Dracula’s Missile Defense

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Artist's rendering of the Aegis Ashore System being built in Romania.

Things are beginning to move on the Pentagon’s plan to build a ground-based missile-defense system in Romania to protect U.S. allies in southern Europe – as well as American troops in the region – from attack by Iranian missiles (although it’s rarely stated so bluntly).

The latest sign is this Pentagon solicitation seeking “100mb [megabit] direct access with internet routable IP addresses for MDA [Missile Defense Agency] contractors onsite” at Romania’s Deveselu air base near Caracal, some 125 miles southwest of Count Dracula’s castle. The U.S. anti-missile base will consist of 430 acres surrounded by base property, and be run by about 200 U.S. military and civilian personnel.

The Romanian ministry of foreign affairs says the Deveselu facility is important to Romanian security. “The most recent studies on the matter point that our geographical area – Southeastern Europe –- becomes increasingly vulnerable to threats posed by short and medium range missiles,” it says. “Furthermore, Romania is an important strategic partner of the United States and a reliable NATO Ally. The invitation extended to Romania can only validate the substantial value of this partnership and the important role our country plays in the Alliance.”

It also has learned to tap-dance around just who might be firing missiles towards Romania:

Against whom is this MD system directed?
The EPAA [European Phased Adaptive Approach] involves a strictly defensive system. By definition, it is not directed against someone. It is meant to defend against any attack, from anyone, with short- or medium-range missiles, and at a later stage, against intercontinental missiles.

O-K. Plus, it won’t cost Bucharest a single ban, according to the Romanian MFA:

How much will cost Romania its participation in this system?
Neither will Romania have to buy interceptor missiles SM-3 nor will it have to pay for either their production or the construction of their site on the Romanian territory as the expenses…will be covered by the USA.

The site will be outfitted with (perhaps 24, according to the Romanians) SM-3 interceptor missiles (aka the Aegis Ashore System, seeing as it is traditionally based aboard ships) and “will provide protection of NATO European territories and populations, and augment protection of the United States, against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles from the Middle East,” according to the State Department.

“SM-3 interceptors are for defensive purposes only and have no offensive capability. They carry no explosive warheads of any type, and rely on their kinetic energy to collide with and destroy incoming enemy ballistic missile warheads,” the State Department has advised nervous Romanians. “SM-3 Interceptors based in Romania will not be used for flight tests, and will be launched only in defense against an actual attack…The risk of damage or injury from an intercept and debris are small and pose little threat to people and property. The alternative (allowing a threat warhead to impact its target) likely would result in far more severe consequences.”

The Pentagon, in seeking $158 million in construction funding for the work for 2013, said:

There is currently no land-based ballistic missile defense configuration in Europe. In keeping with the 17 September 2009 announcement by the President of the United States, this project is necessary to meet the European Phased Adaptive Approach Phase II deployment of a land-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system configuration in southern Europe by 2015…If this project is not provided, the Aegis Ashore capability will not be able to be deployed. If the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System site is not developed, the Phased Adaptive Approach Phase II timeline to deploy a land-based Aegis ballistic missile defense capability in Europe, as announced by the President of the United States, will not be met.

And to think it only took garlic and/or sunlight to deal with Vlad.