The European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense (or EPAA) is designed to protect our deployed forces and Allies in Europe, as well as improve protection of the U.S. homeland against potential ICBMs from the Middle East.
Today, there is a growing threat from short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles to our deployed forces, allies, and partners. This threat is likely to increase in the coming years as some states make their ballistic missiles more accurate, reliable, and survivable.
That is why in 2009, President Obama outlined a four-phase approach for European missile defense that would augment the defense of the United States against a future long-term threat and provide more comprehensive and more rapid protection to our deployed forces and European Allies against the current threat. The President made clear his commitment to integrate the EPAA into NATO and welcomed Russian cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of our common strategic interests. In November 2010, NATO agreed to develop a BMD capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European territory, populations, and forces. Through the EPAA, the United States will deploy increasingly capable ballistic missile defense (BMD) assets to defend Europe against a potential strike from the Middle East.
Working with our allies and partners, the United States seeks to create an environment that will diminish an adversary's confidence that a limited ballistic missile attack would be effective.
Last month in Washington D.C., I was honored to accept on behalf of the Department of State and the entire U.S. interagency, the Team Award given by the National Defense Industrial Association recognizing our collective efforts to put in place basing agreements with host nations for the EPAA, the U.S. contribution to NATO BMD. This was a big effort within the U.S. government and is also a testament to the strong missile defense commitment of our Allies, specifically Poland, Romania, and Turkey.
Along with the Department of Defense, the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. European Command and the military services, the State Department's team led by Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense Ellen Tauscher reached an agreement with Romania to host a U.S. land-based BMD interceptor site, designed to extend missile defense protection to a greater portion of Europe. This system is anticipated to become operational in the 2015 timeframe. We also reached an agreement with Poland to place a similar U.S. BMD interceptor site there in the 2018 timeframe, which will extend missile defense protection to all of NATO Europe. In the NATO context, we have deployed to Turkey a missile defense radar. Also, as part of Phase 1, the United States deployed a BMD-capable Aegis ship to the Mediterranean in March of 2011, and has maintained a BMD-capable ship presence in the region ever since.
In May, at the NATO Chicago Summit, NATO announced the achievement of an interim BMD capability. To support this interim BMD capability, the United States will offer EPAA assets to the Alliance as voluntary national contributions to the NATO BMD mission. This capability provides an operationally significant first step, offering the maximum coverage within available means to defend our populations, territory, and forces across south NATO Europe. Allies agreed to encourage the exploration of possible additional voluntary contributions, including through multinational cooperation, to provide relevant capabilities, as well as to use potential synergies in planning, development, and procurement, and development.
Today's ballistic missile threats continue to increase in number and sophistication. This increasing threat reinforces the importance of the EPAA and NATO's BMD capability, which not only strengthens regional stability, but also provide protection for Allied forces in Europe and augments the defense of the United States.