In order to make our world safer, to enhance NATO security, and to send a pervasive message to states continuing to proliferate ballistic missiles, an X-band radar site in Central Europe is necessary.

X-band radar is an information gathering system that tracks and collects data from ballistic missiles flying over Europe. Current and in-development missile defense systems of NATO countries, such as theater ground-based systems and Aegis ships – including their equivalents from Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom – will be two to three times more capable of defending themselves with this data rather than without it. The X-band radar can send exact coordinates of harmful ballistic missiles targeted at Europe and the United States to ground-based interceptors in Central Europe capable of stopping an attack.

Current radar systems providing information to NATO countries for protection are located in the United Kingdom, Greenland and the United States. As a result of distance constraints and the Earth’s curvature, these systems offer limited capabilities and cannot provide the necessary information to defend Europe. Proposed radars in Turkey and the Caspian Sea region, including the Russian proposed Azerbaijan missile site, are also unable to provide data necessary to protect the populations of Europe and the United States. This is also due to physical distance and limitations posed by the curvature of the Earth.

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The proposed X-band radar, currently under negotiations to be deployed in the Brdy region of the Czech Republic, is the most credible and effective solution to provide and to share ballistic missile information amongst the NATO countries.

Due to the importance of this particular radar, The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) commissioned a public survey within the population of the Czech Republic to determine the public views concerning this issue. MDAA also traveled throughout the Czech Republic and met with Czech government officials and Czech citizens – both those for and against the radar – and visited the villages of the Brdy Region where the radar is proposed to be deployed.

Results of the polling data show that only one in five Czech citizens is familiar with the radar issue and fifty-one percent (51%) do not currently support the radar. This is a twenty percent (20%) decrease from polls taken earlier this year. Those Czechs familiar with the radar issue are fifty-two percent (52%) supportive of building the radar site. Over eighty percent (80%) of the public is aware of Russian President Putin's negative remarks on missile defense. Sixty-five percent (65%) say Putin’s comments do not affect their opinion, while twelve percent (12%) have increased their support and eight percent (8%) have decreased their support. Forty-eight percent (48%) of the population believes that hosting the radar would strengthen NATO. Providing security for Europe is the top reason for Czech citizens to support the X-band radar in the Czech Republic. Click here for Public Survey Results.

From my observations during my recent trip to the Czech Republic, it is clear that strengthening NATO and being a responsible, rising world player is of the utmost importance to the Czech people. Consequently, there is a clear need for the Czech government to educate its people on this issue so that the Czech Republic can take the next step as a security provider and a promoter of stability within the international arena.