On February 11, the United States and Russia concluded a 10-day joint theater missile defense (TMD) exercise at the Joint National Test Facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The exercise was the first phase of a two-part exercise aimed at improving the capability of U.S. and Russian forces to operate together to protect against short- and medium-range ballistic missile attacks in the event the two forces are deployed together and face a common adversary.
The principal focus of the exercise was establishing and refining common procedures for the two sides to "communicate and cooperate" with one another, a Defense Department spokesperson said. The exercise was computer simulated and the two forces were given generic TMD capabilities with the same performance parameters, minimizing the danger that any sensitive information could be compromised. According to the Pentagon spokesperson, approximately 80 Americans and 32 Russians participated in the exercise, which cost $735,000.
The United States and Russia have held two other joint TMD exercises. Initiated by then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in September 1994, the first of the exercises took place in Colorado in 1996, and the second occurred in Moscow in 1998.The second part of this latest exercise is scheduled to take place next year from January 23 to February 3 in Fort Bliss, Texas, where U.S. and Russian teams will be tasked with responding to simulated ballistic missile attacks by using the procedures worked out during the first phase. The spokesperson described this second phase as "limited field testing."