Upsetting the Reset – The Technical Basis of Russian Concern Over NATO Missile Defense
The Obama administration is working with NATO to develop a missile defense shield to protect U.S. and European interests from ballistic missile attacks by Iran. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed strong concerns over this shield and has warned of a return to Cold War tensions, as well as possible withdrawal from international disarmament agreements like the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
On June 9, the NATO-Russia Council plans to meet with defense ministers to establish cooperation guidelines for the new European antiballistic missile system. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is releasing a new report that addresses concerns made by officials of the Russia Federation and provides recommendations for moving forward with a missile defense system..
Dr. Yousaf Butt, Scientific Consultant to FAS, and Dr. Theodore Postol, Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have published a technical assessment (PDF) of the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) missile defense system proposed by NATO and the United States and analyzed whether the Russian Federation has a legitimate concern over the proposed NATO-U.S. missile defense shield.
In practice the PAA will provide little, if any, protection leaving nuclear deterrence fundamentally intact. While the PAA would not significantly affect deterrence, it may be seen by cautious Russian planners to impose some attrition on Russian warheads. While midcourse missile defense would not alter the fundamental deterrence equation with respect to Iran or Russia, it may, in the Russian view, constitute an infringement upon the parity set down in New START.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons, and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
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A photo in a Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) student briefing from 2022 shows four people inspecting what appears to be a damaged B61 nuclear bomb.
In early-February 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) had informed Congress that China now has more launchers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) than the United States. The report is the latest in a serious of revelations over the past four years about China’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal and the deepening […]