The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 23, 2007

Fact Sheet: Defending America and Its Allies Against Ballistic Missile Attack
President Bush Explains Need For Missile Defense System In Europe, Discusses Progress Defending America From Attack

     Fact sheet In Focus: Defense

Today, President Bush addressed the National Defense University to give an update on the progress of efforts to defend America from ballistic missile attack, including the need for a missile defense system in Europe.  The greatest threat facing our Nation in the 21st Century is the danger of terrorist networks or terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction.  One of the most important defensive measures we have taken is the deployment of new capabilities to defend America from ballistic missile attack.


We Must Deploy A Missile Defense System To Defend Europe

Iran is pursuing the technology that could be used to produce nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of increasing range that could deliver them.  Last November, Iran conducted military exercises in which it launched ballistic missiles capable of striking Israel and Turkey, as well as American troops based in the Persian Gulf. 

We must deploy a missile defense system to defend Europe against the emerging Iranian threat.  This system will be limited in scope – a system made up of ten ground-based interceptors located in Poland, and an X-Band tracking radar located in the Czech Republic.  Such a system would have the capacity to defend countries in Europe that would be at risk from long-range attack from the Middle East.  We are also working with NATO on developing defenses against short- and medium-range attacks from the Middle East.

To Keep Our Nation Safe, Congress Needs To Fully Fund Missile Defense Programs

We are investing in the next generation of missile defenses, which defend our citizens and strengthen our deterrence.  Missile defense strengthens our counter-proliferation efforts by reducing incentives to build ballistic missiles and helping dissuade nations from developing nuclear weapons.

The Effort To Develop Ballistic Missile Defense Is Part Of A Broader Effort To Move Beyond The Cold War And Establish A New Deterrence Framework For The 21st Century

Today, our adversaries are terrorist states and terrorist networks who might not be deterred by our nuclear forces, so we need a new approach.  This approach combines deep reductions in offensive nuclear forces with new advanced conventional capabilities, and defenses to protect free people from nuclear blackmail or attack.

As we reduce our nuclear arsenal, we are investing in advanced conventional capabilities.  These include new unmanned aerial combat vehicles, and next generation long-range precision weapons that allow us to strike our enemies quickly, at great distances, without using nuclear weapons. 

The Administration Is Delivering On Its Pledge To Defend America From The Threat Of Ballistic Missile Attack.

  1. The President withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.  This 30-year-old agreement was designed for a Soviet Union threat that no longer existed in 2002, and was constraining our efforts to develop and deploy missile defense.  While Russia did not agree with our withdrawal, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the decision "does not pose a threat to Russia," and announced his country would join the U.S. in making historic reductions in our deployed offensive nuclear arsenals.

  2. The Administration made missile defense operational, while continuing our research and development efforts.  By the end of 2004, the Nation had a rudimentary capability in place to defend against limited missile attacks by rogue states or accidental launch. As new technologies come online, we continue to add to this system, making it increasingly capable, and moving us closer to the day we can intercept ballistic missiles of all ranges, in every stage of flight.

    • Our military commanders believe we now have a credible system in place that can provide the American people with a measure of protection against the threats emanating from Northeast Asia.  Last month, the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Northern Command conducted its 30th successful "hit to kill" test since 2001. 

  3. The Administration reached out to involve other nations in missile defense, creating a truly international effort to help protect free nations against the threat of ballistic missile attack.  Since 2001, we have worked closely with countries such as Britain, Israel, Italy, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and others on missile defense.


# # #

Return to this article at:

Click to print this document