Discussions at Stanford Seek Solutions on Missile Defense

Missile defense has long been a thorny item on the bilateral U.S.- Russian security agenda. As the two nations progress farther down the road towards further cooperation on global security threats, the need for creative solutions to this historical roadblock have never been more desirable.

To remove the potential impasse, high caliber teams of U.S. and Russian military, engineering and policy experts convened at Stanford University this week. The bilateral task force fielded by the Center for International Studies and Cooperation and Moscow-based Committee of Scientists for Global Security and Arms Control, and supported by Ploughshares Fund, sought technical inroads for a potential solution – joint missile defense cooperation.

Non-official meetings like these have often served as the basis for progress on U.S. Russian nuclear reductions. Such off-the-record discussions allow experts to deal with tough issues in a low-stakes way. This particular group of experts has been meeting for more than ten years and has a track record of supplying critical solutions to governments that advance bilateral security goals.

Among those contributing to the working session were Russian Ambassador to NATO and Special Envoy to the President of Russia Ambassador on Missile Defense Dmitry Rogozin, as well as former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. The two latter statesmen serve as Ploughshares Fund Advisors and comprise half of the “Four Horsemen” (including Henry Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn) who have revived domestic and international support for a nuclear weapons free world.

As both the Russian and U.S. governments look for credible paths toward joint missile defense cooperation, the bilateral expert meeting served a timely, critical and policy-relevant role.