WASHINGTON (JTA) — The US House of Representatives Armed Service Committee tripled President Obama’s request for missile defense collaboration with Israel and sought to include the United States in Iron Dome development.
The increase in the National Defense Authorization Act from $96 million to $284 million, which was referred from the committee to the full House in a 59-2 vote June 6, includes an additional $15 million in funding for Iron Dome, the short range anti-missile program Israel used against Hamas last November during the Operation Pillar of Defense.
The stipulation in that increase, in an amendment proposed by Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), is that it “may be obligated or expended for enhancing the capability for producing the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense program in the United States, including for infrastructure, tooling, transferring data, special test equipment, and related components.”
Unlike other missile defense collaborative programs, such as the Arrow, Israel until now has maintained propriety over Iron Dome.
A number of lawmakers in Congress have sought to involve the United States in Iron Dome’s development as the US increases funding for the program.
Moneys for missile defense collaboration are separate from the average $3 billion annually in defense assistance Israel receives from the United States.