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NATO's Failure to Launch

Author: Colonel Chad T. Manske, USAF, 2011-2012 Military Fellow, U.S. Air Force
May 16, 2012
National Interest


The ballistic-missile threat to NATO allies is real and seems to be growing. At the NATO Summit in Chicago this weekend, alliance member states are expected to advance ballistic-missile defense (BMD) goals established by the 2010 Lisbon Summit, including an agreement to deploy a missile-defense system providing protection of NATO's European territory. Despite this initial strategy, many hurdles remain for implementation.

According to NATO estimates, over thirty countries have operational ballistic missiles, and the list is growing. While there may not be an immediate threat or intent to attack, NATO worries over proliferation, and a mandate to protect populations remains the alliance's responsibility. In NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen's first-ever annual report, he stated that such a system "embodies transatlantic solidarity."

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