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Panetta pleads for missile defense dollars


US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged lawmakers not to renege on their promises to fund NATO’s new missile defense system, saying such a decision could jeopardize US relations with its European allies.

MEADS (or Medium Extended Air and Missile Defense System) was to act as NATO’s new missile defense shield, designed to replace the Patriot air and missile defenses which form the backbone of the existing system. However, the congress ruled last year that deploying MEADS is impossibly expensive given the budget restraints and economic climate in the US. The funding of the project will stop after the “Proof of Concept” test phase ending in 2013.

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