NATO chief said that these decisions reflect the fact that despite "economic challenges", the Allies were "committed" to acquire, develop and maintain the necessary capacities and skills.

"Our goal is NATO in 2020 - an alliance of forces that deals with today's economic challenges and is ready to meet the security challenges of the future," said Rasmussen.

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