The Pentagon and State Department recently published a report explaining the need to set up a third ground-based interceptor site in Eastern Europe to counter the growing threat of long-range missiles from rogue states.
The report was produced to better explain why the Pentagon wants to build a 10-missile interceptor site in Poland by 2011 to 2013, and a midcourse tracking and discrimination radar in Czech Republic by 2011. Talks are under way for the system.
The repor t states that the threat from missiles “is real and growing” and notes that in 1972 only nine states deployed ballistic missiles while by 2006 the number had grown to 25 nations.
The number of states with missiles capable of attacking U.S. allies and U.S. territory has increased from five states to nine, with Iran and North Korea the most worrisome.
“If Europe is not secure, the United States is not secure,” the report stated.
The report notes that to protect against missile attacks, “we need defenses stationed and operational in Europe before a threat fully emerges.”
In addition to North Korea’s long-range Taepodong-2 missile, the report identified another major threat as Iran’s Shahab-3 medium-range missile, which was test-fired in November during Iran’s “Great Prophet II” exercises. The Shahab-3 has a range of about 800 miles, enough to hit targets in Israel and Turkey. Additionally, Iran is developing longer-range missiles, including a 1,240-mile range Shahab and eventually intercontinental-range missiles.
“We cannot afford to be surprised by waking up one day and discovering that Iran has an [intercontinental ballistic missile] capability,” the report stated.
The report shows that the Polish-Czech site would not “catch” any Russian ICBMs, but would protect all European NATO allies from attack against a long-range missile fired from the Middle East.