Dear Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky:
We greatly appreciate your efforts to advance U.S.-Israel defense cooperation--a critical investment that provides security and stability to the Middle East. Israel will require significant investment in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 to defend itself against aerial threats posed by a wide array of hostile adversaries. As you begin work on the FY 2019 Defense Appropriations Bill, we respectfully request:
$70 million for the continued co-production and procurement of Iron Dome system components
· $137 million to continue development of block upgrades for David's Sling, which includes extending the system's range, improving its seeker capabilities and addressing cruise missile threats.
· $50 million for the continued co-production and procurement of David's Sling system components.
· $80 million for the continued co-production and procurement of Arrow-3 system components.
· $163 million for the Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP) to support completion of upgrades and related enhancements to ensure system survivability, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 launcher integration, and interoperability with U.S. systems.
In sum, we request at least $500 million, the amount requested in the President's FY 2019 Missile Defense Administration budget, for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.
As you know, these programs are essential to the safety and security of Israel. Prioritizing and ensuring robust funding for these programs is necessary to address the evolving threats posed by Israeli adversaries, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran--all of which are developing more advanced, short, medium, and long-range rocket and missile capabilities. Iran's recent drone incursion into Israeli sovereign territory reaffirms the need for these important defensive technologies. These programs also yield a tremendous return-on-investment for the United States in the form of economic, technological, and military benefits.
We also envision the possibility of utilizing U.S.-Israeli missile defense systems beyond the Middle East. Today, our forces face challenges from an emboldened, aggressive, and increasingly militarized Russia, North Korea, and other adversaries heightening our immediate need for advanced missile defense systems to protect our forward-based forces and key fixed installations. One option we believe the Subcommittee should carefully study would be supporting the U.S. Army's immediate acquisition of the Iron Dome system. The Army has recently tested Iron Dome, for which the U.S. has full data rights and a coproduction agreement. Adoption by the Army of Iron Dome could provide an important near-term capability to U.S. forces as well as a surge production capacity if we or Israel required the system in a time of crisis.
In sum, as we see our enemies more emboldened and their capabilities growing, joint U.S.-Israel security cooperation is needed now more than ever. U.S-Israel cooperative missile defense programs are a win-win for the United States, as they save lives, prevent conflict escalation, and advance U.S. objectives by promoting regional stability and protecting a valuable ally.
During these challenging budgetary times we can and must prioritize federal funding for the programs where federal involvement can have the greatest impact on the safety and security of the American people, our troops, and our allies. These highly advanced missile defense systems have consistently been a key factor in Israel's self-defense and further technological and operational advancements will be crucial moving forward. We want to thank the Committee for its past support and look forward to working with you to sustain and advance the critical partnership between the U.S. and Israel.
Very truly yours,