The Phased Adaptive Approach to BMD in Europe at a glance

Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) to BMD in Europe announced by Obama in 2009 replaces the old strategy devised by George Bush in 2007 coined the Third Site and is designed to adapt to evolving threats

  • Phase 1 (2011) involved sea-based deployments using short-range Aegis missile defence technology on ships to protect South Eastern Europe from the immediate Iranian threat
  • Phase 2  (2015) will see interceptors taken onto land in Romania
  • Phase 3 (2018) will extend and modernise arrangements to able to protect the whole of Europe by notably positioning Aegis missile defence systems in Poland

The US Ballistic Missile Defence Review (BMDR) in 2010 declared that the Phased Adaptive Approach to BMD in Europe will become the model for US BMD policy in other regions, particularly concerning the Middle East and East Asia

Discussion Points:

  • The conventional understanding holds that under Obama BMD has been re-modelled and de-emphasised as a policy option, yet the PAA to US BMD policy has the potential to be far more extensive than previous plans.
  • Will the PAA produce the conditions for nuclear weapons disarmament in Europe?
  • The Iranian  nuclear threat to US assets and its European allies is not emerging as previously anticipated. Most paramount is that Iran is still undecided about getting nuclear weapons. Therefore is it necessary?
  • As posted previously BMD is arguably weakening international security by increasing suspicions within Russia and China.  Though the US claims that major powers are no longer adversaries in the post-Cold War era as they face the same emerging threats – notably nuclear proliferation to so-called ‘rogue’ states; Russia and China view the US expansion of BMD through traditional power politics therefore they are cautious and wary of hidden US intentions.  Consequently, this may reduce there willingness to engage in credible progress towards disarmament given that the entire agenda hinges on mutual trust and confidence.
  • Also adopting Waltz’s position (as discussed below) will states even use nuclear weapons? thus rendering BMD out of touch
  • BMD technology is largely unproven and is therefore unable to justify its 8 billion dollar annual budget
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