NATO leaders declared that the Alliance now has an interim ballistic missile defence capability at their Summit in Chicago on 21 May, marking the first step in the development of a NATO missile defence system.
At the last NATO Summit, in Lisbon in November 2010, Alliance leaders agreed that NATO will develop a missile defence capability to pursue its core task of collective defence.
“In Lisbon, we agreed to create a NATO missile defence system. Today, in Chicago, we have declared that a reality,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Following the Lisbon decision, the Alliance began developing a command and control system which will be able to connect missile defence assets provided by individual Allies into a coherent defence.
“Our system will link together missile defence assets from different Allies – satellites, ships, radars and interceptors – under NATO command and control. It will allow us to defend against threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area,” the Secretary General said.
The Interim Capability features a basic command and control capability which has been tested and installed at Headquarters Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany.
Allies will provide sensors and interceptors to connect to the system.
NATO’s long-term goal is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
This goal will be achieved with the Full Operational Capability, which is expected around the end of the current decade or early next decade.