The Tenth RUSI Missile Defence Conference09:00, 28 - 29 May 2009
RUSI, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET
Link to map: multimap
About the event:
The Tenth RUSI Missile Defence Conference took place at a critical juncture for the future of international missile defence. Enormous technical progress has been achieved in recent years, and many defensive weapon systems are in production and development. Countries as different as Israel and Japan have embraced the need for Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), and concepts as varied as the Air Borne Laser and Aegis are being fielded or demonstrated. Yet, after eight years of strong support from a Republican Administration, a new political climate in the US may alter the picture.
To Europeans, the issue of most interest is the so-called ‘Third Site’ - the planned emplacement of a radar in the Czech Republic, and ten interceptor missiles in Poland. The US plan for bi-lateral agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, together with the support given to it by NATO at the Bucharest Summit in 2008, angered Russia and led to significant diplomatic concern across Europe.
Most of Europe has postponed the declaration of a definite policy on a missile defence system for Europe until the policies of the Obama Administration begin to cohere, although there is universal concern to stem the nuclear and missile ambitions of Iran, with missile defence as an element in that strategy. Together with the continuing and successful progress in NATO of the theatre integration project known as the Active Layered Theatre BMD system (ALTBMD), and the question of how to ‘fill the gaps’ that surround the Third Site’s coverage, these issues will all be prominent at the April 2009 NATO Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl.
Against this complex background, The RUSI Conference in May 2009 was well placed to discuss the future by bringing together the protagonists in an open forum to allow the issues to be aired and perhaps a future to be outlined. Both national and alliance viewpoints were discussed, weapon system developments were presented and the views of policy makers, independent observers and industry were contrasted.
Programme sessions included:
• Policy (US Missile Defense Agency, US Department of Defense, NATO)
• National Perspectives (Europe, UK Political Party positions)
• Issues for NATO (Outcome of the Strasbourg Summit, Russia, Integration)
• The European Site (Its Future, Alternatives)
• Independent & Academic Views
• Industry Developments & Views
• The Remaining Technical & Operational Challenges