In 2010, the member countries of the Atlantic Alliance have decided to develop a territorial ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability, which is now included in NATO’s collective defence missions. A technological expression of ‘deterrence by denial’, missile defence aims to complicate the strategic calculations of potential adversaries without, however, being able to guarantee absolute protection of the Atlantic Alliance’s territory.
Despite the Alliance repeatedly recalling the purely defensive nature of its BMD project, it is regularly accused by its critics and non-NATO adversaries of serving offensive purposes that could threaten military balances. Moscow, for its part, argues that NATO’s BMD is not solely intended to protect the Alliance’s territory from countries engaged in nuclear proliferation. In Russia’s view, NATO’s BMD undermines deterrence and threatens its own territorial security. The missile defence capability developed by the Atlantic Alliance clearly is at the heart of many controversies.
Concerns and criticism by some countries about territorial missile defence have not prevented NATO from further developing and integrating it. Thus, by July 2016, the initial operational capability was reached. Structurally, NATO’s current BMD framework brings together national missile defence capabilities and resources into a broad command and control architecture. As a result, several Allies have contributed or announced their intention to acquire systems that will become part of the NATO programme. The invasion of Ukraine rekindled the concerns of Atlantic Alliance about the risk of a ballistic attack and confirmed the indispensability of such a system as a complement to nuclear deterrence. The Russian aggression has prompted the German initiative, launched in June 2022, to make a new contribution to NATO’s antimissile defence shield. This initiative led to the joint signing on 13 October of a declaration of intent to give substance to the Europe Sky Shield programme, in which Belgium intends to participate.
To shed light on this subject, we will have the pleasure of welcoming Mr Jakub Cimoradsky, defence consultant and former BMD advisor to NATO, and Dr Mauro Gilli, senior researcher in military technologies at the Centre for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Our speakers will present their views on the place of territorial missile defence in NATO’s strategy and its future development in a security context marked by the return of war to Europe.
Ballistic missile defence within NATO:
the way ahead
Moderator : Alain DE NEVE
Simultaneous interpretation in Dutch and French
15 December 2022, 17:00 – 18:30
> 16:30 – Registration
> 17:00 – Conference
> 18:30 – Reception
Rue Hobbema, 8