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09USNATO395 2009-09-17 21:28:00 CONFIDENTIAL Mission USNATO
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1. (C) Summary: NATO Allies received a September 17
briefing on the President's decision on the U.S. Ballistic
Missile Defense Review positively, especially its linkage
with NATO's missile defense plans. A number of Allies asked
questions regarding possible missile defense cooperation with
Russia. Czech and Polish comments were constructive. Turkey
said it best when its representative noted that, while the
technology may have changed, U.S. commitment to European
security had not. Note: This message has not/not been
cleared by USDP Flournoy. End Summary.

2. (C) Following the briefing given to a special session of
the North Atlantic Council (NAC) by an inter-agency team led
by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy,
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International
Security Ellen Tauscher, and Director of the Missile Defense
Agency LTG Patrick O'Reilly, a number of Allied Permanent
Representatives (PermReps) commented on the briefing. All
noted that they were offering preliminary thoughts without
instructions from capitals, and all praised the depth and
timeliness of the consultations.




3. (C) Italy spoke first, welcoming three key takeaways: the
basing of the BMDR on the scope and nature of the threat; the
new possibilities in missile defense engendered by
technological advances over the past five years; and the
importance of the indivisibility of Alliance security. The
Italian PermRep anticipated support from Rome for the U.S.

4. (C) The United Kingdom said the threat-focused BMDR made
"eminent sense," and asked Allies to focus on the next steps
for NATO. He proposed a NATO review of the impact of the
BMDR on NATO's missile defense architecture study and on the
proposed expansion of ALTBMD, NATO's missile defense command
and control backbone. He noted that on first inspection, the
work already done in these areas remained valid and timely,
but that a short-term assessment of the potential effects of
the Phased, Adaptive Approach on NATO's missile defense plans
was crucial.

5. (C) Norway's PremRep praised the "once-again timely"
consultations on the BMDR. He was particularly struck by
threat-driven process of the BMDR, and by Under Secretary
Flournoy's promise that today's consultations were the
beginning of a rich conversation with Allies on European
missile defense. He said both NATO Defense Ministers,
meeting in Bratislava in late October, and Foreign Ministers
in early December would want to partake of that conversation.
He closed by asking what effects today's announcement would
have on the Russian Federation and the possibility of
NATO-Russia missile defense cooperation.

6. (C) The Polish representative made two points: His
government had always stressed that the decision on a
European component to U.S. missile defense had always been a
sovereign American decision; and today's announcement was
being carefully analyzed in Warsaw. He added that Prime
Minister Tusk had spoken with President Obama an hour earlier
about the BMDR outcomes. The important thing for NATO, he
added, was to begin a robust debate on how to proceed with
Alliance missile defense.

7. (C) Denmark expressed its "great satisfaction" at the
quality of the briefing and the timeliness of consultations.
Its PermRep also asked what the ramifications of the BMDR
would be on NATO's practical work on missile defense in
Europe, as well as the possibilities which might open up for
NATO-Russia cooperation on missile defense.

8. (C) The Czech response came in four points: First, NATO's
decision to pursue missile defense options remained valid;
second, along with the UK, the Czechs agreed that NATO must
focus immediately on the effects the BMDR outcomes will have
on NATO's missile defense program; third, what the Czech
PermRep described as the U.S. "modification of attitude" on
European missile defense shouldn't cause NATO to lower its
ambitions. Allies should still approach the 2010 Lisbon
Summit with a missile defense plan in hand. Finally, he saw
the Phased, Adaptive Approach as an opportunity to test

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Russia's "seriousness" on cooperating with NATO on missile
defense. He also asked what next steps NATO should take on
exploring the possibility of missile defense cooperation with

9. (C) The German PermRep, in the most cautious response of
the day, stressed that NATO had always viewed missile defense
as a "moving target," and part of a broader response to the
ballistic missile threat. He endorsed the UK call to study
the potential effects of the BMDR on NATO missile defense,
and wondered where the potential to enhance missile defense
cooperation with Russia might lie. Finally, he asked Under
Secretary Tauscher what the relationship was between the BMDR
and START follow-on negotiations with Russia.

10. (C) The Spanish representative said he had seen positive
responses already from Moscow, which was good news. He also
asked about the possibility of missile defense cooperation
with Russia, as well as the potential superiority of
sea-based missile defense systems over their land-based

11. (C) Romania noted that the ballistic missile threat to
Europe was "real and evolving," and that the indivisibility
of Allied security was key to any missile defense program.
Assessing the impact of the BMDR on NATO missile defense was
crucial, but so was maintaining the energy and momentum of
NATO's program. Missile defense may or may not be a moving
target, but NATO did not want to become a static target for
enemy missiles.

12. (C) The Turkish representative took special note of
where the Phased, Adaptive Approach departed from the program
of record -- in providing for the indivisibility of Alliance
security. There had clearly been a change in technological
solutions to the ballistic missile threat based on a revised
assessment of that threat; what had not changed, however was
the U.S. commitment to overcoming that threat and to Alliance

13. (C) France weighed in last, noting it had always
supported a phased approach to European missile defense, and
it appeared that the Phased, Adaptive Approach met that
criterion well. France also supported follow-on work at
NATO, and asked for more information on missile defense
cooperation with Russia.




14. (C) Under Secretary Flournoy expressed her appreciation
for all the comments tying the BMDR process to NATO's missile
defense efforts, and noted that the BMDR process had taken
previous NATO missile defense work into consideration when it
arrived at the Phased, Adaptive Approach. She added that the
President's decision would enhance opportunities for the U.S.
to cooperate with Allies on European missile defense.

15. (C) On the question of sea-based missile defense
systems, Under Secretary Flournoy said that Allies who were
considering purchasing Aegis systems would be able, if
desired, to enhance them with ballistic missile defense
capabilities. LTG O'Reilly added that, while it was true
that sea-based systems had an advantage in survivability,
land-based systems were more cost-effective, and also, given
the geometry of Europe and the nature of the threat,
essential. A mix of both types of systems was optimal.

16. (C) To the several Allies who had raised the question of
Russian reaction to the BMDR review outcomes, Under Secretary
Flournoy replied that she did not know. Earlier Russian
reactions were to prior, erroneous press accounts of what the
review would contain. The U.S. had made a point of flying to
Warsaw, Prague and Brussels to consult with Allies, and had
not yet discussed them with Russia. As she had noted before,
this was not about Russia -- this was about working with
Allies to defend Europe. That said, there might well be
technological opportunities for cooperation with Russia on
missile defense.

17. (C) LTG O'Reilly expanded on that point, noting that he
had visited radar sites in Gabala, Azerbaijan, and Armavir,
Russia. Both sites offered additional capabilities to
European missile defense from the Iranian threat, albeit not
target discrimination such as the radar previously planned
for the Czech Republic would have provided. (He added that
such discrimination capabilities were now being designed into

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interceptor missiles themselves, and that the netted sensor
system under current consideration would be much less
vulnerable to enemy pre-emption than a single site, however
capable.) What the Russian radars could add was early
tracking of missile launches, giving a NATO missile defense
system a higher probability of success. That said, the
Phased, Adaptive Approach did not depend on Russian
capabilities to function, although a NATO system which
included these U.S. sensors, interceptors and command and
control nodes would function better with the added Russian
early tracking capabilities.

18. (C) On the question of its potential interface with
NATO's ALTBMD structure, LTG O'Reilly noted that the Phased,
Adaptive Approach was distributed, flexible and adaptable.
Interceptors and sensors will be able to be fully integrated
with ALTBMD.

19. (C) In response to the German question on START
follow-on negotiations, Under Secretary Tauscher noted the
expiration date for START, and the urgency with which
negotiations were being conducted in Geneva. However,
Presidents Obama and Medvedev had stated clearly in April
that START follow-on negotiations would not deal in any way
with ballistic missile defense, but solely on the balance of
and further reductions to offensive systems. President
Obama's press conference, held right before the NAC, had made
the point that the previous U.S. program of record on missile
defense had posed no threat to the Russian Federation, and
that its concerns were unfounded. Iran was the threat, and
the U.S. would welcome Russian contributions to dealing with
that threat. The NATO-Russia Council could provide a useful
forum for discussing cooperation against the Iranian threat.

20. (C) Secretary General Rasmussen closed the NAC with an
agreement among PermReps to assess the impact of the U.S.
BMDR on NATO's missile defense program, with a view to
presenting findings to the NAC ahead of the Defense
Ministerial October 22-23 in Bratislava.