Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The Independent recently published an article on the prospects for the United States siting a missile defence centre in the United Kingdom. Despite the natural enthusiasm of HMG, the United States strategists are examining locations in the Accession Countries for the silo:

Currently, the US missile defence institution is conducting the "technology assessment" on the possible location of the system to see whether it is appropriate for the construction of missile launching silo and whether the electric facilities and road conditions are feasible. The countries selected by the organization are Poland, Czech and Hungary, but the US Defence Ministry and other foreign affair departments insist on the missile defence base be built in UK.

The source is People's Daily Online, so treat with caution.

A better understanding of the current moves towards co-operation on missile defence, and the cautious steps required to swing public opinion in favour, were set out by Stephen Rademaker, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control:

This is true not only within the United States, but overseas as well. Indeed, when it comes to foreign governments, which are the focus of my remarks today, I would say that, with very few exceptions, they fully accept the need to move forward with missile defense in the current security environment. Foreign publics are often a different matter, however. Not surprisingly, many people in foreign countries pay less attention to these matters than do the officials of their governments, just as is the case in our country. As a result, foreign publics often continue to accept the now disproven contention that we can have either missile defense on the one hand or arms control and strategic stability on the other, but not both. Still thinking that they need to choose between these two options, they instinctively express a preference for arms control and strategic stability.

This provides the current strategy that the United States uses in cooperation with those identified as "friends and allies":

The United States is working jointly with interested friends and allies to analyze each country's unique threat environment and its missile defense requirements for the future. The Department of State has played and continues to play an important diplomatic role in this effort, explaining to allies and friends how missile defense can enhance regional security and stability while encouraging their cooperation and participation.

The details for the United Kingdom are noted:

British Defense Minister Hoon and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld signed a Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Framework MoU, on June 12, 2003. This agreement establishes the basis for U.S.-U.K. industrial collaboration in the field of missile defense. An Annex to the Framework MoU regarding the Fylingdales early warning radar was signed on December 18, 2003, authorizing us to upgrade that radar for use in missile defense. These upgrades will allow the radar to generate the information necessary to direct a midcourse missile defense interceptor to the general area of the intercept. This event marked the first time a U.S. ally permitted deployment of a missile defense system component on its territory to assist us in defending U.S. territory.

Another Annex on Missile Defense Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) cooperation was signed on October 12, 2004. To assist in both government-to-government, and industry-to-industry RDT&E cooperation in missile defense, the U.K. established its Missile Defence Centre in July 2003. The Centre attempts to bring U.K. government and industry expertise together by providing a centralized clearinghouse for the ultimate purpose of establishing closer technical and industrial cooperation.

Cooperation such as the framework of understanding between Lockheed Martin and British Aerospace:

Lockheed Martin, for instance, and BAE Systems in the United Kingdom have signed an MoU to explore partnership opportunities on missile defense programs around the world. This agreement envisions joint investments in key technologies that can significantly enhance the effectiveness of sea-based systems, systems integration, command and control, early warning and sensor networking, interceptors, use of targets, and dealing with countermeasures. This international team is working to expand transatlantic missile defense cooperation for the benefit of both the United States and NATO Allies by leveraging the best technologies and engineering skills each company and each nation has to offer.

It is clear, from the growing governmental and industrial ties that the United States has agreed with certain countries, that missile defence is one of the most important strategies utilised to maintain and forge alliances. There is a strategic benefit from such a relationship, and as Rademaker's speech omits, France remains unprotected. The United States has taken Britain's mantle on the continentals: divide and conquer.


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