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Public Statements

US Rep. Ron Barber Supports Critical National Security Funding

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today voted to approve the Department of Defense budget, including a provision that could lead to increased employment at Raytheon Missile System's facility in Tucson.

"I am deeply committed to supporting our military personnel and a strong national defense," Barber, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said today. "Fort Huachuca, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard all are vital to our national security and to the Southern Arizona economy."

Barber was joined by a majority of his colleagues as the House today voted 315-to-107 to pass the $633 billion fiscal year 2013 budget for the Defense Department. The Senate also is expected to pass the legislation and then it will go to the president for his signature.

The budget bill's accompanying report includes a provision that had been strongly pushed by Barber calling for continued negotiations involving Iron Dome, a short-range missile defense system that has been developed and manufactured by Israel.

The United States has spent over $200 million to help develop Iron Dome. Raytheon Missile Systems, based in Tucson, has provided technical advice and support for the project. Iron Dome has shot down 90 percent of the short-range missiles that were fired at communities in Israel. Last month, NBC broadcast this story on the success of Iron Dome.

In a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, Barber called for language in the defense budget that would move the two countries toward joint production of Iron Dome. Barber stated that it was "an opportunity to strengthen both countries, economically and militarily."

If both countries produce Iron Dome systems, it likely will bring new jobs to Raytheon's Tucson facility. With about 10,500 employees, Raytheon Missile Systems is the largest private employer in Southern Arizona.

The defense bill approved today also includes $6.47 million for military construction at the U.S. Special Operations Command's Parachute Training and Testing Facility, located at Pinal Air Park north of Marana.

Barber's letter on the Iron Dome project is below and attached as a pdf.

November 19, 2012

The Honorable Carl Levin

Chairman

Senate Armed Services Committee

The Honorable John McCain

Ranking Member

Senate Armed Services Committee

The Honorable Howard McKeon

Chairman

House Armed Services Committee

The Honorable Adam Smith

Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee

Dear Chairman Levin, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member McCain, and Ranking Member Smith:

I request that the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report adopt section 227 of the Report of the House Armed Services Committee on H.R. 4310 with regards to data rights and future co-production opportunities of the Iron Dome air defense system. Given the unwavering cooperation between the state of Israel and the United States and the importance of Israel's security, I believe that future co-production of Iron Dome would significantly benefit both countries.

As you know, Iron Dome successfully intercepts short-range rocket threats launched outside of Israel in all-weather situations. As we have seen particularly over the past week in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, this system is critically needed. Reports state that the Israeli military plans to deploy nine Iron Dome batteries across the country by 2015 and requires a total of between 10 and 15 batteries to adequately protect most urban areas.

Both the House and Senate NDAA will fund Iron Dome up to 210 million dollars for the fiscal year 2013, and the House bill authorized an additional 470 million dollars through fiscal year 2015, which would bring the total spent on Iron Dome since fiscal year 2011 by the United States to 900 million dollars. This is a crucial investment that needs to be funded fully, so that we may continue our commitment to the security, safety and prosperity of Israel, our friend and ally.

This investment is also an opportunity to strengthen both countries, economically and militarily. Production of the Iron Dome must not be delayed. Bringing together our best resources would quicken delivery of these critically needed defense mechanisms, also providing redundancy for production lines and support.

Given our strong history of defense partnerships, I believe that we should explore future co-production of the Iron Dome air defense system and support this language being included in the final NDAA and its accompanying report.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Ron Barber

Member of Congress


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