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NATO’s leaders agree to expand current Defence system

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NATO’s leaders decided to develop a Missile Defence capability to protect NATO’s populations and territories in Europe against ballistic missile attacks. The Alliance’s Heads of State and Government stated that they see this as a core element of NATO’s collective defence task in view of the growing threat of the proliferation of ballistic missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.

To this end, the Allies decided to expand NATO’s current system to protect NATO-deployed forces – the Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) – to also protect NATO European populations and territory. The US Phased Adaptive Approach for Missile Defence in Europe, launched in September 2009, will be an indispensable contribution to the NATO Missile Defence architecture.

In the Summit declaration, NATO's Heads of State and Government decided that the scope of NATO's current Active Layered Theatre Missile Defence programme's command, control and communications capabilities will be expanded beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces.

In this context the declaration states: "The United States European Phased Adapted Approach is welcomed as a valuable national contribution to the NATO missile defence architecture, as are other possible voluntary contributions by Allies."

The NATO leaders task the North Atlantic Council "to develop missile defence consultation, command and control arrangements by the time of the March 2011 meeting of Defence Ministers. They also have tasked the Council to draft an action plan addressing steps to implement the missile defence capability by the time of the June 2011 Defence Ministers Meeting.

NATO leaders also committed to explore opportunities for missile defence co-operation with Russia in a spirit of reciprocity, maximum transparency and mutual confidence. 

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