NATO is assigned the task of providing overarching protection to the geographic territory and populations of NATO European territory against ballistic missile attacks. NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability is purely defensive. The threat to NATO member countries, posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, continues to increase and missile defence forms part of a broader response to counter it.
NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence is a continuous mission that combines peacetime Air Policing measures with those actions and capabilities necessary to destroy, nullify or reduce the effectiveness of air and missile threats during times of conflict.
The Alliance continues to expand its relationships and collective capabilities in the area of BMD in order to meet new challenges in response to increases in missile proliferation and external threats evident in today’s geo-political environment. In preparation of increased air and missile threats to the Alliance, NATO has expanded its defensive capabilities. As part of the US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), Turkey hosts a US BMD radar at Kürecik and Romania hosts an Aegis Ashore site at Deveselu Air Base, which after being declared operational on 12 May 2016 was transferred to the authority of Allied Air Command in August 2016 (read more here).
The Aegis Ashore site, Deveselu, Romania. Picture by NATO.
Additionally, in the context of the EPAA, Spain hosts four multi-mission BMD-capable Aegis ships at its naval base in Rota, Spain. These assets are national contributions, and are integral parts of the NATO BMD capability.
Several Allies currently offer further ground-based air and missile defence systems (such as Patriot or SAMP/T) or complementary ships as a force protection of other BMD assets. Other Allies are also developing or acquiring BMD-capable assets that could eventually be made available for NATO BMD. NATO is assigned the task of providing overarching protection to the geographic territory and populations of the 28 member nations against ballistic missile attacks. NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability is purely defensive.
The tactical responsibility for NATO BMD lies at NATO’s single command for air and space matters – the Allied Air Command, Ramstein, Germany. The standing mission of defending NATO population, territory and forces against Ballistic Missile threats is done by a 24 hour watch team – the Ballistic Missile Defence Operation Cell, comprising personnel from 11 member countries.
NATO missile defence is neither designed or directed against Russia and nor will it undermine Russia's strategic deterrence capabilities. It is intended to defend against potential threats emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
At NATO’s Warsaw summit in July 2016, NATO declared the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the NATO ballistic missile defence system and is working towards Full operational capability. Poland will be hosting another Aegis Ashore site at the Redzikowo military base (in the 2018 timeframe).
more about NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_49635.htm?selectedLocale=en
Or print the NATO BMD factsheet: