By Zach Pontz
Representative Doug Collins (R-GA), Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, has introduced legislation to further the United States' commitment to Israel's security.
Late last week, Collins introduced H.R. 1992, the Israeli QME (Qualitative Military Advantage) Enhancement Act, which would amend current law and require the U.S. President to submit a biennial report on ways it has acted to preserve Israel's military superiority in the region.
By law, the U.S. administration is currently required to submit quadrennial reports on ways it has acted -- whether through arms sales, security assistance, joint exercises and other means of strategic cooperation -- to preserve Israel's military superiority in the region.
"As one of our closest allies and friends, Israel should know the United States will always do its part to ensure Israelis are never put in harm's way," Collins said. "This bill provides the necessary steps to increase Congressional oversight, and protects the commitment we've made to the Israeli people. The twenty-first century has brought new weaponry, and therefore, challenges to defense systems worldwide. This legislation ensures the United States and Israel will be fully equipped with the most up-to-date information available to defend our nations from both military style attacks as well as cyber warfare. Furthermore, it verifies we will be able continue in our joint pledge to promote peace and freedom worldwide."
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who is currently spearheading a project that is reevaluating Israel's qualitative military advantage, applauded the move.
"There's a different environment in the region which I think offers a more regular assessment," Schanzer told The Algemeiner, noting that the Middle East has changed drastically in recent years due to the Arab Spring.
"We're looking at a situation where countries that were once believed to not have any interest in conflict-- it's now not inconceivable to imagine that they would enter into conflict with Israel."
Schanzer noted that the language of the bill is likely to undergo many changes but that its introduction on the House floor has a symbolic importance. "Obviously at the end of the day it's an Israeli issue," Schanzer said. "But the goal here is to question the traditional wisdom and approach to QME for Israel, which I think is changing, and with this legislation it looks like a couple members of Congress have acknowledged that as well."