Dear Members and Friends,
MDAA was in Israel this week as the keynote speaker at the Israel Air and Missile Defense Conference, in a tense U.S. Israel relationship environment, that may continue to escalate depending on the reaction of both sides to the U.S.- Iran nuclear deal. Fuel may have been added to an already smoldering feud as both Republican leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are in Israel this week while the President Obama’s team of negotiators are in Switzerland meeting with their Iranian counterparts. In the midst of these ideological brush fires at the highest levels, the security of Israel in its ability to defend itself with U.S. support, and the military to military relations which facilitates that cooperation remains solid and disengaged from the politics. Israel and its population, regardless, remains under constant threat of rockets and missiles from within Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and from Iran’s continual military buildup of UAVs, cruise and ballistic missiles all with ranges to strike Israel.
Israel cannot completely defend itself today against these threats on its own merit, to include active and passive defenses without the direct support of the United States in both funding and deployed U.S. military assets and troops in and around Israel. The United States provides around $4 billion a year in military aid and financing. The rocket and missile defense portion of that amount will likely end up close to $750 million for fiscal year 2016. The United States in addition supplements the defense of Israel with deployments and biannual exercises of its military forces in Israel. The United States has a TPY-2 early warning radar and up to four accessible U.S. Navy Aegis BMD Ships in the Mediterranean to protect Israel that have both SPY-1 radar capability and SM-3 interceptors based out of Rota, Spain. The United States also has U.S. Army Patriot Battalions and a THAAD battery ready to deploy to Israel if necessary out of the 10th AAMDC in Germany and the 32nd AAMDC in Texas. Israel has received Patriot PAC-2 Air and Missile Defense batteries in the past from the United States to man, operate and command.
It should be clearly recognized that President Obama and his administration has given significantly more to Israel than any other U.S. President in the direct funding of rocket and missile defense. According to Congressional Research, President Obama has signed over $2.5 billion to Israel for missile and rocket defense since coming to office. This is more than half of the total U.S. funding for Israeli rocket and missile defense since 1990. The United States Congress also is to be recognized as it has approved additional funding on top of the President’s Budget Request for Israel for rocket and missile defense annually.
As the cost of development and deployment of missile defense forces for Israel are sizable, and the limited resources of the U.S. Military could be deployed elsewhere in the world for U.S. national security needs, it is clearly in the best interests of both countries that Israel work towards defending itself on its own.
There are two key capabilities that Israel needs to develop, test and deploy to become self-sufficient in its defense. These are long-range and inside-the-atmosphere interceptors that would cover the range from its Iron Dome system to its Arrow 2 interceptors that engage in space. Funding from the President’s FY 2016 budget request to Israel and with an close to $500 million pending mark-up from the U.S. Congress would put the majority of funding into the David Sling System for inside the atmosphere interceptors and the Arrow 3 program for its long range interceptors.
The David Sling is much further along the development path then the Arrow 3 as it completed its most challenging test yesterday with one more test coming very soon before it gets approved for production. If the production decision goes forward with a successful last test (making 7 successful tests in total), a much needed capability should be fully operationally deployed by the end of the year in Israel. Both of these critical programs for Israel are being co-produced between the United States and Israel.
The United States has protected and supported the state of Israel from its founding 67 years ago as of this month and will continue to do so. Israel’s strategic location, alliance and strong support from the American public provides confidence that the defense of Israel will be secure.
Through these short flammable moments of politics between our two countries, through the statements and actions by both the Prime Minster of Israel and President of the United States over this past month, whether there is a deal or no deal with Iran, it still remains that rocket, air and missile defense must be in deployed here in Israel.
It is imperative that there is a real, tested, layered missile defense capability between Israel and the United States to ensure the defense of the population and state in case of a potential breakout from Iran – whether that breakout be in a year or in a decade, and whether there is a deal or no deal.
Let’s give David more than a sling.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.