NEWS | June 24, 2016

Nimble Titan strengthens future multinational missile defense cooperation

By Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senior leaders from the ministries of foreign affairs and ministries of defense from 18 nations and multinational organizations convened for a senior leader seminar at the Department of State, 23-24 June, to discuss policy and military operational concepts for multinational missile defense.

Known as Nimble Titan, the two-year global missile defense campaign of experimentation provides a forum for policy makers and military leaders to examine regional and global cooperative missile defense challenges. It is the only venue of its kind that brings together multinational policy makers and military leaders to discuss and explore missile defense issues.

Nimble Titan is a U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)-sponsored event executed by USSTRATCOM's Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD) - the component command responsible for synchronizing global missile defense planning and providing operational support as outlined in the Unified Command Plan.

The senior leader seminar explored multinational missile defense policy and military cooperation concepts generated during the Nimble Titan 16 campaign. Participating leaders engaged in open discussions on intra- and inter-regional integrated air and missile defense cooperation; the role of integrated air and missile defense in deterrence; threats; thresholds and ambiguity, as well as other challenges of collective missile defense.

According to Lt. Gen. David Mann, JFCC IMD commander, Nimble Titan has increased data sharing, enhanced understanding of the global environment and examined regional defense designs and diplomatic efforts.

"No one country can do [missile defense] alone," Mann said. "If you look at the number of threat missiles out there versus missile defense systems, we will always lose that calculus problem. We have to work together as a team. We have to find ways to further collaborate, further expand our integration and further expand our data sharing to make sure we are effective and efficient with the limited resources that we have.

"If you look at Nimble Titan, it's really amazing to see how it has evolved and how the level of discussions has grown over time," Mann continued. "A lot of our national policies and guidance have been influenced by the events and discussions coming from this event. In the last couple of years, I have seen more of a willingness to discuss policy issues and how we can really get after data sharing.

"The value is [in] the engagements that take place - the ability to work together, put a name to a face and have very thoughtful discussions," said Mann.

Frank Rose, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, hosted the senior leader seminar and provided the keynote address. He stated that he has been a strong supporter of Nimble Titan for more than 15 years.

"This unique experiment follows the same line of thinking that Gen. George C. Marshall, former Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, advocated regarding bringing together and discussing operational, policy and political elements of an issue to ensure we arrive at the optimal solution," Rose said.

"I've watched Nimble Titan grow from a U.S.-only activity, to a bilateral U.S.-U.K. activity, to what is today: a 27-nation and organization effort dedicated to addressing the challenges we face in cooperative missile defense. Over the years, Nimble Titan has made extremely valuable contributions to the security of the U.S., our allies and partners by bringing together technical experts, operators and policy makers," explained Rose.

"Some of the most difficult challenges are not technical, but they are in the realms of military policy, diplomacy and international commitments," he continued. "We take the knowledge and personal connections we acquire here and apply them to the real world. An excellent example is the NATO integrated air and missile defense work. Many of the lessons that have come out of Nimble Titan over the last decade have been directly included in the development of rules of engagement, concept of operations and other plans that NATO is planning for its missile defense system.

"Nimble Titan is successful because of the dedication of all the participants. Without USSTRATCOM's efforts in sponsoring Nimble Titan, the international cooperation on missile defense around the world would be far less advanced," Rose said.

Planning has already begun for the next two-year Nimble Titan campaign which will continue to expand on the work accomplished through previous years' events, and will provide a forum to examine other potential policy and military defense solutions for all participating nations.