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“One element of this understanding would be that U.S. missile defenses in Europe are intended to counter threats originating outside Europe and are not directed at Russia,” Mr. Burns said, confirming that the Tauscher draft contained elements related to the United States and NATO allies not pointing missile defenses at Russia.

“No agreement was reached, and discussions will continue with the aim of developing a basis for missile-defense cooperation that meets the security interests of both NATO and Russia,” Mr. Burns said.

“We have made clear that we cannot accept any limits on capabilities of U.S. missile defenses, including any limits on numbers or capabilities of interceptors [including speed].”

Despite the assurances, missile defense advocates fear the Obama administration, in its efforts to curry favor with Moscow, at some point will agree to legal constraints based on the Tauscher draft.


Among new Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s first major personnel decision will be finding a successor to Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn III.

A number of names are already bubbling around the Pentagon’s E-Ring, as Mr. Lynn is set to leave later this summer or the fall, reports special correspondent Rowan Scarborough.

Among those names are: Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official; Jeh Johnson, the general counsel; and Erin Conaton, the Air Force’s No. 2 civilian.

Who gets picked will probably depend on how Mr. Panetta views the job. The deputy typically focuses on procurement issues and on making sure the bureaucracy functions, as opposed to war policy or planning.

That would seem to fit Mr. Carter, now the undersecretary for acquisition, and Ms. Conaton, who directed the Democratic staff of the House Armed Services Committee before taking her Air Force position in March 2010.

An insider tells Inside the Ring there are others under consideration, and that Mr. Panetta may tapped some one with whom he worked at the CIA.