Spanish Port For US Navy’s BMD Ships

Spain agreed to host the ships US Navy is deploying to Mediterranean for NATO’s missile defense system.

Today the [NATO] security partnership takes a major step in the right direction,” Panetta told reports at the briefing.
“With four Aegis ships at Rota,” he added, “the alliance is significantly boosting combined naval capabilities in the Mediterranean and enhancing our ability to ensure the security of this vital region.”
The relocation of assets is part of an ongoing U.S. effort to better position forces and defensive capabilities in coordination with European allies and partners, the secretary added.
In 2009, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would adopt a new approach to ballistic missile defense in Europe called the European Phased Adaptive Approach. The architecture would be more comprehensive than a previous program, Obama said in a statement at the time, and would deploy proven, cost-effective capabilities and ultimately protect the United States and its NATO allies against short-, medium- and intermediate-range missile threats.
The program is being implemented in four phases, beginning this year and ending in 2020. So far, Romania, Poland, Turkey and now Spain have agreed to participate by hosting land-based radars or missile sites or porting Aegis ballistic-missile-defense-capable ships carrying interceptor missiles.
“These ships will support NATO’s critical efforts to build an effective missile defense alongside important agreements that were recently concluded with Romania, Poland and Turkey,” Panetta said.
Spain’s decision represents a critical step in implementing the European phased-adaptive approach, as the alliance’s leaders agreed to at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, he added.
Beyond missile defense, the secretary said, the Aegis destroyers will perform other missions, including participating in standing NATO maritime groups and joining in naval exercises, port visits and maritime security cooperation activities.

The other candidate host nation was Italy. I guess Rota’s legacy as a US navy forward base during the Cold War, and Spain’s own Aegis equipped ships with an option to be upgraded  to engage in BM defence was among the factors favoring this city’s selection.

Needles to say Greece or Turkey, much closer to the ultimate patrol areas for the BMD ships were not considered as candidates because they are considered unreliable in US views.  My comment from last years post about the topic turned to be correct.

But I do not expect any US warship to be home ported in Turkey as the political climate is not suitable yet. The politics of the previous US government alienated Turkey and the recent administration has not done enough to reverse the trend. The neocons in USA feel angry against Turkey as they think Turkey did not gave enough support for their war against global terrorism. Therefore it would be very difficult for both governments to sell the idea of permanent existence of US warships in Turkish ports to their nations.


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