Bipartisan Congressional bill seeks to boost US-Israel military cooperation

Legislation envisions creation of US-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group, which would allow for streamlining of military technology and intelligence cooperation

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

(L-R) Reps. Brad Schneider, Joe Wilson and Stephanie Murphy. (Composite/AP)
(L-R) Reps. Brad Schneider, Joe Wilson and Stephanie Murphy. (Composite/AP)

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at further boosting US-Israel military cooperation.

The US-Israel Military Technology Cooperation Act was submitted Tuesday by Republican Joe Wilson, Democrat Brad Schneider and Democrat Stephanie Murphy as an amendment for inclusion in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to come before the House for a vote in the coming days.

If approved, the amendment would require the creation of a United States-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group, which would address methods for sharing “intelligence-informed, military capability requirements, and provide a stand-alone forum designed to further strengthen [US] efforts to meet and overcome current and future threats,” Schneider’s office said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Schneider’s office said no other such bilateral group exists and that it will help both countries better coordinate and streamline their military technology cooperation.

“It allows US and Israel to decide which projects to collaborate on and also allows for more Congressional oversight,” the spokesperson said.

Explaining his decision to advance the legislation, Wilson said, “further strengthening our already robust defense coordination to ensure we are on the cutting edge of research and development is a matter of readiness and it will be achieved through the establishment and implementation of this working group.”

Israeli and American soldiers at the annual Juniper Falcon joint military exercise held in Israel. 300 American and 400 IDF troops participated. (US Army photo)

“An Operations-Technology Working Group between our two nations would enhance our mutual security and the security of the region as a whole,” said Schneider.

“Our two countries have much to learn from each other when it comes to military technology,” Murphy added.

The legislation was introduced just as bipartisan support for Israel suffered a blow Tuesday when Democratic leadership in the House agreed to drop a provision for $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system from a government spending bill following pressure from a group of progressive lawmakers. The small group of Democrats threatened to vote against the legislation, effectively tanking it as every Republican had already pledged to do the same.

Democratic House leadership subsequently announced that the Iron Dome funding would be brought to a vote on the House floor as a standalone bill on Thursday where it passed overwhelmingly.

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