After nearly a decade of preparations, deliberations, and extensive tests, NATO members have finally endorsed the common Missile Defense System program on November 19th, 2010 at the Lisbon Summit. Furthermore, NATO invited Russia to participate in this program, and it seems that Russia is indeed warming up to this proposal, after initial skepticism. This is excellent news, both politically, and technically.
Because most of the national missile defense programs’ specifics are naturally classified, including the shining new integrated control and command system, it is difficult to talk about specifics of Missile Defense even in general terms without saying too much; so I won’t. Of course, there are some officially publicized details on various government and industrial defense corporations’ websites, so feel free to Google around if you’re interested.
Suffice it to say that I’m very happy and quite relieved to see the political side finally catching up with the technical development that has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, thanks to the dedicated work of the MD community. We’re a long way from the timid beginnings of SDI, primitive interceptors with a miserable hit to miss ratio, and utterly uncoordinated local systems that could step on each others’ toes in times of crisis and be overwhelmed with decoys!
With NATO members, boasting some of the most technically advanced civilizations on Earth, finally contributing badly needed technical skills to the US Missile Defense System, and with Russia (after all still a super power!) now likely on board and hopefully contributing their own highly advanced missile defense and space travel skills to a common goal, the days of being utterly powerless against rogue states deploying middle range and intercontinental ballistic missiles will hopefully be if not over then at least counted.
NATO’s adoption of a common Missile Defense together with Russia may seem like a small step now, and may have gone unnoticed by the unknowing masses, but it’s a huge step for world peace in a highly dynamic and changing environment. Russia is not yet NATO member (though they really should be), but who knows, we may be able to convince them to join, if the Missile Defense cooperation proves successful.