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Adm. Winnefeld's Remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

By Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr.

All right and good morning, and thank you so much Dr. Hamre for that very kind introduction, and for your friendship, and for the invitation to speak today.

It’s great to be here at CSIS to provide an update on where our thinking is, where my thinking is and where our progress is on missile defense including national ballistic missile defense, regional ballistic missile defense, and I’m going add a little bit about cruise missile defense. 

I know for the most part this is a technically savvy audience that’s knowledgeable on this topic especially the midshipmen sitting on over to my right which I’m very happy to see here.

I also suspect there are a few old friends of mine here, I see Keith Englander, who’s been extremely helpful to me and my journey of understanding this process and Richard Fieldhouse, an old friend and former Senate staffer who’s been very supportive of the program all along as well. So those of you mixed in, it’s good to see you here.

I’d like to start in a little bit of an abstract way by putting out two thoughts as a baseline for my discussion today.

The first abstract piece is we recognize two basic pillars of defense—or deterrence, excuse me—namely denying an adversary’s objectives and imposing costs on that adversary for its aggressive costs. Missile defense is clearly in the realm of the former: denying an adversary’s objectives.

We want potential adversaries to know that not only is there a price for attacking us or our friends . . . but the attack may not succeed in the first place, resulting in pain, but no gain.

The second baseline thought is that we believe any sensible nation has to prioritize its investments in defense along some kind of strategic framework. 

If we don’t do this in a sensible way, we’ll end up with a cacophony of demands in an era of declining means. And we all know where the means being dedicated to defense have been recently been going inside our own country. And this has implications for our missile defense investments.

The operative word here is prioritize, which is something this town hates to do, because it means there are winners and losers.

Some suggest that this framework should be around prioritizing regions.  I say that serious threats come from nearly every region around the globe, so that doesn’t work for us so well.

Others suggest that this framework be around simply prioritizing capabilities.  But I would argue yes, you need to do that, but they don’t arrange themselves, they don’t prioritize themselves. Capabilities are ways, and we can’t prioritize them before we prioritize our ends.

So, the Chairman and I, and an increasing number of people inside the Defense Department, believe our investments must be prioritized along the lines of what it is we’re being asked to protect. 

Some of you have heard me speak of this before. Some things are more important than others.

Call them whatever you want. The Chairman and I call them national security interests.

We try to look inside each one and the threats to that interest and whether we have those threats properly mitigated. 

It stands to reason that we need to ensure we take care of the highest ranked interests first.  Compromise in an era of decreasing means, which I mentioned a moment ago, will have to come in the area of lower-ranked interests.

And of course missile defense falls into various levels along that spectrum of interest.

At the top of our list of national security interests, as it is for any nation, is the survival of our nation. And at the top of the list of threats to that interest is, of course, a massive nuclear attack from Russia or some other high end adversary—potential adversary—like China. 

This is about existential attacks, attacks that are extremely hard to defend against, and because we prefer to use the deterrent of missile defense in situations where it has the highest probability of being most effective, we’ve stated missile defense against these high-end threats is too hard and too expensive and too strategically destabilizing to even try. 

So even though our Russian interlocutors refuse to believe us on this, it has the very great virtue of actually being true. 

So we’ll use the cost imposition piece to deter Russia by keeping all three legs of our nuclear deterrent strong and our nuclear command and control system robust.

But we do have other interests in the world.

What we call “limited missile defense” falls squarely  within the next security interest in line, the way the chairman and I look at it, namely our determination to prevent catastrophic attacks on our nation.

The number of nations trying to achieve that capability is growing, not shrinking, with our most immediate concern, of course, being North Korea, because they’re closest in terms of capability, followed by Iran.

A robust and capable national missile defense is our best bet to defend the United States from such an attack. 

And that’s why the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, is going to remain our first priority in missile defense.

In a shrinking defense budget, this system will be accorded the highest priority within the missile defense share of our pie.

Further down the line are other global national security interests including, very importantly, support for our allies and partners around the world, as well as protecting American citizens around the world, including our own troops, wherever they may be present. 

Thus, we also place a good bit of emphasis on regional missile defense, closely cooperating with a number of key partners in this area, and I’ll talk about them a little bit later.

But in a world of declining budgets, it’s likely we’ll come to rely more on those partners to resource their own missile defense systems. 

And I wanted to get that out, because it is important context for where we will and will not do missile defense, and how we will prioritize our investments where we will do missile defense.

Now, let me spend a little bit more time talking more about each of these two interest-based priorities, defense of the homeland and regional defense.

Regarding the homeland, we have to take the Iranian and North Korean threats seriously, even though neither nation has a mature ICBM capability, and both nations know, full well, they would face an overwhelming U.S. response to any attack.

While we would obviously prefer to take a threat missile out while it’s still on the ground, what we would call left-of-launch, we won’t always have the luxury of doing so. 

And because it’s our policy to stay ahead of the threat, we don’t want there to be any doubt about our commitment to having a solid right-of-launch capability.

So it boils down to how many missiles we can knock down versus how many the threat can launch. 

And that is much more than just a function of how many interceptors we have in the ground. 

It’s also a function of how the whole system works.

We in the military often say “quantity has a quality all of its own.” 

Well, in the missile defense world, quality has a quantity all its own, and the leverage can be enormous.

If, for example, because of system improvements, we only have to shoot half the number of interceptors per incoming warhead that we see, then we can handle twice the number of inbound warheads. 

That’s why we’re taking a lot of time and effort to improve the capability and reliability of our entire system.   

The Missile Defense Agency, led by Jim Syring, has done a terrific job of this.  It’s not easy to hit-to-kill at the kinds of closure speeds that we’re talking about.  But we’ve done it.

And it’s hard to make advancements in such a program when it’s so expensive to test the things you change in response to the things you might find wrong. 

I give MDA great credit for understanding that and understanding when you find a problem, you don’t stop at the first thing you see, you wring out the entire system. 

You don’t stop at the first possible fix to what you find wrong, and MDA has done exactly that.  They’ve taken their time, and they’ve done it right. Sometimes people like me get frustrated because we want to go faster, but MDA has done a fantastic job of taking a very deliberate and thorough engineering approach to these kinds of problems and they’ve done terrifically.

In January 2013, they launched an improved CE II interceptor, not against an actual target, but simply to put it through its paces to ensure that they had solved the problem that we saw with a previous shot. 

And it performed magnificently.  

And then they sent it up against a real target about a year ago, and again it performed magnificently. I was in the room watching it, and you can imagine what it felt like to see that thing have an extremely successful intercept.

It was a very good shot in the arm for that program. 

And based on the success of that shot, we were able to resume production of eight planned GBIs in the new and proven configuration.  

That success also kept us on track to increase the GBI inventory by 14, increasing the total from 30 to 44; with 40 in Alaska and four in Vandenberg. 

And we currently have 8 CE-IIs emplaced, of which 4 have the improved design, and we have a lot of confidence in those missiles.

We’re going to keep right on improving those missiles as well and testing those improvements because we fly before we buy.

The next flight of the GMD system will take place later this year. 

It’s going to be another non-intercept test of a CE-II GBI, because we want to keep costs under control. We’re going to demonstrate the performance of alternate divert thruster in a flight environment and we’re going to test end-to-end discrimination of a complex target scene through the GMD fire control loop. 

At the end of calendar year 2016 we plan to conduct the first intercept test for the CE-II Block 1 GBI, the real deal, which incorporates obsolescence changes and a new booster avionics package.

That’s going to be our first intercept of a true ICBM range target. 

Should that intercept be successful, the plan is to deliver 10 CE-II Block 1 GBIs over the next year to achieve our goal of 44 GBIs by the end of 2017.

We’re also making great progress with all three vendors on the redesigned kill vehicle, which we expect to flight test in 2018.

But improving the whole system, again, is not just about our interceptors. 

We have to take a holistic view and invest our limited resources as wisely as we possibly can. 

In this light, there has been much talk about installing an east coast missile field. Our environmental impact statement should be complete in the middle of next year.

However, the only reason to make that investment would be to provide the capability to shoot-assess and then shoot again, and we can only do that if we have the sensors we need in order to be able to do so.

So we need to put our ability to see targets at the head of the line, and therefor there has been no decision yet by the Department to move forward with an additional CONUS interceptor site, though we very well could do that.

Meanwhile, our current sites, Vandenberg and Fort Greely in Alaska, protect the U.S. homeland, from existing and the projected ICBM threat from North Korea, and Iran, should the, either of them really emerge. 

Even though an additional CONUS interceptor site would add battle space and interceptor capability and capacity, a decision to construct the new site would come at significant material development and service sustainment cost. So we need to be careful.

So while that site could eventually be necessary, as I said, in the near-term, upgrading the kill vehicle on the GBI, improving our ability to discriminate, and enhancing the homeland defense sensor network are higher priorities, for us, and improving our protection against limited ICBM attack.

And we have a lot going on in this area. 

Working with our very close Japanese partners, we completed the deployment of the TPY-2 radar in Kyoga-misaki in southern Japan to complement the radar currently operating in Shariki in northern Japan. 

And we’re grateful to Japan for their close cooperation in this area, it’s gone very well.

This radar and the new C2BMC capability will enhance the overall performance of both radars when operating in a mutually supportive radar mode. 

We made a Technical Capability Declaration for the Kyoga-misaki radar this past December.  That will potentially relieve the need for us to put AEGIS ships underway for tracking purposes in the Sea of Japan, and east of Japan. And that’s important because it frees up those assets for other missions.

We’re also continuing to operate the SBX as needed in the Pacific to provide discrimination capabilities for both CONUS and Hawaii defense.

And we’re planning to deploy anew long range discriminating radar for the Pacific by the 2020 timeframe.  

Finally, we’re continuing to pursue greater use of space, UAV based technologies, and increased integration of existing sensor capabilities across the C2BM System to significantly enhance our missile defense discrimination capabilities in the future.

Now, I don’t want to overlook cruise missile defense, particularly as it regards the homeland. 

You might ask, if we choose to not invest the enormous resources that would be required to defend against a massive Russian ICBM attack coming over the North Pole, then why on earth would we care about cruise missile defense in the homeland? 

Well, the element of surprise is nearly impossible with an ICBM attack, and we will always have time to react. 

We can’t necessarily say the same for a cruise missile attack, which could be intended to take away our ability to decide in response to an ICBM attack. 

And that’s a key point, and it’s why homeland cruise missile defense is shifting above regional ballistic missile defense, in my mind, as far as importance goes, since defending our national leadership and our ability to decide through our command and control capability is part of the “impose costs” leg of deterrence.

This has implications for budget and for stationing of our missile defense assets. 

We’re devoting a good deal of attention to ensuring we’re properly configured against such an attack in the homeland, and we need to continue to do so. 

This includes the JLENS test we are currently conducting at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, in case you happen to have seen that dirigible hovering over Maryland, as well as other systems we are putting in place to greatly enhance our early warning around the National Capital Region. 

We’re also looking at the changing out of the kinds of systems that we would use to knock down any cruise missiles headed towards our nation’s capital. 

We’re going to have to eventually extend this to the areas around our nation that we believe are most the most important to protect. This is a big country and we probably couldn’t protect the entire place from cruise missile attack unless we want to break the bank, but there are important areas in this country we need to make sure are defended from that kind of attack.

Now turning to regional ballistic missile defense, there has been a massive proliferation in recent years of regional ballistic missile threats, including an increase of more than 1,200 missiles over the past five years. 

In fact, there are almost 6,000 known ballistic missiles in the world, and that’s not counting Russia and China.

Within this proliferation, we see a number of technical advancements including advanced liquid- and solid-propellant propulsion technologies, and missiles that are becoming are becoming more mobile, more reliable, more accurate, and capable of striking targets over longer ranges. 

Some can even target ships at sea.

Many have shorter launch-preparation times and smaller footprints that are making them much more survivable on the ground.

Technical and operational measures to defeat missile defenses are also increasing.

For example, several nations exercise near simultaneous salvo firings of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles from multiple locations, in an attempt to saturate regional ballistic missile defenses.

Against this, not only have we brought our own missile defense capability to bear, in which we have deployed some kind of missile defense system in 10 different countries around the globe, we now have 33 AEGIS ships capable of doing the missile defense mission themselves – a number of which are on station at any given moment.

We’re encouraging our allies and partners to acquire their own missile defenses, as I mentioned earlier, and to strengthen regional missile defense cooperation that will result in better performance than individual countries acting on their own.

But I have to tell you; this integration of capabilities is quite a challenge.

Our Combatant Commanders have found that we need to continually be mindful of interoperability among the various sensors, shooters, and platforms deployed by the United States. 

Adding the systems and forces of our friends and allies adds a whole new level of technical and tactical challenges, which we’re successfully addressing.

Before combined employment of missile defense systems can be brought to bear in any region, diplomats and warriors have a great deal of work to do, together.

Regional architectures are not built in a single day. 

Painstaking establishment of bi- and multi-lateral agreements forged through cooperation and communication will pave the way to more effective regional ballistic missile defenses. 

It sends a clear message of deterrence to any would-be aggressor and offers assurance to our most important allies.

In this vein, the United States is literally working across the globe with our partners in bolstering missile defense against regional threats.

Let me give you a few examples.

In the Middle East, the United States is working with a number of our Gulf Cooperation Council partners on missile defense, including supporting purchases through Foreign Military Sales. 

In the Joint Statement coming out of his recent meeting with our GCC partners at Camp David, President Obama said, quote:

“The United States policy to use all elements of power to secure our core interests in the Gulf region, and to deter and confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War, is unequivocal.”

Unquote, this includes missile defense.

MDA is currently executing an FMS case with the United Arab Emirates for two THAAD batteries and accompanying launchers, radars, and interceptors. 

This calendar year, we’ll deliver the first THAAD battery to our UAE partners and begin New Equipment Training.

Kuwait is also purchasing Patriot PAC-3 batteries.

And Saudi Arabia is in the process of upgrading its existing Patriot PAC-2 batteries to the PAC-3 configuration.

The United States also maintains a very strong defense relationship with Israel, and our cooperation on missile defense has resulted in a comprehensive missile defense architecture. 

Israeli programs, the U.S. has supported, such as Iron Dome, the David’s Sling Weapon System, and the Arrow Weapon System created a multi-layered architecture designed to protect the Israeli people from varying types of missile threats.

Results for David’s Sling have actually been very successful to date.

In Europe, United States continues its full engagement with NATO to develop a viable missile defense strategy, building on its commitment to the European Phased Adaptive Approach, or EPAA, while also encouraging greater burden-sharing by NATO and non-NATO nations in the region.

MDA is on schedule to deliver Phase 2 of the EPAA by the end of this year.

Phase 2 will include deployment of Aegis Ashore to Romania with capability to launch both SM-3 Block IA and IB variants and upgraded versions of the Aegis BMD weapon system. 

The required military construction, installation, integration and testing activities will be complete for technical capability declaration in 2015.  

We expect to hand Aegis Ashore over to the Navy in August for testing.

But just last year, we had a very successful test shot in Hawaii that demonstrated the functionality of the shore based Aegis Weapon System by verifying its ability to launch, control, establish uplink and downlink communication, provide guidance command, and provide target information to a SM-3 Block IB guided missile. 

And in an important next step, we should be conducting our first non-intercept test of the SM-3 Block II A missile in the next couple of weeks.

We’ll have another test in November, and then two intercept tests of that very important missile next year which is vital to Phase 2 of the EPAA.

Currently, three of our four BMD-capable ships, USS DONALD COOK, the USS ROSS, and the USS PORTER are stationed at Rota, Spain.  

And the final ship to be permanently stationed in the Mediterranean to perform a BMD missions, USS CARNEY, will arrive later this year. We are living up to our commitments.

This program is on track, and our NATO Allies are also making significant contributions to the European missile defense mission through their purchase and deployment of BMD-capable systems and deployment in support of NATO missions.

And let me be clear once more, it is not the policy of the United States to build a ballistic missile defense system to counter Russian ballistic missiles including in Europe.

The Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania are designed to counter long-range ballistic missiles that may be launched from other nations, outside of the Euro-Atlantic area, against our European NATO partners. 

So let’s lay that to rest, one more time.

The most helpful thing that a Russia or a China for that matter—can do is to persuade North Korea and Iran to drop their ballistic missile programs. 

Unfortunately, we don’t see that happening any time soon.

An finally, in the Asia-Pacific, we have a strong missile defense posture in the region, for both homeland and regional defense.

The cornerstone of our security and diplomacy has been our strong bilateral alliances with South Korea, Japan, and Australia. 

Going forward, we’ll continue to emphasize the importance of developing regional ballistic missile defense systems.

This is a very politically sensitive topic for several of our regional allies, but progress in this area would only increase our confidence in the face of persistent North Korean provocations. 

During 2013’s provocation cycle, it appeared that North Korea might conduct a test of a regional ballistic missile capability that could potentially reach U.S. soil in Guam. 

In response, as many of you are aware, the U.S. Army did a magnificent job deploying THAAD to that island.  

There it remains, readily deployable if necessary to somewhere else in the world if needed, but in the meantime defending U.S. soil from potential threats. 

And just a few weeks ago, we saw Pyongyang raving about a test of its submarine launched ballistic missile capability. 

Fortunately, they have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spin-meisters would have us believe.

They’re many years away from developing this capability. 

But if they’re eventually able to do so, it will present a hard-to-detect danger for Japan and South Korea as well as our service members stationed in the region. 

This only reinforces the importance of region ballistic missile defense.

With the unpredictability of the North Korean regime, we may have to periodically reassess our posture within the region. 

I know many of you are brimming over with curiosity over the potential for THAAD in the Republic of Korea.

Of course we’re interested in the potential for using this system to augment the defense of this important ally, including our own troops who are there to help defend the ROK from attack from the north.

It’s a good system that would not pose a threat to any other nation in the region.

But I want to make it clear that we have not yet engaged in formal negotiations or discussions with the ROK government about this possibility.

As always, we’re respectful of our host nation’s concerns and it goes without saying that the ROK will have to want to have this system in place or we simply won’t put it there.

While we’re on the topic of regional defense, I’d like to make the point that we need to keep our eyes on the cost curves associated with that problem. 

Chairman Dempsey really hit home on this topic a little more than a year ago, when he released his “Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Vision for 2020.”

The simple fact is that a THAAD, which costs around $11M, could find itself being launched against a Scud that costs only $3M.  And that’s only if we only launch one THAAD against that threat.

This cost curve is working against us, and there are four things we need to consider doing about it. 

First, we can keep the pressure on how much our own interceptors cost. 

It would be helpful in this regard to be able to buy them in increasing economic quantities, but it’s tough to do under increased budget pressure that we’re feeling. 

Second, we can continue our emphasis on developing the technologies required to hit ballistic missiles and their launchers left of launch. 

We’re optimistic about a number of initiatives in this area; we’re putting a lot of work into it, but we have a long way to go. 

Third, we can expend R&D effort to find a more cost effective way of knocking down missiles that are in flight by essentially inverting the cost curve in the other direction. 

In this regard I’d mention the rail gun project and possibly directed energy. We’re very serious about pursuing those as options and they very well may bear fruit.

And finally, there is no shame in passive defense, such as denial, deception, mobility and hardening.  Our potential adversaries do these things, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t as well, and we are.

Finally, I’d like to address a couple of misconceptions that are out there regarding ballistic missile defense.

First, and most obvious, is the claim that our missile defense systems won’t work, that we can't “hit-to-kill.”

Well, as I mentioned, FTG-06b was a real statement in this regard about a year ago, and we continue to make improvements.  Overall, the ground-based missile defense system is 4 for 7, and there’s nothing like having your most recent shot a success.

And we have an excellent track record with our regional systems.  To date, for our operationally configured interceptors, not development prototypes, THAAD is 11 for 11; Aegis BMD is 21 for 25; and the Patriot PAC-3 is 21 for 25. 

That’s not bad, but we’re determined to make it even better.

The second misconception I want to address is that it's easy for an adversary to employ ballistic missile defense countermeasures. 

To be sure, we will continue to do everything we can in order to improve our discrimination capability, but as hard as that job is, so is the challenge of deploying and employing effective countermeasures. 

If the enemy is confronting a layered defense system, whatever countermeasures work in midcourse might not work in terminal, or their terminal countermeasures may be destroyed in midcourse. 

Test is critical to the success of any complex weapons system, and when it comes to missile defense countermeasures, our adversaries don't do very much of that, which means they can't know how they perform. 

We’ve had our own extensive countermeasures program, and we learned how difficult it is to get that right. 

Countermeasures take up payload space and have weight considerations, so there’s also tradeoffs there. 

So the bottom line is that may not be as easy as it might look on paper. 

And last misconception is the narrative that missile defense needs to be 100-percent effective in order to be successful, especially when nuclear weapons are involved.

That is a simplistic argument.   No system can achieve perfection even though we always strive for it.  It would be hubris to believe otherwise.

So if deterrence does fail, we don’t necessarily expect to stop every single missile – though, to be sure, we will try. 

Rather, the effective systems we have and are developing are intended to deter an adversary by injecting considerable doubt into his mind regarding the effectiveness of his attack versus our likely imposed-cost response.  In other words, again, pain but no gain.

The enemy knows there will be a significant price to pay with a missile launch against the United States. 

The worst of all worlds for the enemy is that his attack is not only not effective, but it invokes a nasty response from its victim.  Again, like I said, the two pillars of deterrence.

So I believe our missile defense enterprise is on an upward trajectory, if you’ll pardon the quip, very healthy at the regional level though on a tough cost curve and rapidly coming back into health for defense of the homeland. 

I give great credit for all of this to VADM Jim Syring and his able staff, including Keith, and his predecessors. 

Shooting a bullet with a bullet is not an easy technical problem to solve. It’s even harder when you’re under time pressure, still harder when the assets are expensive and difficult to test, and it’s even harder in a turbulent political environment and budget uncertainty.

But we continue to make progress: 

• Progress with our international partners.  

• Progress in developing, testing, and fielding national and regional ballistic missile defense systems that are flexible, survivable, and affordable. 

• And progress in investing in promising technology to ensure future systems will be capable of defeating the complex threats we expect to face in the future.

As we all know, the advantage in warfare shifts like a pendulum between offense and defense over time. In our limited way, we are trying to shift that pendulum in favor of the defense as far as ballistic missile threat goes.

As such, innovation is the leadership opportunity for this generation of missile defense practitioners—which is why I believe CSIS’s effort to keep this topic alive is so very important.


Thank you all for your interest in missile defense.  I hope this has been useful for you. And I hope you come away convinced even more of our commitment to this important contribution to our security, and our allies’ security, and that we will continue to make progress.

Thank you very much, and Tom, I think we can take a couple of questions. And after you do a little bit of moderation, we’ll make a deal that the first question goes to a midshipman.

All right, fair enough. Thank you.


ADMIRAL JAMES A. “SANDY” WINNEFELD, JR.:  If there’s a question I can’t answer, I’m giving it to Keith Englander, so.

THOMAS KARAKO:  Well, I think you really covered the landscape there – deterrence, defense, the offense-defense mix, everything – so why don’t I just ask one quick one.  How do you see this missile defense, kinetic and non-kinetic, in terms of its priority in the third offset, in the electronic warfare that Deputy Secretary Work has talked so much about?

ADM. WINNEFELD:  We’re doing a number of things in the third offset.  And just for background for members of the audience who might not understand it, the secretary of defense has an innovation initiative that not only includes the department becoming more efficient, trying to get 20th century work – 21st century workforce in here, but also technical and conceptual advances that will give us a leap ahead, with the first technical offset potentially being nuclear weapons that would stop a Russian invasion of Western Europe, the second one being precision-guided weapons where you go from sorties per target to targets per sortie. 

And now third one is out there, which may not be some magic bullet or, you know, interesting single technology, but it will probably be a combination of technologies.  And among those, we’ve been looking at what it would take to get another offset in the field of ballistic missile defense.  And that’s where this cost curve comes in.  We’re doing such a good job with the problem the way we’re handling it now, but we do have to keep the cost curve in mind where we just can’t continue to buy very expensive interceptors to knock down, you know, an increasing proliferation of less expensive missiles.

So that’s where directed energy comes in.  It’s where the railgun comes in.  We’re very, very interested in exploring that, and I think that the – ACDP we call it, Advanced Capability and Deterrence Panel, will give those efforts a shot in the arm.  And I know that MDA is working that very hard with the Navy as well.

MR. KARAKO:  All right.  We’ll go ahead and take one over here, if –

Q:  Yes, sir.  I’m Midshipman –

MR. KARAKO:  Actually, go ahead and get the microphone real quick and – awesome, there you go.

Q:  Well, thank you, sir, for coming today and speaking on this.  My name’s Midshipman 3rd Class David Larkin.

 And my question is in the context of Poland and the cancellation of the European interceptor site under President Bush, and then also the cancellation of Phase 4 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach.  Both decisions to cancel the programs were made based on strategic objective and –strategic objectives and new information about North Korea and Iran.  However, both of these decisions irritated our regional partners.  So my question is, how do our regional partners’ interests play into missile defense decisions?

ADM. WINNEFELD:  Sure.  Well, good heavens, our regional partners are vital to missile defense – regional ballistic missile defense systems.  We very, very closely consult with them on any type of offering that we make or cooperative effort that we do together.  We couldn’t do this without them, and if they weren’t there we wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.  So absolutely we consult with them.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that our regional partners were irritated about the shift.  I think it – because they had to do so much work politically to get agreement to do this in the first place – any nation has to do that – that it was inconvenient for them for us to shift the way we were going to do it.  But I think it was very clear to them right away that we weren’t shifting our commitment to ballistic missile defense of Western Europe.  We just realized there was a much better way to do it, and we are actually bringing that better way to fruition today.

And I would – I would vouch that we consult very closely with members in the three regions – Europe, the Middle East and Asia – on every aspect of ballistic missile defense, and that’s been a very fruitful process.  Japan and South Korea have been very good partners in this regard.  Our GCC partners have been exceptionally interested in this, and – with some of the foreign military sales we’re going to do.  And it goes without say we’ve had a very robust discussion within NATO.  So I think it’s a good-news story how we consult with our partners in the regions of the world.

It’s a good question.  Are you a new 3rd class or an upcoming 2nd class?

Q:  Upcoming 2nd class.

ADM. WINNEFELD:  All right.  Congratulations.  Good on you.  Have a great cruise.

MR. KARAKO:  All right, I think we’ve got one right here in the back.

Q:  Thank you very much.  I’m Josh Rogin with Bloomberg View.  Thank you for your time today and thank you for your service.

I want to ask you about the INF Treaty.  The administration has acknowledged that it believes Russia is in violation of the INF Treaty and is considering responses.  I’m wondering if you could help us understand, what options do we have to respond to that violation?  If we were to increase capabilities for U.S. and NATO partners in Europe, what might that look like?  And is that your personal recommendation to the president?  Thank you.

ADM. WINNEFELD:  Well, the first thing I would say is, because it’s under consideration, I can’t say very much about it.  And that’s only fair to the president, to not try to remove any of his decision space in what’s a very, very important topic.  It’s something that Congress is interested in.  Obviously we’re very interested in it.

I think the first solution to this problem is for Russia to stop doing this.  That’s the most important thing.  And our diplomats are working very hard.  Secretary Kerry has spoken very recently, in fact, to Russian leadership about this.  And that’s the way out of this problem.

If it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, then there, of course, are options that I would place in two general categories – one is defensive and the other is offensive – that would indicate to, first of all, Russia that this is not going to do them any good.  This gets into the deny objectives and impose costs pieces of deterrence, and would go a long way towards reassuring our partners that we’re very serious about wanting to keep Russia’s adherence to the treaties that they – that we all signed so long ago.

MR. KARAKO:  All right, I think we’ve got one more right here in the front.  I know you’ve got to run to another –


Q:  Hi, Admiral.  John Hudson with Foreign Policy magazine.

The Russians have obviously continued to make the point, and you’ve tried to put to rest that a European missile is not about threatening Russia.  In light of the emerging Iran nuclear deal, Russia has argued that a defense shield is no longer necessary.  And they’ve also, according to U.S. officials, been extremely helpful during the P5+1 talks.  Does Russia have a valid point in bringing this up, in light of an emerging P5+1 deal?

ADM. WINNEFELD:  So the – I think everybody heard the question.  First of all, if you look at the capacity of the system that we’re installing in Europe, this is – this is the analog of the fact that our national ballistic missile defense system is not aligned toward Russia.  We just don’t have the capacity.  It would be – with a – with – a large, you know, reasonably powerful country like Russia could overwhelm that missile defense system fairly quickly.  So it’s just not about them.  So they shouldn’t worry about this.  They should actually be encouraged that we are helping our allies there potentially defend against an Iranian or other threat emerging from the region.

And as regards the P5+1, this agreement isn’t concluded yet.  And once concluded, it – you know, we still have to make sure that Iran sticks to it.  And a ballistic missile defense system isn’t something that you turn on overnight.  And in fact, it would probably take as long or longer to reestablish a ballistic missile defense system if Iran decided to break out and build a nuclear weapon.  And the discussion that the P5+1 is having doesn’t address ballistic missile threat at all.  So I think there’s every reason for us to continue what we’re doing in Western Europe with our NATO allies.  It doesn’t threaten Russia, and it does maintain a hedge against an Iranian or other threat in the nation – in the region or outside the region that could threaten our partners.  And it’s really, to me, a no-brainer to keep this program going.

MR. KARAKO:  We have a real quick question before you go.  Right here, Chun, yeah.  Real quick.

Q:  Well, thank you, Admiral.  Chun Yungwoo from the East Asia Institute, Korea-based think tank.

Two short questions.  One is, what would be the effective defense mechanism for SLBM if North Korean threat is realized in a couple of years?  And if formal consultation between two countries actually begin, what would the goal of the negotiation?  Is it purchasing from Korea or partner sharing or you just want Korea let U.S. deploy THAAD to the USFK?  Thank you.

ADM. WINNEFELD:  I’m not sure I understood the first question.

MR. KARAKO:  The SLBM, what would the possible responses to be that?

ADM. WINNEFELD:  Yeah, OK.  Well, the SLBM threat – this is the potential North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile.  There are any number of ways you can go after an SLBM threat, including taking out the submarine that is carrying it.  And it goes without saying that if – I mean, you can put together a hypothetical scenario, any of you could do this – if tensions are high with North Korea and a submarine gets underway and it appears as though it might actually have some sort of hostile intent, then it would be in everybody’s interest that that not be allowed to happen.

If the missile actually is successfully launched, we won’t – you know, one of the things the North Koreans is they don’t test their missiles.  So they can’t have very great confidence in something like that.  And if it – again, if it launches and it doesn’t work, boy, they’re in such trouble, because we will have seen their intent.  But if it were launched, then theoretically we would have our regional ballistic missile defenses aligned to be able to defend against that threat – whether it be against Japan or South Korea.

And in terms of a future – I don’t want to speculate on what the configuration would be of a – of a more robust ballistic missile defense system inside South Korea.  Obviously it’s in our interest that our partner nations contribute to defending their own soil from this kind of an attack.  But we’re also interested in potentially helping with that, particularly since we have so many troops on the ground in South Korea. 

So I’ll leave it to the diplomats and the negotiators and that like, but I just want to emphasize one more time we have not opened up any kind of a discussion formally with South Korea on this particular topic.  When it’s ripe, I’m sure that we’ll get into that.  But we’re approaching this very cautiously because we have such great respect for our partners.

MR. KARAKO:  Well, thank you, Admiral.  This has been a whole waterfront – offense, defense, homeland, regional, cruise missile.  Thank you for your time.

I know you’ve got to run, but I also just want to briefly say that this is an ongoing project of the International Security Program here at CSIS.  We’ll see more of this stuff.  And I want to thank our program sponsor, the Boeing Company, for putting this event on today.  So thank you.  Please join me in thanking Admiral Winnefeld.

ADM. WINNEFELD:  Thank you for hosting it.  (Applause.)