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Rubio Joins Gillibrand, Rounds, Colleagues in Bipartisan Push to Fully Fund U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation

Jun 10, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and a bipartisan group of 38 senators in a letter to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) calling for $500 million to fully fund U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs in the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill. Israel’s missile defense system is made up of four operational layers: Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3. In addition to contributing to ballistic missile defense, the funding would support crucial work on the research, development, and testing of counter unmanned aircraft systems. Senator Rubio is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“The U.S.-Israeli cooperation has resulted in a system that can, and has, countered numerous missile threats from state and non-state actors from adversaries in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere,” the senators wrote. “This system provides Israel with the ability to protect lives at home and on the battlefield, keeping its citizens and soldiers out of harm’s way.” 

In addition to Senators Rubio, Gillibrand, and Rounds, the letter was signed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Todd Young (R-IN).

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Chairman Tester and Ranking Member Shelby:

Thank you for this committee’s strong support of U.S.-Israel collaborative defense programs, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow as well as our continued cooperative work on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Defense Appropriations bill, we write seeking $500 million for continued support for these in order to meet the United States’ and Israel’s national security needs.

Joint U.S.-Israel missile defense collaboration on Israel’s multilayer missile defense system has been foundational to the defense of Israel since the 1980s. Congress has consistently supported this project. Israel’s missile defense system is made up of four operational layers: Iron Dome (short-range), David’s Sling (medium-range), Arrow 2 (longer range), and now Arrow 3 (very long range). The U.S.-Israeli cooperation has resulted in a system that can, and has, countered numerous missile threats from state and non-state actors from adversaries in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere. This system provides Israel with the ability to protect lives at home and on the battlefield, keeping its citizens and soldiers out of harm’s way.

This cooperative program has also created an important flow of data and invaluable insight to support vital U.S. missile defense technology while safeguarding our strategic ally Israel and our service members in the region. This program synergizes with our ongoing operations in the area increasing interoperability between U.S. and Israeli systems and forces. Moreover, the program supports critical elements of the industrial base and important jobs here in the United States through co-development and co-production agreements.

Another area of critical importance to both the United States and Israel, is in the field of UAS, and perhaps just as importantly, counter-UAS. In February 2020, the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit announced it had selected Israeli firm D-Fend Solutions to field a counter-drone system for the FBI and U.S. military. This technology was co-developed with the U.S. Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office. CTTSO has played a crucial role in U.S.-Israel cooperation and innovation. 

For FY 2022, in addition to ballistic missile defense, $500 million will continue critical work on research, development and test activities to counter hostile unmanned aerial systems. This funding will further development of a range of systems designed to handle the imminent threats American and Israeli forces face.

Together, these programs confront the compelling challenges facing both Israel and the United States and form a strong foundation of the enduring friendship of our nations. We look forward to working with you on these important programs.

Sincerely,