Russian government claims that the United States’ ballistic missile defense presence in Europe is a threat to Mother Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent may be based, at least in part, on faulty Russian math, according to testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday by Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, Missile Defense Agency director. O’Reilly told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel that MDA has supported the State Department with technical analysis as US diplomats have engaged their Russian counterparts. “The nature of our work has typically been when the Russian government claims that we are building capability to upset the strategic balance, we’ve been able to analyze that and provide them data to show that we are not,” explained O’Reilly. MDA’s analysis has included finding “where the errors are in their estimates, such as missiles flying faster than anyone’s ever built, and so forth,” he noted. (See also Rose-colored Glasses) (O’Reilly’s written testimony)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.