NATO Missile Shield: Much Promise, Much Work

Missile defense in Europe has great potential to bring the United States and its allies closer together, but a great deal of work lies ahead, said Gen. Mark Welsh, US Air Forces in Europe commander, Thursday. That’s especially true in the areas of command and control and data sharing, he said in remarks at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Fla. Development of the phased adaptive missile defense system for Europe, a capability NATO has endorsed, is already under way. The key to its success will be fostering a cadre from within US and allied ranks that understands how to put together the pieces of the command and control and how to perform the intercepts, he said. While data sharing between multiple nations is going to be “painstaking work,” it must be done if the concept is to have any success, said Welsh. The partner nations must also address the impact that national restrictions on the use of some members’ forces could have, he said. Eventually, the European theater will have to marry up its air defense and missile defense efforts in a joint architecture, he added.