December 20, 2019

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce That Following Their Push, U.S.–Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Programs To Receive $500 Million In Federal Funds

Both National Defense Authorization Act and End-Of-Year Appropriations Package Authorize and Fund Critical Israeli Security Systems

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today announced that following their push, the U.S.–Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Program will receive $500 million in federal funds. The FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed earlier this week, authorizes full funding for the development of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 weapon systems; and the end-of-year appropriations bill, which passed yesterday, includes $500 million for these programs. The U.S.–Israeli Cooperative Missile Defense Program is a multi-tiered defense system capable of countering a wide range of threats from state and non-state actors. Gillibrand and Schumer have long led the push in the Senate to secure authorization and funding for this program.

“Israel is a staunch and steady ally and we must work with our ally to ensure it has the means to sufficiently defend itself from deadly terrorist rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to play a leading role in our ongoing support for Israel’s critical self-defense systems, including the vital and successful Iron Dome anti-missile system. These bills provide $500 million in federal funds to the U.S.Israeli missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 systems. This massive investment is vital to the safety and security of Israel and will help save countless lives in the future.”   

“At a time of great instability in the Middle East, this funding is critical for the safety and protection of Israel, our closest ally in the region. These missile defense programs have helped keep civilians in Israel safe from missile attacks numerous times,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Committee. “I’m proud to lead the push in the Senate for this funding every year, and I’m please it has been included in the final NDAA and end-of-year appropriations package. This will help Israel protect its people and keep stability in the region.”

Schumer and Gillibrand have long supported funding for the U.S.–Israeli Missile Defense Program. For years, Gillibrand has led a bipartisan letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in support of this funding, and in April, led a bipartisan letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense signed by 39 Senators. Last year, Schumer and Gillibrand successfully fought to include more than $700 million in funds for the defense programs.

The text of Gillibrand’s letter on funding for the U.S.–Israeli Missile Defense Program to Senate Committee on Armed Services leadership appears below.

The Honorable James Inhofe

Chairman

Senate Committee on Armed Services

228 Russell Senate Office Building

The Honorable Jack Reed

Ranking Member

Senate Committee on Armed Services

228 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member:

As the Committee prepares for consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA), I am writing to respectfully request support for my priorities in the NDAA.

Military Housing Privatization Initiative

U.S.-Israel Cooperative Missile Defense Program Co-Development and Co-Production

At a time of great instability in the Middle East, I fully support the development and production of short-, medium-, and long-range missile defense systems to protect Israel’s civilian population from attack. These systems are not only essential to protecting our ally from existential threats, but their joint development adds to our own security. In 2016, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding that included funding for these missile defense programs. I support fully funding U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation, including the David’s Sling and Arrow programs, to be administered in full compliance with the joint Project Agreements under the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s oversight.

The full text of Gillibrand’s letter to Senate Appropriators may be found here and below.

April 11, 2019

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby

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 Shelby 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) 2020 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. In September 2016, this support was expressed in a Memorandum of Understanding reached with Israel on long-term funding for Israeli military assistance, including missile defense. We ask that you fund U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation at the level requested in the FY 2020 budget.

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, as well as Iran's missiles launched from Syria. 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 Il and Arrow Ill, which seeks to cover 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. For example, in a recent breakthrough, the U.S. Army announced that it will acquire two Iron Dome batteries. 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, and Iron Dome, at a level that will meet Israel's national security needs and support U.S. interests at home and abroad.

Sincerely,