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 News Article

Missile Defense Review Links Strategy to Threats

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2010 – The Ballistic Missile Defense Review released today aligns U.S. missile defense posture with near-term regional missile threats, and sustains the ability to defend the homeland against limited long-range missile attack, said Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy.

Flournoy today described six major priorities that will shape U.S. missile defense at a Pentagon news conference.

The first goes to the heart of defense and that is to defend the United States from a limited ballistic missile attack. The second is to defend against growing regional threats.

A third priority is “to test new systems under realistic conditions before they’re deployed to ensure their effectiveness,” Flournoy said.

The fourth priority is to develop new fiscally sustainable capabilities, while the fifth is to develop flexible capabilities that can adapt as threats evolve. Finally, the United States wants to lead expanded international cooperation on missile defense, she said.

“We believe this approach will provide reassurance to our allies that the United States will stand by our security commitments to them,” Flournoy said, “and will help to negate the coercive potential of regional actors attempting to limit U.S. influence and actions in key regions.”

That approach, she added, will also serve to strengthen regional deterrence alliances against states seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The missile review was conducted with an eye toward engaging Russia and China in a strategic dialogue.

“We’re currently protected against a limited ballistic missile attack, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future,” Flournoy said. “We will continue to invest in this capability and to hedge against the possibility of new threats emerging.”It’s important, Flournoy emphasized, to note that U.S. homeland missile defense efforts are focused on regional actors such as North Korea and Iran, and “are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia or China.”

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Michele Flournoy

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