Missile defense cooperation with Russia, including the use of Russian radars, would benefit the United States, Director of the Missile Defense Agency Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly said.
O'Reilly testified before a Senate panel about the Missile Defense Agency’s requested budget for 2013.
“There actually are [Russian] capabilities that we could benefit from. It's primarily...their large sensors that they have for their homeland defense,” he told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.
“The location of Russia itself, looking through - from Europe all the way across through Asia, including Northeast Asia, gives - would give us the opportunity to view threats very early in their flight, if we were able to observe. And their ability to observe flight testing done by other countries would, in fact, provide us beneficial information,” he went on.
U.S. administration officials have repeatedly said that missile cooperation between Washington and Moscow will benefit both sides. However, no practical steps have been made so far.
O'Reilly said, however, that he was unaware of any “specific proposals” in Russia-U.S. missile defense cooperation talks.
“The nature of our work has typically been when the Russian government claims that we are building capability to upset the strategic balance. We've been able to analyze that and provide them data to show we are not - where the errors are in their estimates, such as missiles flying faster than anyone's ever built, and so forth,” the official said.
“So I am unaware, first of all, of what those specific proposals are,” he went on. “But also I have never been given any instructions to consider limiting the development of our system.”
Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defense system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.
U.S. officials have repeatedly said the missile defense system would not be directed against Russia. They, however, have so far declined to provide legally-binding, written guarantees that the project would not undermine Russian security.
Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in late March Moscow was preparing a host of countermeasures to tackle NATO missile defense, including forward deployments of tactical nuclear missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.