03.23.18

SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND: JUST-PASSED FEDERAL SPENDING BILL INCLUDES MORE THAN $700 MILLION IN FUNDS FOR U.S. ISRAELI MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS

Federal Funding Bill Fully Funds Several Joint Defense Programs Including the Iron Dome; Massive Investment is $105 Million More Than Last Year 

Gillibrand Led Bipartisan Letter Push with 40 Senators Calling for full U.S.-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense Funding for Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 Programs

Schumer and Gillibrand Say Funding Will Tremendously Benefit Both Countries And Lead To Improved Security And Safety For One of Our Closest Allies, The State Of Israel

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced a substantial increase in funding for U.S. – Israeli missile defense programs in the bipartisan federal funding bill. Specifically, the omnibus spending bill provides $705.8 million in funding to the programs, an increase of $105.4 million over last year. The senators said this vital investment in funds will further defend Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, from harm and will ensure the continued survival of the Jewish state. Additionally, Schumer and Gillibrand applauded the bipartisan effort to include this measure in the omnibus spending bill, noting that its implementation will further strengthen our relationship and support for the state of Israel.

“Israel must have every resource it needs to sufficiently defend itself from deadly rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians, and it’s incumbent upon the United States to ensure they get these critical defense measures,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to have voted for this federal spending bill, which provides $700 million in federal funds to the U.S. Israeli missile defense programs. This massive investment is vital to the safety and security of Israel and will help save countless lives in the future.”  

“This funding is vital to help our ally Israel defend itself against the growing capabilities of Iran and its proxies across the Middle East,” said Senator Gillibrand. “By supporting Israel’s defense capabilities through the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow programs, we also gain access to research and development that strengthens our own national security. I was proud to fight for this critical funding, and I will always continue to support Israel to ensure that it has all the resources necessary to protect its citizens from the wide range of threats that it faces.”

Specifically, the omnibus spending bill fully funds U.S. - Israeli missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the Arrow 3 long-range interceptor program, with an increase of $558.4 million over the budget request of $147.4 million. The total of $705.8 million is an increase of $105.4 million over last year’s enacted level.

Gillibrand and Schumer have led the support in the Senate for the U.S.-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense Programs that advance U.S. national security interests by supporting Israel’s ability to defend itself against missile and rocket attacks. Last Spring, Gillibrand led a bipartisan letter with 40 Senators to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to urge for the full funding of the U.S.-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense Programs amid growing threats to Israel from Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas.   

The text from Gillibrand’s letter is available here and below:

The Honorable William Thad Cochran

Chairman

Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

SD-122 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

The Honorable Richard Durbin

Ranking Member

Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

SD-122 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC

Dear Chairman Cochran and Ranking Member Durbin:

Thank you for your strong support of U.S.-Israel collaborative missile defense programs, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow. As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Defense Appropriations bill, we write to ask that you continue to provide funding for these programs at a level that will meet Israel’s national security needs.

Since 1986, Congress and successive Administrations have demonstrated bipartisan support for joint U.S.-Israel missile defense collaboration. This partnership has helped build and maintain a multi-tiered Israeli missile defense system capable of countering a wide range of threats from state and non-state actors.

Beginning with the lower tier of Israel’s layered defenses, the Iron Dome system is deployed to thwart short-range rockets as well as mortar and artillery shells fired by non-state actors like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel’s middle tier includes David’s Sling, which is designed to defend against larger caliber rockets, short-range ballistic missiles and certain cruise missiles. Finally, the Arrow Weapon System, including Arrow, Arrow II (or the Arrow System Improvement Program), and Arrow III span Israel’s mid- to upper-tier defenses to counter current and emerging ballistic missile threats.

Our investment in bilateral missile defense cooperation has yielded numerous benefits to the United States. In addition to protecting our strategic ally Israel and U.S. forward deployed troops in the Middle East, this joint effort has generated valuable data and insights to support our own missile defense technology. Our partnership with Israel has also ensured enhanced interoperability between U.S. and Israeli systems and forces. Further, through co-development and co-production agreements, a significant share of this bilateral aid actually supports critical elements of the U.S. industrial base and American jobs here at home.

Amid persistent instability in the Middle East and the increasing size and sophistication of missile and rocket arsenals in the region, this is an important time for our continued investment in both U.S. and U.S.-Israel missile defense programs. We therefore urge you to continue to provide full funding for development, testing and production of David’s Sling, Arrow II and Arrow III, as well as procurement of additional Iron Dome launchers and interceptors, at level that will meet Israel’s national security needs and support U.S. interests at home and abroad.



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