Pentagon to Press for More Money for Iron Dome (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 03/28/12)
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The Pentagon will press Congress for additional money for the Iron
Dome missile defense system, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The announcement from the Pentagon comes as President Barack Obama
has faced election-year criticism from Republican presidential
candidates and GOP lawmakers that administration support for longtime
friend Israel has been inadequate, the report noted.
“Supporting the security of the state of Israel is a top priority of
President Obama and Secretary (Leon) Panetta,” AP quoted Pentagon
press secretary George Little as having said in a statement.
“The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the
government of Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of
additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate
level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on
Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Little added.
The Pentagon’s statement cited the effectiveness of the system, which
reportedly intercepted 90 percent of missile attacks on urban centers
during the recent escalation in rocket attacks from Gaza towards
In a special request in the 2011 budget, the Obama administration and
Congress agreed on $205 million for the Iron Dome system, AP
reported. Obama´s budget for next year, according to the report,
calls for $3.1 billion in military assistance for Israel, a slight
increase over the current level and the most for any foreign country.
The Pentagon statement provided no specific numbers but congressional
aides said a possible request would be the purchase of 10 battery
systems at a cost of $50 million each.
Congressional Democrats welcomed the Pentagon announcement as a fresh
sign of the administration standing with Israel.
“Iron Dome helps give Israel the ability to protect its civilians
while giving its leaders the strategic space and time to take the
appropriate action to root out terrorists and carefully plan their
next steps,” Rep. Steve Rothman, D-N.J., a member of the House
Appropriations defense subcommittee, was quoted by AP as having said.
Rep. Howard Berman of California, the top Democrat on the House
Foreign Affairs Committee, is a co-sponsor of legislation that would
authorize the president to provide aid to Israel to buy additional
Iron Dome anti-rocket systems if it requests it.
“Iron Dome is a game changer,” Berman told AP. "The threats Israel
faces from incoming, indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks are
countered by this cutting edge anti-missile system. Iron Dome is
fundamentally shifting political, diplomatic and military realities
on the ground, while saving lives of innocent Israelis. Today´s
statement is a further step in the right direction.”
On Monday, for the first time since entering operational use, the
Iron Dome battery was positioned in the greater Tel Aviv area.
According to a report on the Israel Defense website, the position of
the battery is for training purposes, to familiarize IDF soldiers
stationed in the area with the system, and to adapt the system to the
area’s requirements. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/28/12)
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