The new ballistic missile defense site in Romania is set to come online Friday, as the Navy takes control of it after years of construction and prepares it to track and shoot down missiles bound for Europe.

The U.S. and Romania are expected to announce the radar site and missile battery has reached “technical capability” in a ceremony in Bucharest. The announcement means that all the radars, consoles, SM-3 interceptor missiles work and sailors who man it are trained and in place.

The site is not being declared “operational,” said a defense official with knowledge of the announcement, because the land-based system still needs to be integrated into NATO’s larger ballistic missile defense architecture, which has been a major Obama administration drive. The sea-based arm of the shield is provided by four BMD-capable destroyers forward-based in Rota, Spain. The Romania site should be declared operational this spring. […]