NATO’s New Frontier

At least 30 countries around the world either have ballistic missiles or are trying to acquire them. Moreover, the know-how needed to build them is spreading, and their range is increasing, which is why strengthening NATO's missile-defense capability is more important than ever.

BRUSSELS – Last week, an American ship sailed into a Spanish naval base, making history. The arrival of the USS Donald Cook from Norfolk, Virginia, to its new home port in Rota, on Spain’s Atlantic coast, marks the first time that a US Navy ship equipped with the high-tech Aegis ballistic missile-defense system will be permanently based in Europe.

The USS Donald Cook is the first of four US Navy destroyers that, with around 1,200 sailors and personnel, will play a central role in NATO’s missile-defense capability. But the ships will carry out many other tasks as well, such as maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, and participation in NATO operations and deployments, including the Standing NATO Maritime Groups.

The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation. It clearly demonstrates the strength of the bond between America and Europe in dealing with the complex and unpredictable security challenges of our age.

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