U.S., Russia launch joint missile-warning center
- By Dan Verton, George I. Seffers
- Jun 12, 2000
Building on the success of a joint Year 2000 venture, Pentagon and Russian
military officials have signed an agreement to build a high-tech center
near Moscow where both sides can monitor the globe for ballistic missile
Senior officials from both countries signed an agreement to build the
center — which will be called the Joint Data Exchange Center — only days
before President Clinton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a
summit in Moscow on June 4.
The two countries plan to complete construction of the $7 million center
by June 2001. The new facility will be housed in a renovated schoolhouse
located north of Moscow and will be modeled on the Year 2000 Center for
Strategic Stability that military officials from the United States and Russia
established last year in Colorado Springs, Colo., to reduce the risk of
an accidental nuclear missile launch during the Year 2000 transition.
Air Force Master Sgt. Larry Lincoln, spokesman for the North American
Aerospace Defense Command, said the training, experience, time and money
that went into the Year 2000 effort laid the groundwork for the JDEC.
"The mission hasn't changed," he said. "We've done this once, so we'll
take the lessons learned and use that as a building block for a more permanent
effort to continue providing stability in uncertain times."
The two countries will assign about 16 military personnel to the center,
where they will monitor detailed information on the status of each other's
missile launches via desktop displays, according to a senior DOD official.
"We have Russian data coming in, going to a Russian display [and] U.S.
data coming into a U.S. display, and both sides can look at and correlate
it visually," the official said. The official, who spoke on background to
reporters at the Pentagon, added that although the information provided
by each country will be unclassified, it "will be processed in a way to
reveal a generic class of information," including launch time, launch point,
rough direction, impact point and impact time. Eventually, video monitors
will pipe data from the displays back to the national warning centers in
both countries, he said.
Once construction of the facility is complete, officials will begin
a three-phase plan for building a complete shared early warning system,
the Pentagon official said. The first two phases will focus solely on missiles
from the United States and Russia and the two countries' reporting procedures.
During Phase 3, however, which is expected to be reached within a few
months after the completion of Phase 1, both sides will focus on sharing
information on missile launches that may be conducted by rogue states, such
as North Korea and Iran.