U.S. issues statement on EPAA missile defense in Poland

Poland should be commended for its leadership within NATO and for its domestic progress on missile defense modernization, a high-ranking State Department official said on Thursday in Warsaw.

Frank Rose, the deputy assistant secretary for verification and compliance with the department's Bureau of Arms Control, spoke on Thursday at Polish National Defense University. Rose helped negotiate the details of the ballistic missile defense agreements with Poland, Turkey and Romania to allow the U.S. to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach. The EPAA is the U.S. contribution to NATO's missile defense.

EPAA was originally a four phase plan involving the deployment of BMD-capable ships and standard missile interceptors to Turkey, Romania and Poland. On March 15, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that Phase IV would be changed to strengthen U.S. homeland defense against possible threats from Iran and North Korea.

Despite the change in Phase IV of the project, the U.S. remains committed to Phases I, II and III of the EPAA. Phase III of the EPAA involves Poland and the placement of a land-based interceptor site in Redzikowo.

"This agreement places a land-based interceptor site, similar to Phase II, in Redzikowo, and includes the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor," Rose said. "This EPAA Phase III site is on schedule and on budget for deployment in the 2018 timeframe. The interceptor site here in Poland will be key to the EPAA. Not only will it protect Poland itself, but when combined with the rest of the EPAA assets, Phase III will be able to protect all of NATO Europe against ballistic missile threats from the Middle East."

Rose praised Poland's leadership in NATO and its domestic defense modernization projects. He said that while many countries are reducing defense modernization, Poland is upgrading its Integrated Air and Missile Defense System. Rose said this project will give Poland greater national expertise to contribute to NATO's missile and air defense capabilities.

"We are proud of how much we have already achieved by working with our allies and partners to counter the threat from ballistic missiles, but admittedly, there is still much to do - and we are looking forward to achieving higher levels of BMD cooperation and effectiveness," Rose said.