Washington, DC – At the urging of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), both chambers of Congress today passed a measure, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2014, which requires the Defense Secretary to submit a report on the status of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in an effort to evaluate the U.S. partnership with Israel and determine ways to advance the countries’ partnership in defending against acts of terror. The NDAA now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
“We strongly reiterate our support for Israel’s right to self-defense as the people of Israel face a continuing threat of attack,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our reporting requirement will provide Congress with more information as we work to advance U.S.-Israeli cooperation on missile defense. It underscores the importance of the United States’ partnership with Israel in its missile defense systems, which are critical to protecting our close and historic ally in the Middle East. We stand firmly united with Israel.”
“As Iran’s ballistic missile program advances, we should continue our efforts to strengthen Israel’s missile defense infrastructure,” Senator Kirk said. “U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation has become a cornerstone of our bilateral security relationship and we should look for new ways to expand that cooperation in the years ahead.”
Missile defense cooperation between the United States and Israel is critical to defending both countries against acts of terrorism and other urgent threats. The Senators reaffirmed U.S. national security interests in supporting Israel’s ability to defend itself against missiles and rockets, including through joint cooperation on the Arrow Weapon System (with Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors) and the David’s Sling Weapons System, along with continued support for the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system.
The Iron Dome air defense system, which was developed in 2007 to counter rockets and short-range missiles against attacks, was critical in intercepting and destroying an estimated 400 rockets before they reached Israeli soil and caused widespread devastation. The David’s Sling Weapon System, being jointly developed by the United States and Israel, is designed to intercept short-range ballistic missiles, medium-range and long-range rockets, and cruise missiles. The David’s Sling Weapon System successfully intercepted an inert medium-range rocket target in a November 2012 test. The Arrow-3 Weapon System, which was successfully test-launched in Israel earlier this year, is an exo-atmospheric interceptor to defend against the upper-tier, longer-range ballistic missiles being developed by Iran.