U.S. missile plan spreads defense throughout Mideast


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration’s new missile defense plan means batteries located in Israel could be relocated to other nations in the region depending on the threat, a top U.S. official said.

The new missile defense plan addresses a supply-demand imbalance by spreading U.S. defense capabilities throughout regions, Frank Rose, a deputy assistant secretary of state, said in an address May 5 to the Israel Multinational Ballistic Defense Conference. His remarks were made available Tuesday.

Rose outlined Israeli-U.S. missile defense collaboration during the address.

"The growing proliferation of missile threats, especially those with ranges of less than 1,000 kilometers, mean that regional demand for U.S. ballistic missile defense assets is likely to exceed supply for some years to come," Rose said. "This places a premium on developing flexible, adaptable and relocatable defense capabilities, and in encouraging the development of missile defense capabilities by our regional partners."

It was unclear what "region" Israel was placed in under this plan, but Rose spoke of deploying U.S. missile defense capabilities to NATO partners and to the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as to Israel.

Rose also outlined the threats Israel faces from Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, and he listed the collaborative Israel-U.S. projects on short-, mid- and long-range missile defense programs.

"All of these activities provide numerous benefits to Israeli security," he said. "They are built on a strong foundation of partnership that enables Israel and the United States to meet emerging security challenges, to focus on real threats, and to rely on proven system and technical solutions to those threats. Regional deterrence will be improved as missile-armed adversaries will find it difficult to threaten and coerce their neighbors in the Middle East and beyond."

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