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11 March 2004

NATO, Russia Conduct First Joint Missile Defense Exercise

March 8-12 computer simulation taking place in U.S.

NATO and Russia are conducting their first joint exercise to test the interoperability of missile defense systems.

More than 60 participants from ten NATO countries and the Russian Federation are participating in the computer simulation, which is taking place in the United States March 8-12.

The goal is to overcome differences in technical standards and operational doctrines of engagement so that NATO and Russia can "quickly and effectively work together to counter a missile threat against troops deployed on a joint mission."

Following is a NATO press release:

(begin text)

NATO Update
11-Mar-2004

FIRST EVER NATO-RUSSIA MISSILE DEFENCE EXERCISE 8-12 MARCH 2004

NATO and Russia are conducting a groundbreaking computer simulation in the United States, 8 to 12 March, to test joint responses to missile attacks against deployed troops.

The exercise will evaluate an experimental concept of operations developed over the past year by a special NATO-Russia working group on theatre missile defence. Theatre missile defence aims to protect troops deployed in a specific area.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that NATO and Russia can quickly and effectively work together to counter a missile threat against troops deployed on a joint mission.

Aiming for interoperability

Both Russia and NATO member countries have developed and continue to develop dedicated missile defence systems. However, those systems have been developed on the basis of different technical standards, as well as different operational doctrines of engagement.

The idea is to achieve interoperability in spite of these differences, to be able to cooperate in situations where NATO and Russia are coalition partners.

Formally called a Command Post Exercise, the exercise is a computer-assisted, real-time simulation that focuses on the command and control of troops in a particular situation. Over sixty participants from ten NATO member countries and the Russian Federation are participating.

Practical cooperation

Theatre missile defence is one area of practical cooperation within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council. The exercise is an important step forward and will provide a basis for future interoperability enhancements, as well as further exercises planned for 2005.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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