The Global Security Newswire article is titled U.S.-Russia Defense Technology Pact in the Works. What are the pertinent facts of this ‘in the works’ endeavor called DTCA and will it, too, be implemented by Executive Order? And if so, will the EO be classified or unclassified?
Let’s see: DTCA was started under the Bush administration in 2004, sometime after the President got a sense of Putin’s soul. Then it was cancelled after Russia invaded Georgia in 2008.
I’m sure DARPA is reworking its soul-sensing sensors and associated algorithms as we speak.
Now, zombie-like, DTCA remains undead, this time as a part of the Russian reset.
So what are we talking about here? (Note: all the block quotes are from the GSN article)
For months Washington and NATO have ratcheted up diplomatic efforts to draw Moscow into collaborating on a European missile shield amid persistent Kremlin concerns that any antimissile system would undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
OK, some of this can be explained away because Russia was thought to hold the keys to the kingdom regarding sanctions and future actions against Iran and their associate illegal nuclear program. Indeed, Russia did not introduce new bureaucratic roadblocks and even made a show of not selling Iran advanced anti-air systems.
Then Russia showed a bit too much skin when Foreign Minister Lavarov went almost full-honest and said that Russia did things that were in Russia’s interest, not necessarily in the interest of others. Now Russians are back fueling Iranian nuclear reactors, opposing more Iranian sanctions, etc..
The history, logic, and the evidence show Russia will do the things they think will benefit them. Is that somehow difficult to understand?
Sometimes that may mean supporting sanctions. Other times it may mean cancelling arms sales (especially if Israeli air can defeat those systems which could diminish future Russian arms sales). At yet other times, it may mean working with and selling to Iran… like they’re doing now.
But it will always be about Russia and right now, this may mean addition by subtraction. For example, Russia thinks their national security (that is, their nuclear deterrent force) will benefit by the removal of a U.S. engineered, funded, and provided missile defense system. So Russia wants to stop the whole effort. If they can’t do that, they still have a Plan B; something that still benefits them. In this case, it might benefit Russia to find out what we know on missile warning, which is the foundation of missile defense. And maybe they can even get the U.S. to pay for upgrading Russian systems.
Too far, you say?
Gates, in a visit last month to Moscow, suggested the former Cold War foes exchange missile launch data and set up a joint “fusion” facility in which NATO and Russian forces would have simultaneous access to missile threat alerts transmitted from both sides’ radar systems.
If there is any good news in that statement it’s in the fact the discussion is being limited to ground-based radar systems. The “good stuff” that comes from space would still be out of bounds for sharing, at least at this point.
So what might Russia get out of this? In addition to getting U.S. ground-based radar feeds, maybe the U.S. either upgrades or pays for the upgrade of “two of Moscow’s high-frequency early warning radars”? (Note: high-frequency? How old are these things?!) This is from Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“I’ve been told that an umbrella agreement on defense technology cooperation is needed to potentially upgrade” those two radar installations, he told GSN last week by e-mail. “It strikes me as a good idea for this reason alone.”
You know the drill here: the Russian radars won’t integrate into our missile defense scheme, so we’ll upgrade them for you. Then we’ll all be partners!
Or from a Russian point of view, it might be said a) at least we’re having an effect in slowing missile defense, b) if it’s free, it’s for me, c) we’re certain to learn something of value in this ‘partnership,’ d) all the above.
But wait, there’s more!
The proposed defense technology cooperation agreement… would not require congressional approval.
Last time we had this kind of “partnership,” it was with China and was thought to provide “expertise that China could use to improve the accuracy and reliability of its future ballistic missiles, including their guidance systems. At least three classified studies reportedly found that U.S. national security was harmed.”
It’s probably all just me: I haven’t been given the opportunity to look into Russian leaderships’ collective soul. And Congress probably couldn’t glean anything either…