By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
The US Navy will today take over the command of a missile base in Southern Romania which will play, along other military installations, a major role in the NATO led anti-missile defensive project in Europe.
According to the Stars and Stripes, the base in Deveselu will be the first to feature the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system, a land-based version of the sophisticated radar tracking system installed on U.S. warships since 2004. Scheduled to become operational by the end of next year, the base — which is housed within a larger Romanian military installation and where construction works started a year ago under a 134 M USD contract — will be staffed by several hundred U.S. military, civilian and contract employees.
A second site, in Poland, is scheduled to become operational by 2018 while an advanced radar system was completed in Turkey in 2012.
Captain William Garren will become the site’s first commander today, officials quoted by the above-mentioned source said. A small ceremony will today take place at Deveselu which will be attended by Rear Admiral Jack Scorby, commander of the Navy region Europe, Africa and South-West Asia.
The site at Deveselu, part of the second phase of the adaptive approach of the missile shiled in Europe, will host an Aegis SPY-1 radar and hold 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors of the Block IB variant. A four-story radar deckhouse, similar to those used on a warship, will be moved to the site from the U.S. East Coast as part of construction, the American website also explained.
The Deveselu local community, too, benefits by the civilian infrastructure works – water supply and sewerage – being performed in order to connect with the infrastructure of the facility and of the base. A sewage treatment plant is also to be completed in the commune of Deveselu. A significant aspect attesting to the favorable impact implementation of the Agreement exerts on the Romanian economy is the subcontracting of services to a Romanian company, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also highlighted.
The negotiation process for the Agreement establishing the terms of the bilateral cooperation in the field of Missile Defense started on 17 June 2010. The text of the agreement was convened ad referendum by the two delegations after seven negotiation rounds.
On 3 May 2011, the President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, announced the decision of the Supreme Council of National Defense to approve the deployment at the Deveselu Air Base in Olt County, of the elements of the US Ballistic Missile Defense system. On 6 June 2011, the Agreement was initialed by the two chief-negotiators, Bogdan Aurescu and Ellen Tauscher, in Washington.
On 13 September 2011, Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the US Secretary of State signed in Washington the Agreement between Romania and the United States of America on the Deployment of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania. The document was ratified by the Romanian Parliament and entered into force on 23 December 2011. Both Romania and USA have pointed out the base is part of a defensive system to alleviate Russia’s fears the shield is aimed against its military capabilities.
The defensive system has turned Romania into a strategic pivot for both USA and NATO which, along the military base at Mihail Kogalniceanu, where about 1.500 US troops are expected to be deployed, will confer Bucharest new security guarantees amid tensions on its Eastern borders.