Senior legislators on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and the House of Representatives have issued a call for the Obama administration to quadruple funding for Israel’s missile defense.
Although the lawmakers did not specify a sum, Missile Defense Agency director Vice Admiral James Syring told a Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday that they propose raising the Obama administration’s allocation from just under $150 million to “almost $600 million.” The missile budget stands alone outside the overall military assistance arrangement, which is currently being renegotiated for the next ten years.
“Missile defense is crucially important, and coming out of the Iran deal, we want to make clear our commitment to their security has not wavered,” said House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith.
New York Democratic Representative Steve Israel explained, “One of the reasons I voted against it (the Iran nuclear agreement) is it is silent on the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities. Iran is exploiting that silence by increasing its testing. That means we now have to increase our defensive technologies for Gulf Cooperation Council countries and others, which means in the long run we will have to increase our investment in Israel.
Others in the group included California House Foreign Affairs Committee and Representative Brad Sherman, Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks.
Admiral Syring said that Israel is expected to receive a funding upgrade in the 2017 financial year. The White House proposed granting Israel $150 million in 2016, but the final package approved by Congress totaled $488 million.
Besides the concern for Israel’s security, the American defense industry also stands to benefit, Syring noted. In the 2015 financial year, 55 percent of the Iron Dome development was carried out in the Untied States.