Russia, U.S. Should Resume Joint Missile Defense Exercises – Analysts

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Joint use of the information component in missile defense would enable the U.S. and Russia to make coordinated decisions preventing crises in the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, in the view of a number of Russian analysts taking part in a conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe taking place in Washington on September 20-21.

“In addressing complicated missile defense issues, it would make sense to take into account and revive a positive record of cooperation in this area that the two countries had gained prior to 2008,” International Luxembourg Forum President Viatcheslav Kantor said. Russia and the U.S. should resume joint missile defense exercises and take steps to integrate their information systems, he said.

Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN), shares this view. “Russia and the U.S. could reach an agreement on a common missile defense information and intelligence component,” he said.

The validity of a memorandum for setting up a data exchange center that Russia and the U.S. signed in 2000 has expired and has not been extended, he said.

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, who earlier headed the Russian Defense Ministry’s 4th Research Institute, also said at the same forum that Russia, the U.S., and European countries could use their information systems, which would significantly increase their efficiency.

“The main result of this cooperation would be that we have finally established allied relations that would enable us to make more coordinated decisions on opposing crises in the nuclear proliferation regime, like the Iran and North Korea ones,” he said.

Russian-U.S. cooperation on missile defense would help the two countries “end the state of mutual nuclear deterrence, which is among the factors preventing us from becoming full-scale partners and even allies,” Dvorkin said.

Russia and NATO have conducted four joint theater missile defense command-post exercises. They took place at the Joint National Integration Center in the U.S. in 2004, at De Peel air base in the Netherlands in 2005, at the Russian Defense Ministry’s research center in Moscow in 2006, and at the IABG Center for Simulation, Integration, and Testing in Germany in January 2008.