Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe [Updated July 25, 2007]   [open pdf - 118KB]

"Successive U.S. administrations have urged the creation of an anti-missile system to protect against threats from rogue states. The Bush Administration believes that North Korea and Iran are strategic threats and questions whether they can be deterred by conventional means. The Administration has built long-range missile defense bases in Alaska and California to protect against North Korean missiles. The system has been tested, with mixed results, and questions have been raised about its effectiveness. The Administration has proposed deploying a ground-based mid-course defense (GMD) element of the larger Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in Europe to defend against an Iranian missile threat. The system would include 10 interceptors in Poland, and radar in the Czech Republic. Deployment of the European GMD capability is scheduled to be completed by 2013 at a cost of $4.04 billion. The proposed U.S. system has encountered resistance in some European countries and beyond. Critics in Poland and the Czech Republic assert that neither country currently faces a notable threat from Iran, but that if American GMD facilities were installed, both countries might be targeted by missiles from rogue states-and possibly from Russia. Some Europeans claim that GMD is another manifestation of American unilateralism, and assert that the Bush Administration did not consult sufficiently with NATO allies or with Russia, which the Administration argues was not the case. Other European leaders, however, support the missile defense project. NATO has also been deliberating long-range missile defense, and has recently taken actions that have been interpreted as an endorsement of the American GMD system."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34051
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