U.S. REP. RON BARBER SUPPORTS INCREASED FUNDING FOR ISRAELI ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM
TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today said he is pleased that the president is seeking additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system in the upcoming budget – something Barber urged the president to do 10 days ago.
“The security of Israel is paramount and Iron Dome has proven to be effective in defending Israel against a barrage of missiles and rockets,” Barber said today.
“I am hopeful that our increased commitment to Iron Dome will lead to co-production of the missile-defense system in the United States,” Barber added. “I also welcome the expression of support by the commander of the Israeli defense force, who noted the economic opportunity that co-production would offer to the U.S. aerospace industry.”
Increased funding of Iron Dome could lead to increased employment at Raytheon Missile System’s facility in Tucson.
In a March 12 letter to the president, Barber wrote: “Increasing our investment in the Iron Dome system will also create a unique opportunity to strengthen both of our counties, economically and militarily.
“While it is imperative that production of Iron Dome not be delayed, bringing together our best resources and standing up a production line for this system here in the United States would expedite delivery of the defense system and develop future redundancy and protection for production lines and support.”
In his visit to Israel this week, Obama pledged to seek additional funding for Iron Dome. The system is credited with shooting down hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip last November.
Iron Dome will receive $211 million in U.S. funding this fiscal year.
The United States already has spent over $200 million to help procure Iron Dome. Raytheon Missile Systems, based in Tucson, has partnered with Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for development and production of the David’s Sling air and missile defense system and has a marketing agreement with Rafael for the Iron Dome system.
This week, Brigadier-General Shachar Shohat, commander of the Israeli defense force, noted in an interview with Reuters: “I understand the need of the other side to encourage investment in its side ... certainly given U.S. policy of trying to create jobs during a troubled economic situation. To me, it is clear that the American partner also has to look out for the American economy."
Last December, Barber called for language in the defense budget that would move the two countries toward joint production of Iron Dome.
If both countries produce Iron Dome systems, it likely will bring new jobs to Raytheon’s Tucson facility. With about 10,500 employees, Raytheon Missile Systems is the largest private employer in Southern Arizona.
Barber’s letter to the president is below and attached as a pdf here.
March 12, 2013
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing to respectfully request that you provide increased funding for the Iron Dome air defense system in your Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget request to Congress.
I know you agree, that the safety of Israel is paramount, not just as an important ally and friend to the United States, but for the cause of regional stability and peace in the Middle East. In order to ensure regional stability and the protection of Israel from harm, a robust, multi-layered air defense system must be in place.
The Iron Dome system has proven successful in defending Israel from the onslaught of rockets and missiles targeting Israeli civilians. As we saw late last year in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, this system is effective and critical to the safety and security of the Israeli people. The Israeli military plans to deploy additional Iron Dome batteries across the country by 2015 and will require a total of between 10 and 15 batteries to adequately protect most urban areas. I believe we must work to support Israel in this mission and provide them with the additional resources necessary to speed up the production of these batteries.
Increasing our investment in the Iron Dome system will also create a unique opportunity to strengthen both of our counties, economically and militarily. While it is imperative that production of Iron Dome not be delayed, bringing together our best resources and standing up a production line for this system here in the United States would expedite delivery of the defense system and develop future redundancy and protection for production lines and support. For the fiscal year 2013, Congress authorized 211 million dollars for the Iron Dome program, and called for the exploration of co-production. This was a crucial investment, but much more is needed.
As the United States continues our long and proud commitment to stand by Israel, I urge your support for increased funding of the Iron Dome defense system and to encourage the exploration of future co-production to ensure we can best protect our friend and ally in times of need.
Thank you for your leadership and for your consideration of this request.
Member of Congress
Friday, March 22, 2013
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber
Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District
(520) 881-3588 or (520) 904-5876