In a statement on the organisation of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago, Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared that he hoped to be able to announce an operational European ballistic missile defence system by the time the meeting takes place:
“I hope and expect we’ll be able to declare interim operational capability. This will be a significant step forward, because we have been discussing the development of a NATO-based missile defence system for many many years.”
The NATO Secretary General also referred to the growing partnership between Europe and the Russian Federation which has seen joint exercises on cyber security, aviation defence responses and now a possible co-operation on the ballistic missile defence project.
The Chicago conference will take place from 20th – 21st May and will cover opportunities for sharing defence responsibilities between NATO nations, who will be able to “prioritise, specialise and share multinational projects”. The merging of defence responsibilities on joint operations will help to cut costs in the embattled economies of many NATO countries.