Would Boost Israeli Missile Defense Systems by $200 Million
By Jen Judson
April 25, 2016
The House Armed Services Committee would boost funding to
help procure and produce various Israeli missile defense programs by nearly $200
million above the level requested in the presidentís defense budget,
according to the chairmanís mark of the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill.
Several influential lawmakers recently signaled their
desire to add funding for such US-Israeli partnership efforts like the Iron Dome
air defense system; Davidís Sling, a medium- and long-range air defense
system; and the Arrow family of anti-ballistic missiles.
Adm. James Syring, Missile Defense Agency director, said
during a recent Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing that
the request from Capitol Hill for funding on top of the presidentís request of
just under $150 million could total almost $600 million.
The HASCís mark would bump the funding for Tamir
interceptors for Iron Dome from $42 million requested in the presidentís
budget to $62 million. The committee would also plus up funding for procurement
and co-production of Davidís Sling from $37.21 million to $150 million and the
Arrow 3 Upper Tier Missile Defense System from $55.8 million to $120 million.
It remains to be seen what kind of additional funding House
appropriators and Senate defense committees would include in their markups.
Israel traditionally receives significant congressional
plus-ups from the administrationís budget request for cooperative missile
defense programs. Over the past 10 years, Congress has appropriated $1.9 billion
more than was originally requested by successive administrations.
Last year, Congress augmented the administrationís
request for Arrow and Davidís Sling programs by more than 100 percent.
The amount anticipated this year is more than what was
enacted for Israeli missile defense funding in 2016. The president requested
roughly $150 million and Congress enacted $488 million, according to Syring.
Israeli missile defense program funding got a boost from Congress in 2015 as
Lawmakers seeking an increase for missile defense
funding this year said that Israeli and US national security are strongly
linked and that Israelís missile defense innovations are significant to the
MDA is in the process of negotiating how the US will
deliver funding for the Davidís Sling production program and for additional
interceptors, according to Syring.
The additional funds directly bolster US industry, Syring
has said. The Israeli-US partnership on missile defense ó and in particular
Iron Dome ó includes an agreement for co-production of the system that, in
fiscal 2015, brought 55 percent of the work to the US. The US and Israel are
also negotiating a similar agreement to produce Davidís Sling including
obtaining the technical data package for the system.
The Israel Air Force is expected to declare initial
operational capability in the coming weeks of the Davidís Sling Weapon System,
a jointly developed program between Rafael Advanced Systems Ltd. and Raytheon to
defend against long-range rockets and short-range ballistic missiles, tens of
thousands of which are presumed to be in the arsenal of the Iran-backed,
Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah organization.
Rafael and Raytheon also co-produce Iron Dome.