Russian Ballistic Missile Defense: Rhetoric and Reality   [open pdf - 4MB]

"Russia has made air and space defense, including ballistic missile defense (BMD), a top priority, while at the same time protesting vehemently against the deployment of U.S. missile defense technology in Europe, which Moscow claims upsets strategic stability and increases the danger of war. Russian declaratory policy provides U.S. policymakers with significant material to develop an approach intended to mitigate Russian obstructionism over European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) and U.S. plans for BMD more broadly. Put simply, Russian complaints at the dangerous irresponsibility of the United States introducing new anti-missile capabilities ring hollow, when Russia is forging ahead with its own program to do precisely the same. U.S. officials have repeatedly attempted to allay Russian concerns over the potential for EPAA and its predecessor systems to compromise Russian strategic deterrence. These attempts have foundered on Russian concerns, some of which appear disingenuous, but others of which are genuinely rooted in an entirely different Russian approach to the purpose and status of nuclear weapons. Despite the current hiatus in relations, opportunities for meaningful dialog with Russia on missile defense will arise again in the future. At that point, U.S. representatives should be fully informed on the scope and ambition of Russia's own missile defense programs. This will allow them not only to rebut some of the more facile Russian accusations, but also to counter some persistent Russian arguments relating to strategic balance. In brief, discussion of Russian capabilities should be an integral part of future conversations with Russia on the deployment of U.S. and allied BMD assets. This monograph provides the necessary overview of Russian plans for missile defenses, and the rhetoric surrounding them."

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